Salary-wise, air traffic controller jobs are one the most lucrative airport-related jobs. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) noted that the starting salary of an air traffic controller is $17,803 ($1,483 per month) by January 2010 to present. Such an amount is only the salary of entry level trainees. When a recruit is assigned to any facility, the pay will be increased to $37,070 ($3,089 monthly). For instance, veterans recruitment appointees, retired military ATCs and former or current federal ATCs are earning $37,070. This pay continuously increases as the ATC completes a required ladderized training. Some ATCs are making up to $95,000 annually on an average.
Based on the figures of FAA, as of 2010, the starting pay for new ATCs who was able to complete their OJT receive a yearly pay of $118,000 or $9,833 per month on an average. Further, the average salary of air traffic control specialists including trainees is $104,000 ($8,666 monthly) on an average. The figures of FAA have slight differences on that of the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Anyhow, the salaries remain to be financially rewarding.
According to the BLS, since May 2009, $46,550 or $3,879 per month was considered as the bottom 10th percentile of the air traffic controller salary. This only means that about 10% of all ATCs in the US earn such amount or less while the top 10% earns $161,650 ($13,470 monthly). This percentile represents the earnings of less experienced ATCs. Nonetheless, the BLS also noted that the median salary of ATCs is a bit higher at $109,850 or about $9,154 monthly.
In May 2010, the median salary of ATCs declined slightly to $108,040 which means that an ATC is earning $51.94 per hour or around $8,310.40 per month. The BLS discloses the changes in the salaries by 2012 wherein an ATC is already earning $122,530 on an average or $10, 210 monthly. The lowest 10% earns $64,930 or less or $5,410 monthly while the highest 10% earns $171,340 or $14,278 per month at the very least.
Actually, the salary ranges of the ATCs are dependent on the air traffic facility classification. These facilities are classified in eight levels wherein higher classified facilities pay higher salaries. The reason is these facilities require more in-depth judgment and decision making abilities from the ATC. So, if you want to work on one of these facilities, make sure you completed the trainings and have all the air traffic controller requirements.
The BLS also noted that about 90% of all ATCs work in one of the facilities of FAA. Some civilian controllers are working for the Department of Defense while the rest are working for private companies like those that provide services to FAA and non-FAA towers and service stations.
Regardless of which air traffic control school you’ve acquired your ATC certification, air traffic controller jobs will continue to be in demand. The reason behind this is not only because the job itself is very rewarding, but also because air traffic controller salary is very good and it progresses along with the completion of training. However, this job/career is not for everyone more so because the requirements are strict and the responsibilities are not that easy. If you are ready and willing to take the challenges being an ATC entails, then this job is for you.