The median annual wage of air traffic controllers was $108,040 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,480, and the top 10 percent earned more than $165,660.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the starting salary for new controllers was $37,070 in 2010. Controllers’ salaries increase as they complete each new training phase. According to the FAA, controllers who have already completed on-the-job training had an average annual salary of $118,000 in 2010. For all air traffic controllers, including trainees, the average annual salary was $104,000 in 2010.
Most air traffic controllers work full time, and some must work additional hours. Because most control towers and route centers operate around the clock, controllers rotate shifts between day, evening, and night. Controllers also work weekend and holiday shifts.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition