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Career Videos

Air Traffic Controllers Career Video

Description: 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.

Video Transcript

Watching blips on radar screens can make it seem like playing a video game… but each number on screen represents an aircraft – and the safety of flights depends on the careful, decisive guidance of air traffic controllers. These professionals typically work in the airport control tower to direct the flow of planes and passengers— whether on the ground, taking off, or coming in for a landing. Safety is their main priority— but air traffic controllers also try to minimize delays. Each controller is part of a nationwide system, responding to weather, mechanical difficulties, and all the small things that can cause big problems for pre-arranged flight plans. They must follow procedures to the letter, adapt to new circumstances continuously, and communicate clearly. Most air traffic controllers in the United States are trained at the Federal Aviation Administration Academy; trainees must start training before age 31, have U.S. citizenship, and pass several evaluations including an assessment of their ability to cope with mental stress over long hours. An aviation background is a plus. With the unusual characteristic of mandatory retirement at age 56, and typically excellent pay and benefits, this can be an attractive career that demands concentrated focus. Like the intricate cogs of a Swiss watch, air traffic controllers are part of an elegant choreography that makes air travel safe and speedy.