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25 Best States For Air Traffic Controllers

If you are an air traffic controller looking to find your perfect new home state, take a look into our list of the 25 best states for air traffic controllers.

So, what exactly do air traffic controllers do? In short, they work to ensure that aircraft stay safely spaced when in flight, coordinating the traffic in the air.

Becoming an air traffic controller requires education and training. Positions require some combination of education and work experience totaling 3 years. This can mean a bachelor’s degree in a related field, an associates degree in a related field plus a year of related work, or even 3 years of related work (for instance, a military contract). Applicants must be US citizens, pass background checks and medical checks, and pass exams and courses at the Federal Aviation Administration Academy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of an air traffic controller is about $122,410 per year ($58.85 hourly). They work in route centers, control towers, or approach control facilities. This career has such high earning potential due to the intensely stressful nature of the position. Oftentimes, hours for these professionals are quite rough. They can be expected to work nights, weekends, holidays, and rotating shifts. They are also quite literally responsible for the safety of thousands of people every single day, and must remain constantly vigilant during their entire shift.

25 Best States For Air Traffic Controllers


If you are interested in working in a different field, you can also check our list of 15 best states for agricultural workers.

Deciding which states qualify as the best states for air traffic controllers is not a simple task. Different factors matter more to different people. We decided to consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics for information on the average mean wage and the number of employed air traffic controllers in each state. We then sourced information on the cost of living index from Missouri Economic Research And Information Center. Considering all of these factors, we were able to sort our list.

It is not enough for a state to simply have a high average salary for its air traffic controllers. It must also be considered that the number of working air traffic controllers in the state may affect the number of job positions that are open to newcomers. On the other side of that argument, more employed air traffic controllers points to the possibility of a more steady stream of work available. The cost of living index can also not be considered alone. It is great to have a low cost of living, but this only matters if your salary is also not super low. A low cost of living paired with a high salary is the most advantageous situation. States falling into this category made the top of our list.

Without further ado, here is our list of 25 best states for air traffic controllers.