Air Traffic Controller

Career Overview

Air traffic controllers use specialized equipment to monitor and stay in contact with airplanes so they maintain safe distances from each other.


Completing a two-year college program or four-year bachelor's degree is necessary to obtain these positions. Individuals interested in this career should look into related training programs that lead to a license to work as an air traffic controller. In the US, many new controllers attend the FAA Academy. In Canada, individuals must complete the NAV Canada training program.

Salary Expectations

Low End:
High End:
$50,000 /yr
$100,000 /yr
$160,000 /yr

Recommended Courses

  • Math - as much as possible!
  • English - as much as possible!
  • Communication
  • Science - as much as possible, including psychology!
Work Environment

Air traffic controllers work in control towers, approach control facilities, or route centers (which are located away from airports). Their work can be very stressful because of the level of concentration required at all times.

Future Outlook

There will likely be very strong competition for these positions. Opportunities may differ based on geographical location.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook
Explore Careers, Labour Market Information, Government of Canada