Air Traffic Controller's Salary

Received great news yesterday. My wife is 4 weeks pregnant! This is our first child so its very exciting. We printed out a table showing different stages of the pregnancy and what to expect and made an appointment to see a doctor in a few weeks for the first ultrasound. I've got mates coming to visit in a few weeks so now we have a designated driver! haha. Sounds terrible I know but it's something we joke about.

(Picture above: ATC Workstation, TAAATS Display)

I'd like to talk about Air Traffic Controller's salaries. I use a counter for my web pages to log visitors information. For those of you who are looking for a good counter go to it's great. I get information on visitors location, how they got to my pages, how long they stayed, and many other useful tools including search queries from search engines like Google. Tonight while I was browsing through the visitors activity I noticed one interesting query a visitor from Australia entered into Google. "How much do Air Traffic Controllers get a year?" That a good question and ill be happy to answer it for you.

ATC salary can be broken up into three basic categories.

  1. ATC Trainee College Salary

  2. ATC Field Training Salary

  3. ATC Salary

Obviously this salary changes every year as it is a natural process for a salary to increase with time due to things like inflation. I can't give an exact dollar amount but pretty close to it give or take a couple thousand. (I could give an exact amount but I'd have to source that information from work, I'm not at work and it's probably not that important.)

1. ATC Trainee College Salary - Yes you get paid while you study! When I went through the college in 2004 the college salary was approximately $32,000 a year. We have had multiple pay rises since then, roughly 2% every six months. That's a pay rise of about $1,200 a year so it's safe to say a trainee at the ATC college would make about $36,000 a year. That's better than most 9 to 5 office jobs

2. ATC Field Training Salary - After you finish at the college you then move out into the real world of Air Traffic Control and start doing on the job training for your first rating. A couple of years ago this salary was approximately $48,000 P.A. Add the 4% P.A. increase and an Air Traffic Controller during field training makes in excess of $50,000.

3. ATC Salary - As soon as you pass your first rating checks you commence the next level of your salary. This is broken up into tiers. You go up a tier on the anniversary of your first rating. Tier 1 salary was roughly $62,000 in 2005. Once again you have to add 4% P.A. to get the current salary.

These tiers go from 1 to 12 or 13. I'm not sure, I haven't made it that far. Your first few tiers jump by a lot. For example I am at the end of tier 2 which is close to $78,000 P.A. In September I will be on tier 3 which is close to $90,000. Tier 4 is mid to high 90's, tier 5 hits six figure income all the way to the highest tier which varies with location. Anywhere from about $125,000 to $135,000+. This isn't including Team Leaders and Managers which can be a natural career progression.

So I hope I have answered your question anonymous from Australia.