100k Career (Air Traffic Controller)


An entry-level Air Traffic Controller with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $84,426


The main responsibility an Air Traffic Controllers has is to ensure safety of aircrafts during landing and takeoff and while in the air. They do this by directing the pilots’ movements and monitoring where other aircrafts are at all times in order to avoid any collisions or accidents.


They are responsible for:

  • Inform pilots of any runway closures, bad weather or other critical information

  • Direct a pilot through the entire landing and takeoff process

  • Alert the airport response team whenever there is an aircraft emergency

  • Give departing flight control to other traffic control centers, and receive control of any arriving flights

Education & Experience:

  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent.

  • Successful completion of an ACA1 or equivalent DoD /DOT air traffic controller course in accordance with NAVAIR 00-80T-114.

  • Minimum three (3) years of civilian and/or military experience in air traffic services.

Knowledge & Skills:

  • Provide a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of aircraft at the airport and in the air.

  • Knowledge of air traffic control rules, regulations and techniques.

  • Effectively utilize two-way radio communications, radar systems with associated computer equipment, landline communications systems and visual light-gun signals.

  • Formulate limited weather observations and provide weather conditions and assist aircraft during periods of inclement weather with the use of radar, instrument landing systems and various types of airfield lighting.

  • Offer emergency assistance to aircraft and be responsible for notifying and coordinating with emergency personnel and other agencies.

  • Excellent communication skills, verbal and written.

  • Proficient with Microsoft programs such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint.


How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

These are the requirements to be an air traffic controller, according to Federal Aviation Administration.

  • Be a United States citizen

  • You must be at least 30 years old (by the close date of the application period).

  • Pass a medical exam

  • Conduct a security check

  • Pass the FAA pre-employment test for air traffic

  • Communicate clearly in English to understand communications equipment

  • Three years of progressively responsible experience in work, or a bachelor’s degree or combination of post-secondary education, work experience totaling three years

  • You are willing to relocate to an FAA facility depending on the agency’s staffing requirements

To get certified as an Air Traffic Controller, you must have either formal education or work experience. This could include a bachelor’s degree (4 years) or a related work experience (3 years). It is preferable to have both education and work experience. You will need to follow more specific steps to become an air traffic controller. They include:


1. Participate in an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Program (AT-CTI).

Federal Aviation Administration has established a network with educational institutions to help students pursue their aviation careers. You cannot be guaranteed employment after completing the degree programs you find here.

It’s important to remember that you must start your training to improve your skills. If you do not, your mandatory retirement will be at 56 years old. Only one exception: Retired military air traffic controllers may be eligible for an appointment once they reach 31 years old.


2. To be considered for Federal Aviation Administration Training Program, you must pass several assessments

Anyone interested in aviation safety can receive training and education from the Federal Aviation Administration. More information about testing and training programs can be found on the Federal Aviation Administration website.


3. Take a Federal Aviation Administration Training Program

Your training program will differ depending on which branch of aviation you are interested in joining. The Federal Aviation Administration has specific guidelines for these tests and training programs. Training can take anywhere from 2 to 4 years. It teaches you how to read maps and look out for aircraft weather patterns. You also learn federal regulations and airspace allowances.


4. Apply for a job

After completing your training, you will be able to apply for jobs. Federal Aviation Administration has employment opportunities available for those with prior air traffic controller experience and entry-level trainee air traffic control specialists. This is done through job vacancies that are posted only for a short period each year.




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