Median Salary: $87,360.00
Change in Salary (2008–2014): +26%
Total Employees: 5,100
Change in Employees (2008–2014): +28%
After years of growing salaries but little job growth, this is the first year that the number of Air Traffic Controllers has been high enough (more than 5,000 total) to make our main Best Jobs ranking. Having topped our Niche Jobs Ranking in prior years, it makes a strong entrance in this year’s ranking at #3. It can be a pressure-cooker of a job, but if you’ve got the nerves for it you can be well-compensated.
How to qualify: In Canada, a post-secondary degree isn’t necessary to complete the NAV Canada training course, at one of seven locations across Canada. The qualification comes in two parts: a classroom and simulation phase of up to six months, and then six to 12 months of on-the-job training.
Money: Students are paid for their on-the-job training, making the equivalent of about $38,000 per year. Post-certification starting salaries are around $66,000, with higher salaries for those working in bigger, busier airports.
Opportunity: Since all of Canada’s airspace is monitored and controlled by one non-profit corporation, NAV Canada, there is really only one employer, so be prepared to climb the ranks if you make it in. And with just over 5,000 employees across the country, this is still a very small and selective field.