Air Traffic Controller

Public Sector
Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

Are you interested in a career in air traffic control? If so, let us provide you with an Air Traffic Controller job description. In the Public Sector industry, Air Traffic Controllers are responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient flow of air traffic. They monitor air traffic through radar and communicate with pilots to provide instructions for takeoff, landing, and flight paths. Air Traffic Controllers also plan and adjust the routes of aircraft to avoid collisions and to ensure that planes arrive at their destinations on time. Their primary goal is to maintain the safety of all aircraft in their airspace. This job requires strong communication skills, the ability to work under pressure, and excellent attention to detail. To become an Air Traffic Controller, you must complete specialized training and pass a rigorous examination. If you're ready for a challenging and rewarding career in air traffic control, then consider becoming an Air Traffic Controller.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Ensuring the safe passage of aircraft through airspace
  • Directing flight paths and providing guidance to pilots
  • Monitoring weather conditions and communicating changes to pilots
  • Coordinating with other air traffic controllers to maintain efficient flow of air traffic 
  • Identifying and resolving potential safety hazards 
  • Communicating clearly and effectively with pilots and ground crews 
  • Staying alert and focused for long periods of time 
  • Staying up to date on industry regulations and procedures 
  • Training new air traffic controllers 
  • Maintaining accurate records of all flights and communications.

Experience and Education Requirements

Becoming an air traffic controller in the Public Sector requires both education and experience. The minimum requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, but most controllers have a bachelor's degree. Courses in aviation, air traffic management, and physics are helpful. A controller must also pass a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exam and complete an FAA training program. In terms of experience, a controller needs at least three years of responsible work experience, a year of which should include air traffic control duties. Controllers must have good communication and decision-making skills, be able to work well under stress, and pass a medical exam.

Salary Range

Air Traffic Controllers are responsible for managing the safety and efficiency of air traffic flow in airports and other aviation facilities. In the United States, the annual salary range for Air Traffic Controllers in the public sector industry is approximately $66,000 to $189,000. The average salary for an entry-level Air Traffic Controller is about $67,000, while experienced professionals can earn up to six-figure salaries.

Other countries that pay significant salaries for Air Traffic Controllers include Canada and Australia. In Canada, Air Traffic Controllers earn approximately $66,000 to $158,000 per year, while in Australia, the salary can range from $91,000 to $230,000.


  • Glassdoor: "Air Traffic Controller salary range"
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Air Traffic Controllers
  • PayScale: "Air Traffic Controller Hourly Pay"

Career Outlook

The career outlook for Air Traffic Controllers in the Public Sector industry over the next five years is expected to have steady growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for Air Traffic Controllers is projected to increase by 1% from 2019 to 2029, adding approximately 400 jobs. 

As advancements in technology continue to evolve, the need for skilled and trained Air Traffic Controllers will remain in high demand. Additionally, the retirement of current controllers will create job openings for new hires. The Public Sector industry currently employs the majority of Air Traffic Controllers, with the Federal Aviation Administration being the largest employer. 

Overall, those interested in pursuing a career as an Air Traffic Controller can expect steady job growth and good employment prospects in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is an Air Traffic Controller?

A: An Air traffic controller is a public sector professional who works in the aviation industry, responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers and aircraft in the airspace around airports.

Q: What qualifications are required to become an Air Traffic Controller?

A: Air Traffic Controllers are required to have a bachelor's degree or equivalent, pass medical and psychological exams, and complete the FAA Air Traffic Academy training program.

Q: What are the working conditions for an Air Traffic Controller?

A: Air Traffic Controllers typically work in busy airport towers or remote radar centers, and must be able to concentrate for long periods of time, work under pressure, and handle emergencies calmly.

Q: What is a typical day like for an Air Traffic Controller?

A: A typical day for a controller varies depending on their location and shift, but includes monitoring and directing the flow of aircraft in their designated airspace, issuing clearances to pilots, and communicating with other controllers.

Q: What is the career outlook for Air Traffic Controllers?

A: The demand for Air Traffic Controllers is expected to remain stable, and air traffic volume is projected to increase over the next decade. The job offers good pay and benefits, and advancement opportunities within the field.

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