Air Traffic Controllers

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Also known as:  Air Traffic Control Operator, Air Traffic Control Specialist, Air Traffic Controller, Air Traffic Coordinator, Airport Tower Controller, Control Tower Operator, Enroute Controller

ABOUT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
At first, it looks like a video game, but this is very much for real. Each number on the screen represents an aircraft, and he passengers' lives depend on your careful, swift, decisive and constant instruction. Most air traffic controllers are employed and trained by the federal government. The pay ...
and benefits are excellent, but the stress is high.

Whether you work at an airport control tower to make sure planes stay a safe distance apart on the ground, taking off and landing; a terminal are control facility' or an en-route control center monitoring travel through invisible highways in the sky, you must speak clearly, work in a team, and be constantly on the alert.

Safety is the priority, but air traffic controller also works toward minimizing delays. Each controller is part of a nationwide system that creates an intricate airborne ballet, responding to weather, mechanical difficulties, and all the little things that constantly cause big problems for pre-arranged flight plans.

People seeking employment in this challenging career take a federal civil service test and are examined in ways that measure their ability to cope with mental stress over long hours. A background as a pilot, navigator, or military controller increases your chances of being accepted for the federal aviation administration academy, where air traffic controllers are trained.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Initiate or coordinate searches for missing aircraft.
Provide flight path changes or directions to emergency landing fields for pilots traveling in bad weather or in emergency situations.
Alert airport emergency services in cases of emergency or when aircraft are experiencing difficulties.
Compile information about flights from flight plans, pilot reports, radar, or observations.
Relay air traffic information, such as courses, altitudes, or expected arrival times, to control centers.
Direct pilots to runways when space is available or direct them to maintain a traffic pattern until there is space for them to land.
Determine the timing or procedures for flight vector changes.
Transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.
Check conditions and traffic at different altitudes in response to pilots' requests for altitude changes.
Monitor or direct the movement of aircraft within an assigned air space or on the ground at airports to minimize delays and maximize safety.
Monitor aircraft within a specific airspace, using radar, computer equipment, or visual references.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Flexibility of Closure The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Selective Attention The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
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