Air Traffic Controller



  • Coordinate the arrival and departure of airplanes
  • Issue landing and takeoff instructions to pilots
  • Monitor and direct the movement of aircraft, using radar equipment
  • Authorize flight path changes
  • Provide weather updates to pilots
  • Alert airport response staff in the event of an aircraft emergency

Work Hours/Schedule

  • Most air traffic controllers work full time, and some must work additional hours. Because most control towers and route centers operate around the clock.
  • Shifts are On and Off
  • 120min on- 30min (break) 120min on- 30min break....

Working Location

  • Control Towers
  • Approach Control Facilities
  • Near or in airports

*Usually work in dark lit rooms with monitors everywhere looking at flight paths*


  • Starting controllers make around $38,000
  • Median wage- $108,000


At least an Associates Degree is needed

  • Must be qualified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  • AT-CTI Degree

Skills Required

Communication skills. When pilots contact the control tower for instructions, air traffic controllers must listen carefully to their requests and respond by speaking clearly.

Concentration skills. Controllers must be able to concentrate in a room where multiple conversations occur at once. For example, in a large airport tower, several controllers may be speaking with several pilots at the same time.

Decision-making skills. Controllers must make quick decisions. For example, when a pilot requests a change of altitude, a controller must respond quickly so that the plane can avoid unnecessary turbulence.

Multitasking skills. Controllers must be able to coordinate the actions of multiple flights. For example, a controller may be required to guide several pilots through turbulent weather at the same time.

Problem-solving skills. Controllers must be able to understand complex situations, such as the impact of changing weather patterns on a plane’s flight path. Controllers must be able to review important information and provide pilots with an appropriate solution.


ATC- looks to grow by %15 in the next 10 years

Advancement Opportunity

There is always advancement in ATC

  • Experience will lead to higher positions, like developmental controllers
  • Supervisor positions

*Airline pilots are related to the same work as ATC's