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Career and Education Opportunities for Air Traffic Controllers in St. Paul, Minnesota

There are many career and education opportunities for air traffic controllers in the St. Paul, Minnesota area. There are currently 680 working air traffic controllers in Minnesota; this should grow by 8% to 730 working air traffic controllers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $64 per hour or $133,580 per year on average in Minnesota and about $53 hourly or $111,870 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for air traffic controllers are better than earnings in the general category of Air in Minnesota and better than general Air category earnings nationally.

The St. Paul area is home to seventy-seven schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of St. Paul where you can get a degree as an air traffic controller. The most common level of education for air traffic controllers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying 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 St. Paul 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

Minneapolis Community and Technical College - Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis Community and Technical College, 1501 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403-1779. Minneapolis Community and Technical College is a medium sized college located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,539 students. Minneapolis Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Air Traffic Controller which graduated fifty-nine 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: St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota photo by Gridge

St. Paul is located in Ramsey County, Minnesota. It has a population of over 279,590, which has shrunk by 2.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in St. Paul, 99, is near the national average. New single-family homes in St. Paul are valued at $213,300 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, thirty new homes were built in St. Paul, down from seventy-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in St. Paul are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 32.0% of St. Paul residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Paul is 7.4%, which is greater than Minnesota's average of 7.0%.

The percentage of St. Paul residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 61.3%, is more than both the national and state average. Zion Church, Convent of the Visitation and Saint Paul Cathedral are some of the churches located in St. Paul. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Baptist General Conference.

St. Paul is home to the Saint Paul Orphange and the Wilder Center as well as Terrace Park and East View Playground.