CareerGPS

Air Traffic Controllers
Summary Occupational Forecast Data for Air Traffic Controllers
Employment Employment Change Average Annual Job Openings Wage & Training Levels
2018 2023 Numerical Percent New Jobs Replacement Jobs Total Median Hourly Median Annual Training Levels
7 8 1 15.63% 0 1 1 $59.21 $123,159 Associate's degree
Description: 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.
Staffing Pattern Data Forecast Data Source: EMSI (2nd Quarter 2018)

Occupation Details

The information in this section represents occupational characteristics included in O*NET which defines key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called "descriptors". These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described in greater detail in the O*NET Content Model. All items are listed in descending order of importance.

  • Issue landing and take-off authorizations or instructions.
  • Monitor or direct the movement of aircraft within an assigned air space or on the ground at airports to minimize delays and maximize safety.
  • Monitor aircraft within a specific airspace, using radar, computer equipment, or visual references.
  • Inform pilots about nearby planes or potentially hazardous conditions, such as weather, speed and direction of wind, or visibility problems.
  • Provide flight path changes or directions to emergency landing fields for pilots traveling in bad weather or in emergency situations.
  • Alert airport emergency services in cases of emergency or when aircraft are experiencing difficulties.
  • Direct pilots to runways when space is available or direct them to maintain a traffic pattern until there is space for them to land.
  • Transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.
  • Direct ground traffic, including taxiing aircraft, maintenance or baggage vehicles, or airport workers.
  • Determine the timing or procedures for flight vector changes.
  • Maintain radio or telephone contact with adjacent control towers, terminal control units, or other area control centers to coordinate aircraft movement.
  • Contact pilots by radio to provide meteorological, navigational, or other information.
  • Initiate or coordinate searches for missing aircraft.
  • Check conditions and traffic at different altitudes in response to pilots' requests for altitude changes.
  • Relay air traffic information, such as courses, altitudes, or expected arrival times, to control centers.
  • Compile information about flights from flight plans, pilot reports, radar, or observations.
  • Inspect, adjust, or control radio equipment or airport lights.

Knowledge

88%
Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
64%
Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
61%
Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
60%
Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
59%
Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
56%
English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
56%
Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
51%
Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
50%
Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skills

88%
Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
85%
Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
81%
Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
81%
Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
81%
Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
78%
Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
69%
Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
69%
Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
65%
Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
62%
Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
62%
Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
62%
Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
56%
Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
56%
Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
53%
Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
53%
Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
53%
Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
50%
Operations Analysis - Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
50%
Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Abilities

91%
Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
91%
Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
91%
Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
88%
Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
85%
Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
85%
Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
85%
Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
81%
Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
81%
Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
78%
Speed of Closure - The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
78%
Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
75%
Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes compa
75%
Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
75%
Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
72%
Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
72%
Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
66%
Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
66%
Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
66%
Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
66%
Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
62%
Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
60%
Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
56%
Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
56%
Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
53%
Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
53%
Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
53%
Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
50%
Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
50%
Memorization - The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.

Work Activities

99%
Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
98%
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
90%
Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
78%
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
77%
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
76%
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
75%
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
75%
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
74%
Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
73%
Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
70%
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
70%
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
65%
Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
64%
Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
60%
Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
57%
Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
56%
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Overall Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Interests

Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outsi

Work Styles

Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.

Work Values

Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.