This exciting career offers great pay and benefits to top-notch performers. Air traffic controllers keep airplanes at safe distances from each other by organizing the movements of inbound and outbound flights. They must be able to react quickly in emergencies and communicate clearly with pilots and crew. (BLS)
The FAA identifies three paths for those interested in becoming air traffic controllers. The first path is for those with prior experience, the second for those with no experience, and the third for those participating in the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Program.
People with prior experience, such as veterans and retired military controllers, can apply to the FAA for air traffic controller positions. Certain qualifications must be present, such as 52 consecutive weeks of experience. (FAA)
The general public, those with no air traffic control experience, may also apply for positions with the FAA. Applicants must be under age 31 and must have completed a four-year degree program. A medical examination and security investigation must also be completed. (FAA)
The third path to an air traffic control career is the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative. This partnership between the FAA and universities allows students to study air traffic control while attending college. Applicants through the program must be US Citizens, be under age 31, pass medical exams and security investigations, and score 70 or better on the FAA pre-employment test.
Once training and education requirements have been met, prospective air traffic controllers can expect a good job outlook. The BLS expects a 13% job growth and reports an annual median wage of $111,870 for air traffic controllers.