An air traffic controller salary depends on multiple variable factors such as rate of employment, experience, industry, local policies. According to the 2015 median report issued by BLS, an air traffic control can earn up to $ 122,950 per year or $ 59,11 per hour.
However, according to the May 2016 median report, the average age has decreased by 31.02 percent, meaning that, currently, an air traffic controller earns $ 84,815 per year or $ 46,00 per hour, in the United States of America.
Comparatively, an air traffic controller from South Africa earns R279,500 or the equivalent of $ 17,681.04 per month. In India, the media wage of an air traffic controller ranges from Rs62,000 to Rs80,000 per month ($ 915.37 – $ 1181.12 per month).
As for an air traffic controller operating in the United Kingdom, the mean wage has been calculated at £52,947 per year or the equivalent of $ 76,696.38 per year.
The air traffic controller is responsible for air traffic safety. As a traffic controller, you will be in charge of authorizing flight paths, providing weather information for pilots, control ground traffic, directing grounded airplanes using a radar device and handling all on-going communications between planes and ground control.
Air Traffic Controller Salary Influencers
Depending on the industry you choose to operate in, the air traffic controller salary will vary accordingly. The top most paying industry for air traffic controllers is the Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation), where an air traffic controller can earn $ 122,310 per year or $ 58,80 per hour.
The second position is occupied by the Scheduled Air Transportation industry, where an air traffic controller can earn $ 104,730 per year or $ 50,35 per hour.
The third most profitable industry for air traffic controller is the Management of Companies and Enterprises, where you can earn $ 85,200per year or $ 41,06 per hour.
Some other industries, in no particular order:
- Support Activities for Air Transportation: $ 85,200/year or $ 40,96/hour;
- Local Government (OES Designation): $ 69,170/year or $ 33,25/hour;
- Nonscheduled Air Transportation: $ 59,580/year or $ 28,65/hour;
- Support Activities for Air Transportation: $ 85,200/year or $ 40,95/month.
2. Geographic Area
The average air traffic controller salary is also determined by the geographic area. Presently, New York is considered the highest paying state, where an air traffic controller can earn $ 133,050 per year or $ 63,96 per hour.
The second most high-paying state in the country is Illinois, where you can earn as much as $ 127,600 per year or $ 61,35 per hour. Texas is currently occupying the third position as a high-paying state for this occupation, where an air traffic controller can earn $ 125,830 per year or $ 60,49 per hour.
If you’re looking for a job as an air traffic controller, then you should avoid these states as they have the lowest paying rates in the country:
- Montana: $ 71,550 / year or $ 34,40/ hour;
- Iowa: $ 73,660/ year or $ 35,42/ hour;
- South Dakota: $ 73,850/ year or $ 35,51/hour;
- West Virginia: $ 80,310/ year or $ 38,61/hour;
- Mississippi: $ 81,580/ year or $ 39,92 /hour.
Among other factors that influence the air traffic controller salary, the experience is widely considered one of great importance. According to an income report published by payscale.com, an entry-level air traffic controller (0 to 5 year) can earn up to $ 67,000 per year.
Subsequently, a mid-career air traffic controller (5 to 10 years) can earn up to $ 79,000/ year. A late-career air traffic controller, with more than 20 years on the clock, can earn $ 103,000/year.
In order to become an air traffic controller, you will need to secure an air traffic management degree from the Federal Aviation Administration. To pass the course and become an air traffic controller, you must have achieved a qualifying score and spend at least a couple of months at the FAA Academy.
Candidates with prior aviation training (military) are not required to complete this course.
Working Hours and Environment
A report posted on the official page of the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that an air traffic controller usually works route centers, control tower, and other similar facilities. As an air traffic controller, you will be required to work in semi-dark offices, where you’ll need to closely observe all incoming traffic via radar devices.
These and other tasks may influence the air traffic controller salary.
As an air traffic controller, you will need to focus your attention at all times to ensure air traffic safety. Although the employment sheet states that an air traffic controller is required to work 40 hours a week, most employees work overtimes, especially if the flight routes are busy.
This position is considered a high-stress job, another reason why all air traffic controllers are required to retire voluntarily after reaching the age of 56.
Furthermore, depending on the size of the airport, air traffic controllers might be required to work over the weekend or during the legal holiday. Some airports even work on a 24-hours basis, which means that you’ll be required to work graveyard shifts.
Air Traffic Controller Salary by State
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Bonuses and Benefits Packages
Due to the fact that this job is considered a high-stress and high-risk occupation, the candidates are entitled to a full medical insurance. Furthermore, are employees have the option to retire sooner, if they amassed more than 25 years on the job.
As far as bonuses go, as an air traffic controller, you can earn a yearly bonus of $ 14,830. The figure can go even higher if you put in for overtime. In accordance with the various policies, an air traffic controller’s hourly wage can vary between $ 30,21 and $ 118,47 if they put in for overtime.
According to the official job outlook forecast published on BLS, there will be a 9 percent decrease in job outlook for the 2014-2024 timeframe. The employment change projected for the same interval is -2400.
Although the numbers clearly state that there will be a slight decrease over the next decade, there are always openings for young air traffic enthusiasts. Air traffic controller salary may vary according to the employment change rate for this interval.
In conclusion, the average air traffic controller salary can vary according to various factors. Becoming an air traffic controller may be a little difficult than applying for another job opening. Still, the perspectives are good; the mean wage is way above the national average for other occupations, and the job is anything else than dull. If you are still interested in applying for a position as an air traffic controller, keep in mind that besides good skills you must also follow the necessary FAA Academy courses.