What does an Air Traffic Controller do?
Air traffic controllers have a high level of responsibility related to maintaining the safety of flights at a particular airport. They ensure orderly and efficient operations and air traffic flow to help prevent delays or the need for flights diversions. They must have extensive familiarity with air traffic rules, regulations, and applicable laws, as well as standard traffic control procedures and emergency protocols.
Air traffic controllers who have graduated from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program are generally preferred, but some employers will also consider applicants with a bachelor’s degree or several years of related professional experience This is a high-stress occupation that requires the ability to make quick decisions under pressure. These professionals also must pass rigorous background checks and meet other security protocol, including periodic or random drug screenings.
- Provide ATC technical analysis and support for new NAS requirements and technologies.
- Ensure concurrent distribution of changes and revisions affecting flight manuals, associated checklists and any associated manuals.
- Coordinate all MDS-specific non-nuclear weapons manual (-34 series) changes to ensure standardization of all weapons issues.
- Support the FAA in discussions, meetings, and briefings with internal and external agencies and organizations.
- Coordinate with the TO manager for flight manual publication contract, funding, numbering, printing, distribution, and indexing.
- Maintain permanent records of all approved waivers and deviations to flight manual publication TO specifications for the life cycle of the MDS.
- Postpone minor corrections or updates to flight manual publication not affecting operations or safety until a major change or revision.
- If using an interactive electronic technical manual corrections and updates should be made when they are identified.
- Submit flight manual publications and updates for publishing and distribution.
- Issue an updated supplement concurrently with a change or revision when the change or revision contains part of that existing supplement.
- Responsible for analyze, develop, reviewing, and coordinating new NAS requirements/technologies.
- Effectively work with the team to develop, evaluate, and analyze safety metrics.
- Prepare drafts of operational concepts, mission need statements, requirements documents, etc. to support the review, development, and implementation of new/revised systems/equipment to be used by operational controllers.
- Develop charts, briefing packages, graphs, presentation materials and white papers as needed.
- Certification and training in air traffic control.
- A professional and critical thinker at all times.
- Is comfortable leading and problem solving with composure and a positive attitude.
- Experience with applicable software and systems.
- Can communicate with a wide variety of colleagues while multitasking and paying strict attention to details.
- Is skilled at queue management techniques.
- Has an eye for continuous improvement.
How much does an Air Traffic Controller make?
Air Traffic Controller Career Path
Learn how to become an Air Traffic Controller, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
Air Traffic Controller Insights
“One of the best factors that is keeping me and my inspiration to go to work is the management.”
“ALOT of extra things to do outside of work if you want to get promotions.”
“However I am the ATC supervisor but I have no options to do my job as regulation says.”
“Excellent pay and schedule.”
“Uncertainty during training based on economic factors within the industry”
“Consistent salary but HR was not that helpful when you had issues”
“Tough work life balance for a career”
“Good compensation for a career”
Air Traffic Controller Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of an Air Traffic Controller
- Program Manager
- Traffic Coordinator
- Project Manager
- Technical Program Manager