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Six Figure Compensation for Air Traffic Controllers

According to survey, by the year 2011 most of the currently employed air traffic controllers are expected to retire.  And on top of that, large numbers of airports around the country (not to mention the world) are being built, modernized and are rehabilitated. 

With the growing need for air traffic controllers, the U.S. government plans to hire thousands of controllers in the years ahead, making it an especially promising field.
With the perceived scenario in this particular aeronautical field, the chances of being a part of it are great.  The rewards are tremendous: a not so physically compelling job, a mentally challenging opportunity not to mention an annual salary that can run more than US$100,000.00. Not too bad!

If you’re fascinated with airplanes and rules and systems, then this might just be the job for you.  This particular profession needs a detail-oriented person; a person whose focus is on organization, system and regulations.  Above all, an air traffic controller should be a mature, decisive individual willing to take on large amount of responsibility that entails the protection and safety of quite a lot of people.  

Articulateness, intelligence, an exemplary memory and the ability to concentrate amidst terminal noise and other distractions are among the qualities required of a good air traffic controller.  These are traits that will help an aspiring air traffic controller become an efficient and successful professional.
The primary responsibility of an air traffic controller is to coordinate the movement of airplanes to ensure orderly and systematic air traffic movements.  It’s a position of tremendous responsibility since a controller is duty bound to make decisions that can literally save lives.

They also watch over all aircrafts traveling within the airport’s airspace relying on both radar and visual observation.  Another responsibility of air traffic controllers is to notify pilots about changes in weather conditions and other information which might be crucial in manning and controlling an aircraft.
In order to qualify as an air traffic controller applicant, you need to have completed four years of college education, must have a three year of full-time work experience, or a combination of both. You must also enroll in an FAA-approved training program. If you have a sort of aviation practice, whether as military veterans or civilians with prior experience, this can be use to substitute for any of these requirements.  

In addition to these requirements, you also have to complete and pass an eight-hour computerized pre-employment examination before you can actually qualify and apply for the position. This will measure your ability to learn the controller’s duties and responsibilities.

Successful completion of all required instructional programs including the age limit (applicants must be less than 31 years of age), medical examinations with drug screening, and security clearance would mean great conditions for being hired.

Once hired, you’ll be attending a twelve week training seminar, where you’ll learn the basics of airway system, FAA regulations, aircraft performance features as well as an opportunity to work on an air traffic simulator.  It is a device which enables you to get a feel for what it’s really like to direct air traffic. 

After completing the training, you will probably be assigned to an air traffic control facility as a trainee. And this is not the end of trainings and preparations you have to undergo. You are still classified as a ‘developmental controller’ and will still have to work and train for several more years before you will be considered as a fully qualified air traffic controller.

Undergoing apprenticeship does not assure an applicant of a certification.  Anyone who does not complete the FAA educational requirement or the on-the-job training within the specified time allotted are usually dismissed.

It generally takes new controllers about two to four years of training to complete all the certification requirements to become certified controllers.  Although people who probably have qualified experiences normally take less time to be certified. 

A certified air traffic controller has to follow a continuous assessment of both physical and job performance. Annual physical examinations with drug screening together with a bi-annual job performance evaluation are conditions for continued employment.

While the training process can be quite challenging and long, those who were able complete and go through it say it’s well worth the effort.  That’s because the work of an air traffic controller can be incredibly rewarding—financially aside, it offers security of tenure (as long as you always meet all requirements) than do most professions and a wide-open prospect for advancement; a total overall job satisfaction!