By Anna Kim
Anyone who’s interested in the aircraft industry and aviation may have thought of pursuing one of the many existing air traffic controller jobs. The average military air traffic controller salary is around $55,000 a year. However, an E-1 status and being fairly new to the job will provide a lower salary. Read on to learn about the requirements for being a military air traffic controller and the tasks and responsibilities needed to earn this salary.

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A Rundown of an Air Traffic Controller Salary

So, how much does an air traffic controller make? Unlike regular civilian jobs, in the military, one’s salary depends on rank and experience. So a person with an E-5 status who’s been in the Armed Forces for over 10 years will get paid more as compared to someone with an E-2 status and three years in the military. The average air traffic control salary can range from $51,000 to $105,000 a year, with roughly $20,000 being the lowest. A salary is not the only thing air traffic controllers receive. They will receive other benefits, such as housing allowances and subsistence allowances, which are determined by rank and years of experience. On top of that, dependent family members will also receive higher allowances. People who are living in more challenging areas may receive pay incentives, such as tax benefits for those serving in designated combat zones and sea pay for those in sea-going units. To put this into perspective, a Petty Officer Third Class, E-4, with four years in the military will make around $2,500 a month in basic pay and receive a housing and subsistence allowance based on the location they’re stationed in.

Air Traffic Controller Requirements

Want to know how to become an air traffic controller? The following requirements must be met:
  • Must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
  • Must be at least 17 years old.
  • For the Air Force, the air traffic controller age limit is 39 years old.
  • Normal vision and hearing.
  • No history of drug use.
  • Must be fluent in English.
  • Must pass a flight physical before starting training.
  • Must have a high school diploma or GED.
You also have to achieve a score of 220 on either the verbal, arithmetic reasoning, mathematics knowledge, and mechanical comprehension or the verbal, mathematics knowledge, mechanical comprehension, and auto shop sections. And of course, you must demonstrate knowledge of air traffic control principles and procedures. It also helps to be skilled in mathematical computation, be able to work under stress, be able to make quick judgments, and enjoy working in a team environment.

What Does a Military Air Traffic Controller Do?

In short, a military air traffic controller monitors and directs aircraft for takeoffs and landings. In order to successfully execute this, they must monitor the weather, takeoff and landing patterns, and arrange flight paths. They ensure the safety of air traffic and prevent collisions with military and civilian aircraft, alike. They provide information to help combat aircraft, along with other offensive air operations. Overall, they must maintain safe flight operations by controlling air and ground traffic safety and processing flight plan data. Being a military air traffic controller is no easy job. It takes hard work and dedication to earn what can be a lucrative air traffic controller salary. But think about how much value you can provide to your country. It certainly pays off.

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The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement. | Photo by Senior Airman Alan Ricker | 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs




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