Air Traffic Controller Degree Programs and Schools

Earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in air traffic control can prepare you for a career in this field. Read on to learn about schools that offer training programs for aspiring air traffic controllers. Find out more about what you'll learn while in school, and review the additional requirements for employment. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

There are many air traffic controller degree programs that are approved by the FAA. These programs exist at the associate's and bachelor's degree level, and provide you with a leg up for this career. Before you can work as an air traffic controller, you must successfully finish a separate training program designed by the FAA, but completing a degree program may allow you to skip some of this training.

Degrees Associate's degree in air traffic control or a bachelor's degree in air traffic management
Courses Fundamentals of air traffic control, control tower operation, aviation, aerodynamics, meteorology, aviation history, industry regulations and airline operations
Training FAA training is required regardless of your degree

What Should I Look For in an Educational Program?

You may want to look for schools that participate in the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These programs are tailored to meet the specific educational requirements set forth by the FAA. According to the FAA, completing a program at one of these schools may allow you to skip the first five weeks of mandatory air traffic controller training (www.faa.gov).

Where Can I Find an Air Traffic Controller School?

As of June 2018, 37 universities, community colleges, technical schools and aeronautical schools around the country and Puerto Rico offer FAA-approved air traffic management programs. Some of these schools include:

  • Hampton University
  • Broward College
  • Miami Dade College
  • Lewis University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

What Degrees Can I Earn?

You might pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Air Traffic Control or a Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Management. While core courses are similar in both program types, bachelor's programs tend to include more general education requirements - courses such as calculus, physics and English composition - than do associate's programs. Some air traffic degree programs include courses that can be completed online, but those are rare.

What Will I Study?

In addition to the fundamentals of air traffic control and control tower operation, you'll learn the basics of aviation, aerodynamics and meteorology. You'll also study topics such as:

  • Aviation history
  • Aviation regulations
  • Airline operations
  • Flight safety
  • Radar operations
  • Airline management

Most schools have flight and control tower computer simulation labs in which you can gain hands-on experience.

Is a Degree All I Need for Employment?

Although a degree from an FAA-approved program is useful, it does not guarantee employment as an air traffic controller, nor is an air traffic control degree required. Employment requirements include proof of U.S. citizenship, a physical exam, a background check and a pre-employment test; in most cases, applicants need to be under 31 years of age. You'll also need at least three years of work experience or a bachelor's degree.

Before official employment, you'll complete an FAA training program that can take up to 12 weeks. This training period may be shortened to seven weeks if you have a degree in air traffic control. Regardless of whether you have a degree or not, you'll receive training through the FAA in either en-route or terminal air traffic control. En-route controllers provide route guidance for pilots during flight; terminal controllers monitor incoming and outgoing flights at a particular airport.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Alaska

    Campus Locations:

    • Alaska: Anchorage
  • University of Alaska Anchorage

    Campus Locations:

    • Alaska: Anchorage
  • Tulsa Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Tulsa
  • Sinclair Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Dayton
  • Schenectady County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Schenectady
  • Sacramento City College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Sacramento
  • University of North Dakota

    Campus Locations:

    • North Dakota: Grand Forks
  • Palo Alto College

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: San Antonio