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Details for Air Traffic Controllers


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.


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


  • 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 outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • 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.

Education, Training, Experience

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


  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • 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.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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  • Transportation Vehicle, Equipment and Systems Inspectors, Except Aviation
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