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Air Traffic Control and Related Workers

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NOC:2272
Occupation:Air Traffic Controllers and Related Workers
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Air traffic controllers direct air traffic within assigned airspace, and control moving aircraft and service vehicles at airports. Flight service specialists provide pilots with flight information essential to aviation safety. Air traffic controllers and flight service specialists are employed by NAV Canada and the Canadian Forces. Flight dispatchers authorize airline flights over assigned routes. Flight dispatchers are employed by airline and air services companies and by the Canadian Forces.

Job duties:
Air traffic controllers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Control flow of air traffic within assigned airspace using radar monitors, radio and other communication equipment and visual references.
  • Issue aircraft takeoff and landing instructions to pilots and relay meteorological, navigational and other information to pilots in flight.
  • Maintain radio and telephone contact with adjacent control towers, terminal control units and other area control centres, and coordinate movement of aircraft into adjoining areas.
  • Alert airport emergency services when aircraft are experiencing difficulties and report missing aircraft to search and rescue services.
  • Direct activities of all moving aircraft and service vehicles on or near airport runways.
Flight service specialists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Provide pre-flight information concerning current and forecast weather conditions, radio frequencies, terrain, airports and related data to assist pilots in preparation of flight plans.
  • Check flight plans for completeness and accuracy and forward flight plans to air traffic services facility.
  • Respond to radio calls from aircraft preparing for takeoff or landing and supply information such as weather conditions, wind speed and direction and presence of local air traffic.
  • Support air traffic control operations by relaying radio requests for flight clearances, arrival and departure information and position reports.
  • Alert airport emergency services of aircraft experiencing difficulties and initiate communication searches when aircraft become overdue.
  • Observe, record, and report weather conditions at airports.
Flight dispatchers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Analyze environmental conditions and assess aircraft for load and fuel capacity and other factors to determine flight routes.
  • Brief flight crew before takeoff on weather conditions, status of navigational facilities and airports en route.
  • Co-sign flight authorization with aircraft captain.
  • Monitor progress of flight and communicate as required with aircraft during flight.
  • Delay or cancel flights if conditions warrant.
  • Prepare and maintain flight plans, flight logs and other reports.
Sample job titles:
  • air traffic control assistant
  • air traffic control chief
  • air traffic control officer
  • air traffic controller (ATC)
  • airline dispatcher
  • flight dispatch assistant
  • flight dispatcher
  • flight operations officer
  • flight service specialist (FSS)
Skills:

For these jobs, you need good health and eyesight, good judgement, constant vigilance, and the ability to communicate effectively. The candidates who succeed in training are self-confident and mature team players who are highly motivated, decisive, and self-disciplined.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is required.
  • A basic radio telephone operator's licence is required.
  • Air traffic controllers and flight service specialists require completion of a NAV Canada training program which includes structured in-class and on-the-job training.
  • Air traffic controllers require an air traffic controller's licence.
  • Flight dispatchers may require experience in air traffic control or flight operations and may require a private pilot's licence.
Other considerations:

Air traffic controllers with experience and appropriate NAV Canada endorsements may move to units with higher volumes of air traffic.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Air Traffic Controllers and Related Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 75% of Air Traffic Controllers and Related Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $89,285. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Air Traffic Control and Related Workers155xxx
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $75,030
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Air Traffic Control and Related WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time88%94%
Percent self-employed3%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentAir Traffic Control and Related WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southernxx12%$30,581
Northernxx16%$33,660
Cape Bretonxx13%$32,974
Halifax59%$79,95947%$41,209
Annapolis Valley38%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeAir Traffic Control and Related WorkersCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
15-24xx
25-345%14%
35-4439%33%
45-5452%32%
55-64x18%
65+3%4%
Median Age4543
GenderAir Traffic Control and Related WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Female34%20%
Male66%80%
EducationAir Traffic Control and Related WorkersCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax0.7%$28,107
High school29.0%$99,57012.1%$35,125
Trades certificate12.9%x6.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma45.2%$98,56033.7%$52,476
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax3.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree12.9%$132,37629.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax2.0%$54,917
Master's degreeN/Ax9.7%$37,706
DoctorateN/Ax1.7%$65,565
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%$57,566
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Air Traffic Controller
Not Provincially Regulated:This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.
Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Civil Aviation Services
45 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4K2
(800) 305-2059
Flight Service Specialist
Not Provincially Regulated:This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.
Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Civil Aviation Services
45 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4K2
(800) 305-2059
Useful contacts:
NAV CANADA
PO Box 3411, Station T
Ottawa, ON K1P 5L6
Tel: (800) 876-4693 ext.4
Fax: (877) 663-6656
service@navcanada.ca

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Air traffic controller
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to air-traffic management and control. These programs include courses in flight control; the use of radar and electronic scanning devices; plotting of flights; radio communication; interpretation of weather conditions affecting flights; flight instrumentation used by pilots; and maintenance of flight-control centre or control-tower log books.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Additional resources: