Skip to page content
Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The latest general information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on For FAA-specific COVID-19 resources, please visit
United States Department of TransportationUnited States Department of Transportation

Aviation Careers

Air Traffic Control Specialists

Four air traffic controllers at work in a tower.

Every minute, every hour, every day, there are men and women working to ensure the safety and efficiency of our national airspace system.

This elite group of more than 14,000 FAA air traffic control specialists provide a vital public service to guide pilots, their planes and 2.7 million daily passengers from taxi to takeoff, through the air and back safely on the ground.

The most recent hiring window has closed. Check back for future hiring announcements and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Pay, Benefits, Hours

The approximate median annual wage for air traffic control specialists is $127,805. The salaries for entry-level air traffic control specialists increase as they complete each new training phase.

The annual salary for more advanced controllers who have completed on-the-job training varies with the location of the facility, the complexity of the airspace, and other factors.

As a federal employee, air traffic control specialists receive a benefits package that rivals, if not surpasses, those offered in the private sector, with a variety of insurance, retirement, leave and flexible spending options for employees and their families. Learn more about benefits.

Most air traffic control specialists work full time, and some work additional hours. Larger air traffic control facilities operate continuously, and employees may rotate among day, evening, and night shifts, along with weekends and holidays. Smaller facilities have more standard dawn to dusk operating hours.

I have the greatest job in the world, and there is absolutely nothing else in the world I would rather be doing.

— Jeffrey Vincent, Vice President of Air Traffic Services

Because of the serious nature of this work and zero margin for error, the training regimen and proficiencies needed to become an air traffic control specialist, are demanding. Initial selection does not guarantee placement into federal civilian service. Entry-level applicants must complete required training courses at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City and gain on-the-job experience before becoming certified professional controllers.

Being an air traffic controller is not only important, but it's also an interesting and dynamic career.

— Teri L. Bristol, Chief Operating Officer, Air Traffic Services

Minimum Requirements

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be age 30 or under (on the closing date of the application period)
  • Pass a medical examination
  • Pass a security investigation
  • Pass the FAA air traffic pre-employment test
  • Speak English clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment
  • Have three years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor's degree, or a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years
  • Be willing to relocate to an FAA facility based on agency staffing needs

The FAA offers employment opportunities for individuals with previous air traffic control experience, as well as entry-level trainee air traffic control specialists, through separate job vacancy announcements posted for a limited time throughout the year.

Get answers to your frequently asked questions about air traffic control specialist requirements.

Spread the word! Access our Digital Toolkit.

The most recent hiring window has closed. Check back for future hiring announcements and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Airway Transportation Systems Specialists

Join the team.

We're currently recruiting for entry-level positions at locations nationwide. Learn more.

The following five specialties encompass the duties of an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist (electronics technician):


Montage of people fixing various equipment.

Technicians maintain and repair the following types of equipment: Lighted Navigational Aids Systems, Engine Generators (with or W/O Transfer Switches), Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning Systems and Power Sources/Power Conditioning Systems.


Montage of people surveying radar.

Technicians maintain and repair the following types of equipment: Airport Surveillance Radar, Air Route Surveillance Radar, Air Traffic Control Beacon Indicator, Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Terminal Doppler Weather Radar.

Navigational Aids

Montage of people working on navigational equipment.

Technicians maintain and repair the following types of equipment: Instrument Landing Systems, Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VORs), Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Directional Range (DVOR), Tactical Aircraft Control and Navigation (TACAN), and Distance Measuring Equipment (DMEs).


Montage of people working on comminications equipment.

Technicians maintain and repair the following types of equipment: Motorola, ITT, or General Dynamics radios, Radio Communications Link Repeater, Low Density Radio Communications Link Repeater, Small Tower Voice Switch, Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch, Rapid Deployment Voice Switch, Digital Voice Recorder System, Digital Audio Legal Recorder.


Montage of people fixing automation equipment.

Technicians maintain and repair the following types of equipment: Automated Radar Terminal System, Direct Access Radar Channel, En Route Automation Modernization.

Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI)

FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors are involved in developing, administering, or enforcing regulations and standards concerning civil aviation safety. This includes the airworthiness of aircraft and aircraft systems; the competence of pilots, mechanics, and other airmen; and the safety aspects of aviation facilities, equipment and procedures.

A broad knowledge of the aviation industry (including general principles of aviation safety and the regulations and policies affecting aviation) is applied. In addition, an extensive technical knowledge and skill in the operations, airworthiness (maintenance and avionics), or manufacture of aircraft and aircraft systems is needed.

Join our Team

Offices and Locations

Our Business

FAA regulates and oversees all aspects of our nation's civil aviation. FAA employees work in a variety of occupations across the nation to provide the safest, most efficient aviation technology and airspace in the world.

More about our business

Page last modified: