Air Traffic Controllers
Air Traffic Controllers ensure the safe and efficient movement of aircraft in controlled airspace and aerodromes by directing aircraft movements.
Controls aircraft movements, and directs aircraft taxiing, take-offs and landings by radio.
Provides pre-flight briefings and aeronautical information services.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Air Transport Professionals, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 88% of people employed as Air Traffic Controllers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 22 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 40 hours per week in their main job. This is 4 hours less than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Air Traffic Controllers||All Jobs Average|
Around 70% of Air Traffic Controllers live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
Queensland and Victoria have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Air Traffic Controllers is 42 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 16% of the workforce. This is 32 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Air Traffic Controllers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.9||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A qualification through Airservices Australia or the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is needed to work as an Air Traffic Controller. Only Air Force officers can undertake the RAAF air traffic control course.
Registration with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is required.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Aviation Industry VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Air Traffic Controllers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||7.5||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||1.3||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Air Transport Professionals who work well in a team, can communicate clearly and are reliable.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
64%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
59%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
57%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Reading work related information.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Looking for ways to help people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Using maths to solve problems.
39%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
71%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
70%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
64%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
52%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
41%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
38%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
36%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
31%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
30%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
23%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Do two or more things at the same time.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
70%Speed of recognition
Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
64%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
See details that are far away.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
59%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Read and understand written information.
Pay attention to a certain sound when there are other distracting sounds.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
89%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
82%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
82%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
80%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
77%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
76%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
75%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
74%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
72%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
69%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
69%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
68%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
59%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
56%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
54%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
53%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
51%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
50%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
47%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
99%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
98%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
97%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
96%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
94%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
93%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
89%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
86%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
86%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
85%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
84%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
83%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
83%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
Talk on the telephone.
72%Automation of tasks
Do tasks that are mostly automated.
70%Making repetitive motions
Spend time making repetitive motions.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-2021.00 - Air Traffic Controllers.