Air Traffic Controllers

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Traffic Control Specialist
  • Tower Control Operator
  • Tower Air Traffic Control Specialist
  • Technical Communicator
  • Station Air Traffic Control Specialist
  • Signal Tower Operator
  • Radar Air Traffic Controller
  • Ground Control Approach Technician (GCA Technician)
  • Flight Tower Dispatcher
  • Flight Service Specialist
View All

What They Do

  • Analyze factors such as weather reports, fuel requirements, or maps to determine air routes.
  • Conduct pre-flight briefings on weather conditions, suggested routes, altitudes, indications of turbulence, or other flight safety information.
  • Complete daily activity reports and keep records of messages from aircraft.
  • Review records or reports for clarity and completeness and maintain records or reports as required under federal law.
  • Organize flight plans or traffic management plans to prepare for planes about to enter assigned airspace.
  • Compile information about flights from flight plans, pilot reports, radar, or observations.
  • Inspect, adjust, or control radio equipment or airport lights.
  • Relay air traffic information, such as courses, altitudes, or expected arrival times, to control centers.
  • Check conditions and traffic at different altitudes in response to pilots' requests for altitude changes.
  • Provide on-the-job training to new air traffic controllers.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: EC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Enterprising interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Support, but also value Working Conditions and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $115,130 with most people making between $65,950 and $168,550

Outlook

0.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 440 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 430 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 10 replacement openings for approximately 10 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education