Alabama Department of Labor

Labor Market Information Division
SOC: 53-2021 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.
Education: Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
OJT: 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.
Tasks: 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.
License: To be considered for a position, as air traffic control specialist, one must meet the qualification requirements which include maximum entry age requirements. To qualify for entry-level air traffic control specialist positions, applicants must achieve a qualifying score on the current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized pre-employment test. Additional qualifications include general work experience, education, age limitation requirements, and citizenship. A personal interview, medical examination and standards (which range from psychological, neurological, cardiovascular, and other physical requirements), a suitability determination, and an in-depth security investigation. Individuals are urged to contact the FAA Division of Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) for specific information about each of the qualification standards. Air Traffic Control Training begins with Division of ATC after a person is hired. Hiring is done through the Aviation Careers Division and the FAA Regional Offices throughout the country. The applicant should contact the FAA in Alabama for information including examination schedules and fees.
Outlook: No Change
Alabama Employment Outlook
Alabama Wage Data
Hourly Wage   Annual Wage
Entry $36.37   Entry $75,639.00
Mean $47.46   Mean $98,715.00
Experience $53.01 Experience $110,253.00

The data is based on the May 2017 Occupation Employment Survey employment and wage estimate file. The wages have been aged using the most current ECI factors reflecting wages as of June 2018.

Alabama Projections
Estimated Employment 2016Projected Employment 2026Annual Average OpeningsAnnual Growth Rate
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No postsecondary schools reported programs.
Occupational Videos
53-2021.00 Air Traffic Controllers