Don’t Have a Bachelor’s? You Can Still Earn 6 Figures as an Air Traffic Controller
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
What is the best-paid US occupation that only requires an associate’s degree? Air traffic controller, according to the latest data from the US Department of Labor.
“Median annual wages of air-traffic controllers are the highest of any occupation in which workers typically do not need a bachelor’s degree,” said Rachel Gillett of Business Insider. The 2016 median salary was $122,410, with no prior relevant work experience required, since on-the-job training is a long-term, ongoing commitment.
With 7,500 projected job openings through 2024, you might be tempted to quit your day job and switch careers. But air traffic control isn’t just a cushy paycheck: From application to retirement, the high-intensity job takes grit, determination and resilience. The application process is open only once a year, can take months, and is available only to English-speaking US citizens 31 years of age or younger who have either a bachelor’s degree or three years of prior work experience (or some combination of the two).
Successful applicants can expect months of ongoing training and evaluations, with 25-40% of hopeful ATCs washing out early on. In fact, the certification process has been compared in intensity to earning a graduate degree.
If all of that has killed your fantasy of making six figures a year, don’t fret: Check out the other 24 job occupations on the “best-paid” list. Of noteworthy interest for #AvGeeks? Commercial pilots rank No. 10 on the list, with a median salary of $77,200, while aerospace engineering and operations technicians rank No. 25, with a median salary of $68,020.
Featured image by Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!