AWP Safety Corporate Office

Career Paths in Traffic Control – No Degree Required

Team AWP, May 13, 2024

Getting a four-year college degree is not for everyone, whether because of personal preferences or rising tuition costs. The good news is that a post-secondary degree isn’t always needed to build a successful career. Working in traffic control offers rewarding career paths for people who are safety-minded and have a natural tendency to take responsibility for protecting others.


Career Paths in Traffic Control

Throughout North America, traffic control experts help protect the people who build utility, broadband and roadway infrastructure. A career in traffic control typically begins with an entry-level position responsible for worksite set up and worker protection, and can advance to managerial roles that are responsible for dozens of direct reports and the operational performance of their teams. Here is an example of one such career path.

Protector: This role involves basic worksite setup and managing traffic flow for safety in active worksites. It is perfect for those who like changing environments, are passionate about working outdoors and independently, and are reliable and hard-working.

Lead Protector: Individuals in this role are responsible for overseeing active worksites. The role comes with higher pay and more responsibility — including driving a company truck and managing work assignments. This role is ideal for someone who values independence, control over their work and schedule, and a variety of daily responsibilities.

Speciality roles requiring certification: These roles require advanced training and certification, often paid for by the employer. (AWP Safety funds a variety of certifications for protectors interested in a specialty role.) An advanced role may introduce opportunities to work more closely with technology and earn a significant income early in one’s career. Depending on the region or industry, individuals may pursue roles like:

  • Traffic Control Technician (TCT) – Beyond traditional flagger duties, a TCT is certified to manage the proper setup and removal of worksites. They’re also responsible for proper maintenance of traffic control devices.
  • Traffic Control Supervisor (TCS)– This role adds the implementation of strategic traffic control plans to the individual’s responsibilities. A TCS manages a worksite’s safety from start to finish including the design, setup, maintenance and removal of traffic control equipment.
  • DOT-specific roles: Individuals working specifically with Departments of Transportation (DOTs) require additional training related to worksite setups on major highways. Training and certification requirements vary state to state.

Supervisory and management roles: With experience, there are opportunities to move into supervisory roles—from field supervisors and facility managers who have very local responsibilities to area managers that are responsible for the activities of an entire region. Field and facility managers oversee daily work with customers; area managers focus on ensuring safety compliance, improving operational efficiency and managing budgets.

Administrative and support roles: For those interested in office-based jobs, roles such as field administrator, planner and dispatcher are an ideal next step in the traffic control career journey. These roles help facility managers coordinate daily work and ensure customer needs are met from a central office location.


Robert Sanchez: Protector to Area Manager

Robert Sanchez, an area manager at AWP Safety, notes that AWP Safety supports its people by providing the training and resources needed to pursue a successful career. When asked about the best part of working at AWP Safety, Robert responds with a single word: people.

 Robert Sanchez

Ten years ago, I was hired as a protector and now I’m the area manager for all of Southern Arizona, leading a team of 120 people. It’s a very proud feeling, and just one example of what you can do with AWP Safety’s support.
Every day, we make a difference together in the world by working safely and taking that safety home with us to our families.


Commitement to Employees

Over the last three years, AWP Safety has grown both organically and through its acquisition of other safety-minded companies. Alongside that growth, the team has worked to make the company a place where people can stay and grow.

“We don’t want people to see this as a filler job,” explains Michael Shearer, chief human resources officer at AWP Safety. “We want people to say, ‘I could start off in an entry-level role, and within a year go to a lead,’” he adds.

As AWP Safety has expanded, Shearer and his team have advanced company benefits, including more attractive pay and paid time-off, to attract new team members and retain many of the best traffic control experts in North America.

“We feel a great responsibility to provide people the right pay, affordable benefits, and paid time off so they can take a vacation or watch their child play baseball,” Shearer says.

The culture at AWP Safety means people get to be part of a trusted team, embark on a clear career path, work with strong values and be guided by a pioneering vision and on-the-job training. Company leaders also ensure everyone feels included and valued. “We get great feedback from our people that their voice is always heard and valued – whether they’ve been here for a day or for 30 years,” Shearer says.

AWP was recognized as one of Newsweek’s America’s Greatest Workplaces 2023 for Diversity for its high marks in the areas of corporate culture, working environment and reputation for diversity.


If you are interested in building a career at AWP Safety, visit our Careers page to learn more and search for open positions.


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