Air Traffic Control (Terminal)

A Career as an Air Traffic Controller

Airplane flying over control tower

Air traffic controllers watch over all planes traveling in an airport’s airspace. Their main responsibility is to organize the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport. During busy times, controllers must work rapidly and efficiently. Total concentration is required to keep track of several planes at the same time and to make certain that all pilots receive correct instructions. The mental stress of being responsible for the safety of several aircraft and their passengers can be exhausting, but this career offers great rewards.

Atlantic Cape Community College’s Air Traffic Control (Terminal), Associate in Applied Science degree program, will prepare students for entry-level employment for a rewarding career as an Air Traffic Controller. Students will learn the prerequisite concepts and techniques required to be successful. Atlantic Cape is the only college in New Jersey to offer this training.

The program delivers both practical and conceptual knowledge through the use of coursework and learning activities while incorporating hands-on learning and extensive use of simulation, reading, writing, problem solving and listening exercises.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must be 26 years old or less* and must complete Atlantic Cape’s Air Traffic Control Program Application for Admission in addition to the College’s Application for Admission. For other eligibility requirements, please see the Application for Admission. For admission information, contact Barbara Clark at (609) 343-5006 or bclark@atlantic.edu.  

Atlantic Cape is currently seeking status in the FAA’s Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI). Pending AT-CTI status, Atlantic Cape has signed transfer articulation agreements with CTI colleges that will allow graduates to transfer and obtain their CTI recommendation. Contact the department chair for an updated list of transfer agreements. Currently, Atlantic Cape students are eligible to apply for FAA “Public Bid” job announcements.

Graduates of Atlantic Cape’s Air Traffic Control Terminal program must take the Air Traffic Selection and Training (AT-SAT) Test. Opportunities to take the AT-SAT exam are made available either through occasional FAA-announced "Public Bid" test dates or through receiving a recommendation from a College Training Initiative (CTI) certified institution. CTI recommendations are issued at the discretion of the authorized institution and are not guaranteed. This examination will determine aptitude and skills necessary to be an Air Traffic Controller. If hired by the FAA, students will be sent to the FAA Air Traffic Training Academy located at the Michael Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, OK, for initial qualification training as an Air Traffic Controller. After completion of this training, students will proceed to an assigned facility for more specific training.

Completion of Atlantic Cape’s ATCT program does not guarantee employment.

Job Outlook

airplane and tower

Keen competition is expected for air traffic controller positions. Over the next 10 years, the FAA projects the hiring of 15,000 new air traffic controllers. Increasing air traffic will require more controllers to handle the additional work. The median annual wage for air traffic controllers in 2009 was $109,850, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Affordable Quality Education

At Atlantic Cape, you have the opportunity to learn from an outstanding staff with the same high-quality content available at higher priced, private institutions. The result is an affordable education that is comparable to the best in the state.

In addition, a wide variety of programs are available for financial aid, including scholarships, grants and loans.

For more information

Contact Admissions, (609) 343-5000, (609) 625-1111 or (609) 463-3958 or e-mail accadmit@atlantic.edu or the program coordinator, Associate Professor James Taggart, jtaggart@atlantic.edu or (609) 839-0451.

*FAA age limit to be hired as an Air Traffic Controller is 31.