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Class of 2015-Present

Friday, November 19, 2010

College Major of the Week: Air Traffic Controller

This week: Air Traffic Controller at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND.
- Length of the program: 4 years
- Typical Career Name: Air Traffic Controller (Tower Option), Air Traffic Controller (Enroute Option), Certified Professional Controller (CPC), Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS)
- What do I do with this? Programs in air traffic control prepare people to direct air traffic. Students learn to use radar and radio communication to talk to pilots. They learn to read flight plans, instruments, and weather conditions. They also get hands-on experience at an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) flight control center during training.
- Things to know: Nearly all air traffic controllers work for the government. Most work for the Federal Aviation Administration, although some work for the Department of Defense. A few work for private companies. Controllers must pass a physical exam each year, so they must be in good shape. Controllers must also pass a job performance exam at least once per year. College graduates with civilian or military experience as controllers, navigators, or pilots have the best chances of entering the air traffic controller program.
- Approximate starting wage: $62+ per hour (or about $128,000 a year!) with a 70% placement.

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