Service Member from a control tower directing a helicopter to land

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Air Traffic Controllers

Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Service Branches

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Work Environment

Air traffic controllers work in land-based and shipboard control centers.

  • Military Status


  • Median Military Salary This is the median, or the midpoint, of the salary range for this career.


    Military Salary Range Salary varies based on years of service, degree level, special pays, family status and location.

    $22,748 - $236,074


Air traffic controllers direct the movement of aircraft into and out of military airfields. They track aircraft using navigational aids. They coordinate and communicate aircraft movement information as well as weather and airfield conditions. They also provide critical information to direct the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations.

Military Training

All enlisted service members complete basic military training which includes time spent in a classroom and in the field and covers tactical and survival skills physical training military life and customs and weapons training. Air traffic controllers will gain skills through classes and on-the-job experience. Training content varies by specialty (e.g. those stationed on aircraft carriers) and may include:

  • Air traffic control fundamentals
  • Visual and instrument flight procedures
  • Take-off landing and ground control procedures
  • Aircraft recognition
  • Communication and radar procedures

Helpful Attributes

  • Ability to make quick, decisive judgments
  • Ability to work under stress
  • Skill in math computation

Related Civilian Careers

  • Emergency Management Directors
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Airfield Operations Specialists