Air Traffic Controller Salary Stats Around The World {2018}

Most of the children in their childhood dream of become a pilot, flight instructor or the air traffic controller. Honestly speaking, all the professions regarding aeronautics and aviation are tough as well a stressful. Being an air traffic controller , if you are thinking about the salary for an air traffic controller then you to have up your mind that are you ready to adopt this toughest professional? If yes then it demands lots of hard work and sacrifice to become an air traffic controller.  The reward of this professional is also great. The air traffic controller salary is much higher as compared to other similar professions



You cannot reach the skies over night. As many people say being an air traffic controller, it is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. You need to have professional skills to be an expert in this field.  This professional is adopted by those who have strong skills of communication. Children in their childhood are inspired by this field that is why their motivation leads to adopting this career in the future. Let me explain in detail the job description, academic qualification and air traffic controller salary. There is natural stress factor with this job. This highest level of stress is because of the complex tasks involves with an air traffic controller. The overall work environment creates stress about the controllers. There should be expertise with the controller so that everything is being done effectively.


air traffic controller salary

Who is an air traffic controller?

The job of an air traffic controller is to control and coordinate the movement of traffic in the air as well as on the ground. He informs the pilot to keep a safe distance among the aircrafts and about any obstacle in their path.  He also warns about the prevailing bad weather conditions. He ensures the timely movement of flight and following all the standards of safety. As one can clearly see there are no stop lights or traffic signs in the air so all the responsibility lies with an air traffic controller. He has to regulate and coordinate the flow of aeroplanes on the airport and also be in contact with other airports as well.

When the weather is bad then it is only the air traffic controller who has to reroute the flying aircraft by giving the instructions of landing and takeoff. The devices through with he directs the aircrafts’ position is are radar devices which help him in performing his tasks efficiently. He has to be man of clear vision and sharp mind to avoid to occurrence of collisions. Whenever there is any emergency situation then the duty of an air traffic controller is to instruct the pilot about how and where to land safely. This profession is considered stressful because the controller of air traffic has to made speedy decisions which have to accurate as well. There is no time to think because it becomes a matter of life and death.

Basic types of traffic air controllers:

  1. There are two types of traffic air controllers. First are those who work in the control towers at the airports while the second type is of those who work in independent control centers.
  2. Another type is of approach controller who are concerned with instrument landing systems where some of the planes make automatic landings. When the airports are busy then it is also ensured that planes are placed in order. They gain the control from area controllers when the aircraft approaches to the airport. They give the clearance instructions to the aircraft and put all the aircraft in a sequence so that there is created a specific landing order.
  3. Next comes the aerodrome controllers who take over the approach controllers. Their position is the top of control towers. The task is to give instructions and guidance to the pilots about making landings safely. The view aerodrome clearly through the towers. They make sure that aircrafts land safely and then reaching the runways. When we talk about the busy airports then in those airports the aerodrome controllers are divided into ground control and air control.

Things an air traffic controller should be expert at:

  • An air traffic controller should have effective knowledge of laws and regulations of the air traffic.
  • He should be aware of the air traffic procedures, knowledge of the radars and towers.
  • While controlling the air traffic, he should follow all the safety standards to prevent any emergency situation.
  • If he has authentic knowledge along with the efficient communication skills then he will be able to give instructions to pilots.


What is the salary of air traffic controller?

The average air traffic controller salary in a year is $82,292. When we talk about the air traffic controller salary starting then it starts from $64,000 per year. The salary reaches and increases to $145,000 based on work experience and professional skills. The people who receive the license of being an air traffic control are paid $35,000 per year.

What are the duties of an air traffic controller?

  • An air traffic controller directs the air traffic movement and assists the paths of aircrafts.
  • He controls the base operations, PAR radar and also ASR radar.
  • He supervises as well as trains other employees.
  • He not only directs the traffic in the air but also on the ground.
  • He schedules the landing and takeoff of the flights.
  • He provides information about the weather conditions to the aircraft.
  • He warns about maintaining minimum distance between the aircrafts.
  • Dealing with emergencies and unscheduled air traffic.

How can I become a air traffic controller?

If you are really inspired by the profession of air traffic controller then in order to adopt this career you must get the relevant education. It is a bright career you’re the young people who want to do something extra ordinary thrilling. You must fulfill the following requirements if you want to become air traffic controller.

  • First of all the applicant should a citizen of the U.S. otherwise he won’t be eligible to apply for the job of air traffic controller.
  • A person should have the bachelor’s degree in the relevant field or similar work experience. Or any education combination with work for him but the sum up of experience should be 3 years.
  • He must acquire a qualifying score with Federal Aviation Administration or FAA along with pre-employment test that contains a biographical assessment as well.
  • He should pass medical and other background checks.
  • There is another test called the Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test or the AT-SAT which the applicant has to pass.
  • Training course at FAA Academy must be completed before he reaches the age of 31.

To tell you in detail about the Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test then you must know that it is a computer based exam with a duration of 8 hours. In this test the applicant is being tested regarding certain characteristics which include prioritization, planning, arithmetic, decisiveness, movement detection, visualization, tolerance for high intensity and problem solving skills.  There is also another physical examination that is to be passed each year and job performance examination twice in a year. Additionally, periodic drug screening tests should be passed by the controllers.

The candidates must have studies English and Math. They should have at least 5 GCSEs or equivalent to that at grade C or even more than that. At the time of applying the candidates should be more than 18 years of age.

Pre entry experience is not necessary for air traffic controllers these air traffic controller qualifications because full training is given to them and it serves the purpose. Additionally if you have an experience of some office based work or worked previously by using your communication skills then it will be considered your plus point at the time of joining.

The air traffic controller must have current Air Traffic Controller Certification with Federal Aviation Administration. Apart from working for the FAA, air traffic controllers also work for some private air traffic control companies or for the military. Some of the position require the completion of air traffic control courses or degree from the University about air traffic control.

What are some other career options related to Air Traffic Controllers?

Apart from Air Traffic Controller jobs there are lots of other careers to be adopted. The people who due to some reasons cannot choose this field must have a look at the following professions

1.   Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians

The job of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is to repair and perform the maintenance on aircraft as per the schedules. They inspect the aircrafts whenever required by the Federal Aviation Administration or the FAA.

2.   Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

These people collect count and interpret geographical information so they can create and update maps and other types of charts to be used for regional planning, emergency response, education and some other reasons.

3.   Airline and Commercial Pilots

The duty of airline pilots is to fly with airlines that transport people around the world and cargo on an allotted schedule. Airline and commercial pilots fly with airplanes, aircraft and helicopters and navigate them also. Commercial pilots are the people who fly the aircrafts for purposes like rescue operations, charter flights, aerial photography, firefighting, and aerial application.

4.   Fire, Police and Ambulance Dispatchers

These people are also called as public safety telecommunications. Their task is to answer both the emergency and non emergency calls.


How much is shift length of an Air Traffic Controller?

The air traffic controller shift pattern depend on the length of the shift. Usually the maximum length of shift is of 10 hours. There is a continuous 2 hours of work and then 30 minutes rest. That break time is free and there is no responsibility of any sort. At times the long working hours are full of work pressure. When there is less workload then the work hours increase to maximum 4 hours. After those 4 hours you get a break of 1 hour. When you have worked for 3 hours then you get a total of 45 minutes of rest. This is the working routine of small airport.

On large units the number of working air traffic controller hours may vary. When you are working in busy centers then after negotiation, the working duration is reduced to 90 minutes leading to 30 minutes of break. Then you work for another 90 minutes follow by the same rest. When we talk about the smaller airports, from the total of 9 hours you need to be on the seat for 4 hours and then 1 hour off. And again work for 4 hours. At larger airports, you work for 7 hours in the seat with 2 hours break.

It is true that the job of an Air Traffic Controller is the most stressful one?

Yes it is absolutely true that the job of an air traffic controller is the most stressful one. Apart from maintaining the flow of air traffic, he has to concentrate on his work effectively. Radar controllers that work in semi darkness where the plane is full of passengers has to see it clearly. When their weekly working hours increase from 40 then they get their extra pay for that.  One has to retire at the age of 56 or with a few exceptions who also retire at the age of 61 with extraordinary skills. So the greater air traffic controller salary is the reward of the hard work.

What are the particular duties of an aerodrome and approach controller?

Approach and aerodrome controller control the movements of the runways. They control the terminals by supervising the movements of air crafts on the ground. There is ground traffic around the airport and approach and aerodrome controllers oversee the ground movements of vehicles.

What are the duties of a commercial pilot?

An aviator or pilot is the person who operates the directional flight controls by controlling the flight of an aircraft. He flies with the passengers or the cargo on long or short flights for commercial, leisure or business purposes. In an air craft there are usually two pilots performing their duties. One of them is captain (pilot in command) and the other is supporting first officer. This is also a related field to an air traffic controller.

How much does commercial pilot earn a year?

The commercial pilot salary in a year is around $65,770. Experience greatly effects on the salary of the pilot. The salary ranges around $30,388 to $153,923.

How much was the air traffic controller salary in 2016?

The annual median air traffic controller salary 2016 was around $122,410. It was calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2016.

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How much is air traffic controller salary 2017?

The air traffic controller salary 2017 is around 82,292. The salaries range from $37,000 to $150,000. These are the stats calculated in the month of September 2017.


What is the salary of an air traffic controller in UK?

The air traffic controller salary UK ranges from £32522 to £36,247. If we talk about the initial starting salary in UK then it is around £13,154 when the controllers are in their first year of college training with National Air Traffic Services. These controllers are benefited from others packages as well that include voluntary benefits, pension scheme and some family friendly policies.

You must be pleased to know about additional benefit of £60 in a week can be acquired for accommodation. When the training is completed then the students can claim £1,000 also. After completion of training the salary rise ranges £17,066 to £20,479. When the third anniversary of joining comes then further increase in the air traffic control salary ranges around £46,461 to £51,781. On the seniority level, the salary reach up to £100,000 and shift pay are included in this amount.

How many working hours are of an Air Traffic Controller in UK?

In UK the total working hours shift is of 40 hours in one week. These 40 hours include days, nights, weekends and also the public holidays. The controller is to command the aircrafts for 2 hours and then a break of 30 minutes. The place for you is the flight control center or the airport control tower where you have to perform your duties.

How much does an air traffic controller make in Canada?

When we discuss about the air traffic controller salary in Canada then it is around $120,302 in a year. These statistics are based on various reports through surveys. There are lots of job opportunities in Canada so if you are thinking about adopting this career then its salary is of handsome amount. You must read about these career prospects and then you can decide about this career.

What are some of the skills required NAT about an air traffic controller at the time of training?

  • An air traffic controller must be a man of motivation.
  • He should be of full confidence and with accurate decision making power.
  • He should have emotional stability and should not be affected by unfavorable circumstances.
  • He should have an awareness from errors and refrain from doing any mistake as much as possible.
  • He should also be a man of numerical awareness.
  • He should be open minded towards learning and development.
  • He should a person working with a team which means that he is having team work spirit.
  • Qualities like decision making, problem solving and planning schedules should be present in him.
  • He should be strictly attentive and focused towards performing his assigned tasks.
  • He should have awareness and knowledge about space.

What is the average air traffic controller salary in Abu Dhabi?

When we talk about United Arab Emirates then the average annual air traffic controller salary Abu Dhabi is $376,027. It means that they work on an hourly rate of $181. In addition to salary of air traffic controller, the bonus of $13,274 is also given to the person. This is the data calculated by conducting a survey in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Some Important Things to know about air traffic controller training UK

Initial training

When you want to start you Royal Air Force career then you are required to do the initial officer training  (IOT) from Lincolnshire’s RAF College Cranwell. A course designed of 24 weeks will develop leadership skills. The course training includes military training, fitness development, practical outdoor leadership challenges and also academic study.

Specialist training

Once IOT is completed then you need to complete another 22 week specialist air traffic control training course. This will be conducted by Royal Air Force Shawbury at Shropshire. The training course of Air Traffic Controller includes training sessions with Stn Padre, the Air Experience Flying, Force development at FDTC Fairbourne or with the FDTC Grantown-on-Spey, BVP (Beliefs, values, Protocol). At the end there is visited made to Liverpool Airport.

Foundation Tour

The foundation tour includes working on a RAF base at Air Traffic control tower or may be at Air Traffic Control center.

Additional Area Radar Control training course

This additional training is meant to develop the professional skills. It is 6 weeks course before you start working at the Air Traffic Control Centre. It will give you a chance to have additional training of management and leadership.

air traffic control

Training at the Central Air Traffic Control School or CATCS

This training will give you the opportunity to learn about the positions of Air Traffic Control Officer. It will be chance to reach the higher levels at work. The general knowledge and RAF understanding is automatically increased with these training exercises.

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So if you are interested in the field of an air traffic controller then in this article you will get all the precise and authentic information about the education, work experience, professional skills and air traffic controller salary. Information about the training sessions is also clearly explained in this article. All the stats mentioned in this article are according to various surveys conducted in different countries of the world.

Air Traffic Controller Salary Stats Around The World {2017}
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Air Traffic Controller Salary Stats Around The World {2017}
The stats about the air traffic controller salary are mentioned through various surveys conducted in various countries. Read for more.
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