Someone has to make sure the sky's stay friendly...

How to thrive at home navigating technology and educational challenges.

In this episode we take a look at Air Traffic Controllers as a STEM career pathway.

Air traffic controllers typically do the following:
  •     Monitor and direct the movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air
  •     Control all ground traffic at airport runways and taxiways
  •     Issue landing and takeoff instructions to pilots
  •     Transfer control of departing flights to other traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights
  •     Inform pilots about weather, runway closures, and other critical information
  •     Alert airport response staff in the event of an aircraft emergency
Air traffic controllers’ primary concern is safety, but they also must direct aircraft efficiently to minimize delays. They manage the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing, and monitor aircraft as they travel through the skies. Air traffic controllers use radar, computers, or visual references to monitor and direct the movement of the aircraft in the skies and ground traffic at airports.
Controllers usually manage multiple aircraft at the same time and must make quick decisions to ensure the safety of aircraft. For example, a controller might direct one aircraft on its landing approach while providing another aircraft with weather information.

The median annual wage for air traffic controllers was $122,990 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $68,330, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $176,320.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for air traffic controllers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

  • Federal government $127,810
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services $102,520
  • Support activities for air transportation $78,500
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