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Air Traffic Instructor Training Program Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an air traffic instructor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification information to find out if this is the career for you.

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The instructors who teach air traffic controllers are themselves experienced in the field and hold bachelor's degrees in aviation with an emphasis on air traffic control. They must be familiar with all regulations and meet all requirements for air traffic controllers.

Essential Information

Programs that specifically teach an individual to become an air traffic instructor aren't likely to exist. However, those aspiring to work in this occupation can obtain training through a bachelor's degree program in aviation with a focus in air traffic control. Years of professional experience in the field can lead to a teaching career. They also typically hold certification with the FAA.

Required Education An aviation bachelor's degree with an emphasis in air traffic control AND 3-10 years of professional experience as an air traffic controller
Additional Requirements Certification through FAA
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 1% (for Air Traffic Controllers)
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $124,540 (for Air Traffic Controllers)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Air Traffic Control Training Program

An air traffic control training program is aimed at individuals interested in aviation, as well as careers as air traffic instructors. In addition to coursework, students participate in laboratory studies using simulation equipment. They learn about aeronautics, aviation safety, airport management, aerodynamics and air traffic control. Graduates are familiar with federal regulations, air traffic control industry trends, current management procedures and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications.

Students also need to be knowledgeable of the relationships between the FAA publications, federal regulations and the U.S. Air Traffic Control System. Course topics may include air traffic control regulations, aviation weather, radar environment, aviation history, marketing principles, transportation logistics and CAD (computer-aided design) for airport environments. Upon completion of the program, graduates are qualified to take the FAA-administered Air Traffic Selection and Training test, as well as complete the on-site qualification training at the FAA academy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job positions for air traffic controllers are expected minimal or no change between 2018 and 2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that workersin the 90th percentile or higher earned $178,650 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $68,090 or less per year.

Professional Requirements

In addition to earning the appropriate bachelor's degree, aspiring instructors must meet other professional requirements. Potential air traffic instructors must have at least three years of experience working as an air traffic controller; some companies may require as many as ten years of experience. They must also be knowledgeable of Code Federal Regulations and NACO (National Aeronautical Charting Office) flight information publications, as well as both En Route and Terminal Air Traffic Control. Experience at the developmental controller level may be a requirement for some instructor positions.

Having management and simulator experience is beneficial, as is proficiency in industry computer applications. Depending on the company, an applicant may also be required to have certain flight certifications or experience as an air transport pilot, commercial pilot, or have experience flying complex, commercial or high-performance aircraft. Candidates may also be required to have been a resident in that state for at least a year.

In order to meet the regulatory standards, aspiring air traffic instructors must go through an extensive training process and meet a plethora of professional requirements. They need a college degree in aviation as well as experience as a controller. Jobs for air traffic controllers are projected to have minimal or no change through 2028, and the median salary in 2018 was about $125,000.

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