Military

These States Pay Air Traffic Controllers the Most

Comstock / Getty Images

The job of an air traffic controller carries immense responsibility—directing take-offs, landings, and aircraft in flight requires precision, quick decisions, and grace under pressure. But along with the demanding role comes competitive pay that outpaces many other occupations. When adjusted for cost of living, some states stand out for the highest salaries for air traffic controllers. The range is wide. Read on for the top 15 states where air traffic controllers can expect the largest paychecks compared to living costs.

Using data from the BLS’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, 24/7 Wall St. identified how much air traffic controllers make in each state. States were ranked on the median annual wage for all air traffic controllers in 2022. Data on cost of living is from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and is based on regional price parity in 2022 (Most recent data).

Across all 50 states, the median annual wage for air traffic controllers ranges from about $77,580 to $169,940.

15. California

Source: Ken Levine / Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $133,640.00
  • Cost of living rank (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 50
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $116,975.09
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -12.47% less than U.S. average

14. Tennessee

Source: mgaylard / Flickr

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $138,670.00
  • Cost of living rank (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 17
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $150,045.10
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: 8.20% greater than U.S. average

13. Indiana

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $139,940.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 18
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $151,391.29
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: 8.18% greater than U.S. average

12. Utah

Utah | Monument Valley
Source: pedrosz / Flickr

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $140,230.00
  • Cost of living rank (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 10
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $150,045.10
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -12.47% less than U.S. average

11. Hawaii

Source: Art Wager / E+ via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $141,250.00
  • Cost of living rank (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 49
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $125,939.91
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -10.84% less than U.S. average

10. Kansas

Arkansas | Little Rock, Arkansas, USA skyline on the River
Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $143,830.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 11
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $158,269.09
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: 10.04% greater than U.S. average

9. Ohio

Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $146,020.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 16
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $158,504.71
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: 8.55% greater than U.S. average

8. New Jersey

Source: AUDREY SCRIPP / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $147,620.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 48
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $133,080.91
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -9.85% less than U.S. average

7. Minnesota

Source: Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $156,870.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 30
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $160,443.50
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: 2.28% greater than U.S. average

6. Texas

Texas | Houston, Texas, USA Drone Skyline Aerial Panorama
Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $157,310.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 29
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $161,223.87
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: 2.49% greater than U.S. average

5. New York

Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $159,200.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 44
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $147,102.39
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -7.60% less than U.S. average

4. Colorado

Source: milehightraveler / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $159,580.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 39
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $155,920.83
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -2.29% less than U.S. average

3. Georgia

Source: Z28scrambler / Wikimedia Commons

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $163,550.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 26
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $170,366.76
  • Cost of Living compared to U.S. average: 4.17% greater than U.S. average

2. New Hampshire

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $166,570.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 45
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $153,837.39
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -7.64% less than U.S. average

1. Virginia

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

  • Median annual salary for occupation: $169,940.00
  • Cost of living (#1 is the lowest and #50 is the highest): 37
  • Cost-of-living-adjusted median annual salary for occupation: $166,308.38
  • Cost of living compared to U.S. average: -2.14% less than U.S. average

It’s fascinating how the compensation for air traffic controllers can vary so widely from state to state, painting a vivid picture of each state’s economic landscape.  For those intrigued by the nuances of state-specific knowledge, deep your exploration with this jeopardy quiz: Think you know the states.

Sponsored: Want to Retire Early? Here’s a Great First Step

Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances?

Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.

Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.