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Career and Education Opportunities for Air Traffic Controllers in Bellevue, Washington

For those living in the Bellevue, Washington area, there are many career and education opportunities for air traffic controllers. There are currently 750 jobs for air traffic controllers in Washington and this is projected to grow 3% to about 770 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for air traffic controllers, which sees this job pool growing by about 13.1% over the next eight years. 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 $46 per hour or $96,680 per year on average in Washington and about $53 per hour or $111,870 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Air traffic controllers earn more than people working in the category of Air generally in Washington and more than people in the Air category nationally.

There are sixty-four schools of higher education in the Bellevue area, including one within twenty-five miles of Bellevue where you can get a degree to start your career as an air traffic controller. Air traffic controllers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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 Bellevue 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

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Air Traffic Controller which graduated thirty-eight and seven students respectively in 2008.


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: Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue, Washington
Bellevue, Washington photo by Jelson25

Bellevue is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 123,771, which has grown by 13.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bellevue, 128, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Bellevue are valued at $475,200 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirteen new homes were built in Bellevue, down from one hundred sixty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Bellevue are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, transportation equipment, and construction. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 54.1% of Bellevue residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bellevue is 7.2%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Bellevue residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Bellevue is home to the Sunset Plaza and the Eastgate Plaza as well as Killarney Glen Park and Coal Creek Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hillfair Shopping Center, Lake Hills Shopping Center and Crossroads Shopping Center. Visitors to Bellevue can choose from Bedynamic Inc, Fairfield Inn Seattle-Bellevue and Bellevue Travelodge for temporary stays in the area.