Undergraduate students who major in aviation management will study fundamentals of air traffic control on a deeper level than students who earn only associate’s degrees, taking a roster of classes that includes principles of management, human factors in aviation, aviation meteorology, aircraft operations, and aviation law.
Principles of Management is a course that will help air traffic controllers learn to discover their leadership styles and apply it to their chosen profession. They will further explore the role of air traffic controllers in the aviation system and learn how to fulfill this role successfully. Human factors in aviation explores not only the role of an air traffic controller, but the roles of all people who work in the aviation industry. Air traffic controllers must understand the role of all the people they are working with to ensure that everyone is doing the jobs that they are supposed to be doing, which is essential to the safety of all aviation professionals and passengers. Aviation meteorology is an important class for prospective air traffic control professionals, because it is often the duty of an air traffic controller to determine when a flight or multiple flights should be cancelled due to weather. An air traffic controller is responsible for monitoring the weather forecast and making the final- often difficult decision- of determining whether the weather is safe for air travel.
Another course is aircraft operations, which will explore the mechanical fundamentals of commercial aircraft. Though air traffic controllers do not directly operate airplanes, they must understand what the pilot is able to do in any given situation, as they are partially responsible for guiding the pilot through take-off, landing, and emergencies. Aviation law is a class that all prospective air traffic controllers must take. There are a number of legal guidelines for aviation professionals and if any of these laws are broken air traffic controllers can be held legally responsible for any air travel snafus. Air traffic control laws will be further explored during the Federal Aviation Association’s (FAA’s) 12-week training program.
Graduates of bachelor degree programs in air traffic control are essentially in the same place as graduates of associate’s degree programs. Both types of students must then apply to the FAA’s Oklahoma City training school and complete a 12-week course before sitting for necessary exams and working, essentially, as an apprentice under the guidance of a qualified air traffic control professional. However, those with bachelor’s degrees may have an easier time getting hired, being accepted to the school and commanding higher salaries.