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Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safety and routing of planes by using a variety of equipment, such as radars and computers. Individuals are responsible for using radars to track movement, authorize takeoffs and landings, as well as course changes. Air traffic controllers must be attentive and competent, as they are responsible for accident prevention and safety.
Education and Schools
Individuals wishing to become air traffic controllers must be American citizens and receive a degree in the field from a school that has been accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration. Individuals may receive an associate's or bachelor's degree, or may substitute some, most, or all of that education through previous education through the armed services. Once completed, individuals will need to pass an FAA exam in order to be eligible for employment.
A curriculum may include:
- Aviation Technology
- Energy and Propulsion
- Aviation Operations and Management
- Air Traffic Control
- Control Tower Operations
Individuals will look for schools that have access to equipment that best represent or emulate real world situations in order to become familiar with operations. It is important to note that individuals need to graduate from an FAA accredited school, as non-accredited school educations will be ineligible for the exam required to find employment.
Additional information regarding accreditation and examination, as well as general information regarding air traffic control regulations may be found at the Federal Aviation Administration website.
Air traffic control is not expected to see increases in job growth over the next decade due to extensive hires over the last decade. Most job opening are expected to result from the retiring of current air traffic controllers. Individuals in this field work at airports and airstrips, and can be found in both civilian and military locations. The field requires individuals to be knowledgeable about planes, their capabilities, and how to guide them from a distance.
The Air Traffic Control Association is a professional organization established in 1956 to protect and advance the interests of individuals in this field, as well as provide resources for their benefit.