Air Traffic Controllers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Job description

Air Traffic Controllers control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.

  • Inform pilots about nearby planes or potentially hazardous conditions, such as weather, speed and direction of wind, or visibility problems.
  • Issue landing and take-off authorizations or instructions.
  • Transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.
  • Provide flight path changes or directions to emergency landing fields for pilots traveling in bad weather or in emergency situations.
Read more about what does an Air Traffic Controller really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

Featured Schools


Average salary
$120830 per year

Average hourly wage
$58 per hour

Air Traffic Controllers with little to no experience tend to make between $68090 and $86900 while the more experienced ones can earn over $152830 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
NH $71 $147,350
VA $67 $139,520
IL $66 $136,390
GA $65 $136,210
TX $64 $133,260

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Air Traffic Controller is to move to a higher paying state like NH. Right now, the highest paying states for Air Traffic Controllers are NH, VA, IL, GA and TX.

However, a higher pay at NH doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at NH might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Air Traffic Controller is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Air Traffic Controllers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by a Post-Secondary Certificate.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Air Traffic Controller
Read more about how to become an Air Traffic Controller and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Air Traffic Controller.

Suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Normal working hours (40 hours per week)
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Demand for this career is growing very slowly

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

74% of Air Traffic Controllers said they were satisfied with their job and 59% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Shin-Chi Mi
Source: Quora

Scott Shelerud
Source: Quora

Mac Jambo Sinclair
Federal Aviation Administration
Source: Quora

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Entrepreneurs and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Learn more about Air Traffic Controllers

Summary (You are here)
Job Description

Find a college with the major you want

Related career information

Air Traffic Controllers job description, Air Traffic Controllers salary, Air Traffic Controllers information, what is the job of an Air Traffic Controller like, pros and cons about Air Traffic Controllers, colleges and universities for Air Traffic Controllers, is Air Traffic Controllers the right career for me, careers in Transportation

Similar careers

Air Route Controller, Air Route Traffic Controller, Air Traffic Control Operator, Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS), Air Traffic Control Specialist, Terminal, Air Traffic Control Specialist/Certified Professional Controller (ATC Specialist/CPC), Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Air Traffic Controller (Enroute Option), Air Traffic Controller (Tower Option), Air Traffic Controller, Center

Additional resources

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.