A job nothing like the movies: 5 realities of being an air traffic controller

Air traffic control is quite a mystery for most people. In movies, we see air traffic controllers sit in a tower where they guide pilots to safely fly or land aircraft. But is the job really as stressful and nerve-wracking as they show in a film like Pushing Tin?


Here’s a look at the realities of being an air traffic controller–and why it can be a meaningful and rewarding career:


1. Job Satisfaction

Air traffic controllers (ATCs) are essential to the airline industry. They guide pilots throughout their flight; provide updates regarding weather changes; and ensure the passengers’ safety. ATCs work in towers, in airports or control centers. There’s a satisfaction of knowing that what they do saves thousands of lives every single day.


2. Excellent Pay

According to Business World, the average salary of an air traffic controller in the Philippines is $1,100 or 58,784.55 in Philippine pesos. That’s enough money to provide for a family with some extra to spare.


3. Early Retirement

Since the job pays relatively well, air traffic controllers can afford to retire early. If you have saved up until your retirement then you’re good to go. As many former ATCs will tell you, many of them retire in their 50s.


4. Excellent Job Benefits

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, air traffic controllers qualify for a complete package of federal benefits, such as annual leave, sick leave, and life and health insurance.


5. Being an air traffic controller isn’t really stressful

It’s a high-pressure job but not really as stressful as people may think. Yes, an ATC’s job requires attention and focus as one mistake may lead to an accident. However, this doesn’t mean that ATCs in control towers are constantly shouting while they guide aircraft through the airspace and the ground. It is rather a calm workplace, where air traffic controllers help one another as they observe and plan the best routes for an aircraft.


The process of becoming a licensed ATC isn’t easy but it is worth it. Guiding an aircraft throughout the flight is a big responsibility but it’s thrilling and fun. Choose WCC aviation school to hone your skills and help you start your career as an air traffic controller.


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