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Air Traffic Controllers Job Outlook

Employment of air traffic controllers is projected to decline by 3 percent from 2010 to 2020. Most employment opportunities will result from the need to replace workers who retire.

Despite an expected increase in air traffic, employment growth will not keep pace because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) already hired many new controllers over the last several years. In addition, federal budget constraints should limit the hiring of new controllers, and the NextGen satellite based system is expected to allow individual controllers to handle more air traffic.

Job Prospects

Most new jobs will result as the majority of today’s air traffic control workforce retires over the next decade. Despite the increasing number of job openings, competition to get into the FAA Academy will remain high because there are generally more test applicants than job openings. Job opportunities will be best for individuals in their early 20s who obtain an air traffic management degree from a FAA certified school.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition