|Quick Facts: Air Traffic Controllers|
|2010 Median Pay||
$108,040 per year
$51.94 per hour
|Entry-Level Education||Associate’s degree|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|On-the-job Training||Long-term on-the-job training|
|Number of Jobs, 2010||27,000|
|Job Outlook, 2010-20||-3% (Decline moderately)|
|Employment Change, 2010-20||-800|
Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of air traffic to ensure that planes stay safe distances apart.
Air traffic controllers work in control towers, approach control facilities, or route centers. Because total concentration is required at all times, the work can be stressful and exhausting. Night and weekend shifts are common.
To become an air traffic controller, a person must be a U.S. citizen, complete an air traffic management degree from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified school, achieve a qualifying score on the FAA preemployment test, and complete a training course at the FAA Academy. Controllers with previous air traffic control experience, such as from the military, may not need to complete the FAA education requirements. Those without previous air traffic control experience must be younger than 31 to become an air traffic controller.
The median annual wage of air traffic controllers was $108,040 in May 2010.
Employment of air traffic controllers is projected to decline by 3 percent from 2010 to 2020. Most employment opportunities will result from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation. Job opportunities will be best for applicants with an air traffic management degree from an FAA certified school.
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