One of the primary considerations of those thinking about becoming an air traffic controller is how much money they can expect to make initially and throughout their career. Given that there are rigorous standards that air traffic controllers are held to, it is reasonable to wonder how much money such a stressful position will garner.
Potential Salary Outlook for Air Traffic Controllers
At its most basic, air traffic controllers maintain order throughout the nation's airports and military bases. Highly specialized skills are required in this job due to its critical position in the nation's security and transportation sectors. Notoriously stressful, this profession is generally acknowledged as one of the most difficult, but rewarding, jobs to have. Most who have been in the field for some time cite the importance of the job, the high salary, and the exquisite benefits, including early retirement, as one of the reasons they became air traffic controllers in the first place.
There are more than 25,000 controllers employed each year, with reports that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) plans to increase its base to include almost 20,000 new positions and employees over the next five to ten years. A majority of controllers will be retiring leaving a glut of employment opportunities for those wanting to become air traffic controllers. This has created an interesting dilemma in that while there is an increased need for air traffic controllers, there is a lack of qualified FAA approved courses or facilities, which means that many students find themselves having to extend their educational plans in order to wait for qualified instructors or positions in approved schools to open.
There currently are rumors that the government is interested in privatizing the industry and thus significantly lowering the pay scale by 20-30%, but as of this writing it has not happened and in all likelihood will not occur for some time to come. Increased automation is more likely to impact salaries of those who have just become air traffic controllers as more automation means less dependence on human factors.
Excellent Starting Pay Plus Benefits for Air Traffic Controllers
In an economic time when jobs are stagnating as well as salaries, air traffic controllers enjoy high job security. When you become an air traffic control operator the starting salary runs in the average of $80,000, with most enjoying average earnings topping out at slightly over $100,000. Additionally, on becoming an air traffic controller and remaining an air traffic controller for a number of years, employees can enjoy salaries that soar well over $100,000. Certain states pay slightly more than the average.
For many who've been in the field for some time, it is the reward of the job itself that motivates them to remain in the field for decades. For those who can pass the requirements and put in the time it takes, a career as an air controller can not only become a rewarding career, but one in which you will realize a tremendous salary with benefits that include paid leave days and a comprehensive retirement package.