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Career and Education Opportunities for Air Traffic Controllers in Lancaster, California

There are many career and education opportunities for air traffic controllers in the Lancaster, California area. Currently, 2,400 people work as air traffic controllers in California. This is expected to grow by 17% to 2,800 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for air traffic controllers are expected to grow by about 13.1%. In general, air traffic controllers control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies.

A person working as an air traffic controller can expect to earn about $59 hourly or $122,800 annually on average in California and about $53 per hour or $111,870 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Air, people working as air traffic controllers in California earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Air nationally.

The Lancaster area is home to 210 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Lancaster where you can get a degree as an air traffic controller. Air traffic controllers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be an air traffic controller if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Air Traffic Controller

Air Traffic Controller video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, air traffic controllers control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. They also authorize, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.

Air traffic controllers monitor aircraft within a specific airspace, using radar, computer equipment, and visual references. They also inform pilots about nearby planes as well as potentially hazardous conditions such as weather, speed and direction of wind, and visibility problems. Equally important, air traffic controllers have to maintain radio and telephone contact with adjacent control towers, terminal control units, and other area control centers so as to direct aircraft movement. They are often called upon to alert airport emergency services in cases of emergency and when aircraft are experiencing difficulties. They are expected to monitor and direct the movement of aircraft within an assigned air space and on the ground at airports to minimize delays and maximize safety. Finally, air traffic controllers transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.

Every day, air traffic controllers are expected to be able to split focus between different tasks. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for air traffic controllers to initiate and direct searches for missing aircraft. They are often called upon to issue landing and take-off authorizations and instructions. They also compile data related to flights from flight plans and observations. They are sometimes expected to direct pilots to runways when space is available, or direct them to maintain a traffic pattern until there is space for them to land. Somewhat less frequently, air traffic controllers are also expected to initiate and direct searches for missing aircraft.

They also have to be able to relay to control centers such air traffic data as courses and expected arrival times and furnish flight path changes or directions to emergency landing fields for pilots traveling in bad weather or in emergency situations. And finally, they sometimes have to examine and control radio equipment and airport lights.

Like many other jobs, air traffic controllers must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Lancaster include:

  • Air Cargo Supervisor. Direct ground crew in the loading, unloading, and staging of aircraft cargo or baggage. Determine the quantity and orientation of cargo and compute aircraft center of gravity. May accompany aircraft as member of flight crew and monitor and handle cargo in flight, and assist and brief passengers on safety and emergency procedures.
  • Airline Pilot. Pilot and navigate the flight of multi-engine aircraft in regularly scheduled service for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport rating and certification in specific aircraft type used.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Air Traffic Controller Training

Mt San Antonio College - Walnut, CA

Mt San Antonio College, 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789-1399. Mt San Antonio College is a large college located in Walnut, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 30,439 students. Mt San Antonio College has an associate's degree program in Air Traffic Controller which graduated eighty-one students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Airmen Certification: Include the following areas:

  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Flight Engineers, Flight Navigators, Aircraft Dispatchers, and Control Tower Operators
  • 8610-1 (PDF) - Mechanic's Application for Inspection Authorization
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Mechanics, Repairman, and Parachute Riggers
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Pilots, Flight Instructors and Ground Instructors
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Sport Pilot

LOCATION INFORMATION: Lancaster, California

Lancaster, California
Lancaster, California photo by File Upload Bot

Lancaster is situated in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 145,469, which has grown by 22.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Lancaster, 130, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Lancaster cost $144,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-six new homes were constructed in Lancaster, down from eight hundred six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Lancaster are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 32 minutes. More than 15.8% of Lancaster residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lancaster is 17.6%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Lancaster residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Lancaster is home to the Los Angeles County Animal Shelter Number 5 and the Lancaster City Hall as well as Mays Field and Mariposa Park. Shopping centers in the area include Antelope Valley Center Shopping Center, Antelope Valley Plaza Shopping Center and West Lancaster Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Lancaster can choose from Best Western Antelope Valley I, Aloha Motel and Bonaire Motel for temporary stays in the area.