Air Traffic Controller


Tell us about your work---what do you do? I provide for a safe and expeditious flow of airplanes through a portion of the sky. What skills are needed? Clear speech, good listening skills and quick decision-making skills . What was your major? Business. How did you get started in your career? I took a Civil Service exam and attended a Federal Aviation Class in Oklahoma City. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently only hiring ex-military air traffic controllers. What experience do you need in this job? None. All training is on the job . Describe your "typical" workday: An eight-hour shift: day, evening or night. I sit in front of a radar scope with a radio headset and a computer keyboard. I talk with other controllers and pilots to direct air traffic . What is the hardest aspect of your job? Passing the original training class in Oklahoma City was my greatest challenge. Today, the hardest part of my job is dealing with co-workers under stressful work conditions . What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Managing and safely handling air traffic, during busy times, is rewarding. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? The Federal Aviation Administration is not hiring now (at the end of 2000). I expect that there will be many new people hired in 2005, due to the retirement of current air traffic controllers. Pilot ground school would help an applicant learn air traffic control terminology .