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How To Become An Air Traffic Controller In 7 Steps

An air traffic controller is someone who gives instructions to pilots such as emergency protocol, takeoffs, landings, spacing between aircraft in the airspace, etc.

John Harrison
John Harrison
Dec 05, 2023166 Shares11K Views
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  1. What Are The Different Types Of Air Traffic Controllers?
  2. How To Become An Air Traffic Controller In 7 Steps
  3. What Is The Average Salary Of An Air Traffic Controller?
  4. How Long Does It Take To Become An Air Traffic Controller?
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
How To Become An Air Traffic Controller In 7 Steps

The air traffic controller has the responsibility to control all traffic on the airport taxiways and runways, and they also provide instructions to pilots. The air traffic controller also informs the pilots about the weather, critical information, runway closures, etc. They provide instructions such as Providing essential information to pilots, Following emergency protocol, takeoffs, landing and spacing between aircraft in the airspace, etc. Using radar, radio communication, and computer systems, controllers provide instructions to pilots to maintain a safe distance between aircraft and prevent collisions.

What Are The Different Types Of Air Traffic Controllers?

There are three types of Air Traffic Controllers: tower control, approach radar control, and area radar control.

Tower Control

The tower controller is the one who is responsible for the movement of the aircraft on and around the airport's runways and taxiways. Tower controllers always ensure the safe departure or arrival and it provides instructions to the pilot while landing or takeoff. They use radar, radio communication, and visual observation; they coordinate ground movements, manage aircraft queues for takeoff and landing, and prevent conflicts between planes. The tower controller always plays an important role because it is during takeoff or landing they ensure safety.

Approach Radar Control

Airport Radar Control is about managing planes that are coming in and going out within a specific airspace. Trained air traffic controllers use radar to watch and direct planes during important parts of the flight, like taking off and landing. They tell pilots how to keep a safe distance from other planes, when to change their altitude and the order for landing or takeoff. Radar controllers work together with en-route controllers and tower controllers to make sure everything goes smoothly. Their skills in managing airspace and helping planes move efficiently help keep air travel safe and effective within the airport's terminal area.

Radar Control

Many controllers are also working on radar, but this one is one of the biggest ranges. This controller operates from a control center and manages aircraft in en-route airspace between airports. The controllers use the advanced radar communication system and also they use computer technology to provide instructions to pilots for safe and efficient spacing between flights. The radar controller is responsible for the orderly flow of air traffic, route adjustments, managing altitude changes, and Transfer between different control sectors.

How To Become An Air Traffic Controller In 7 Steps

1. Get education

If you want to become an air traffic controller, you should have a minimum bachelor's degree or 3 to 4 years diploma from any high school. Also, you must have a good experience of at least two to three years as this job is more complicated so you must have experience. The competition in this field is quite high, so you must have good experience, and at least a bachelor's degree will give you a lot of advantages.

2. Complete Relevant Air Traffic Controller Training

It's really important to finish air traffic controller training if you want to get good at safely guiding planes. This training teaches you everything from how to use radar and talk properly to what to do in an emergency and the rules about airspace. You have to go through tough simulations and real-life situations so you can make better decisions. If you manage to finish the training, it means you're good at dealing with all sorts of problems in air traffic management, which helps keep planes safe and efficient.

3. Gain experience

After completing training and studies, individuals are assigned as developmental controllers, and here they will get more experience to get an advanced position. In this field, they provide flight and airport information to the pilot. However, they will get experience by doing this job and become eligible for higher positions.

4. Obtain a certification

Having a certificate is important, and you can get certified by passing an exam or knowledge test, and you must meet experience requirements. However, you must need 2 to 4 years to complete your study and gain experience. Then, you will be able or eligible for certification.

5. Research Air Traffic Controller Duties

It's very important to research air traffic controller responsibilities and duties because it will help you to gain more experience or knowledge. There are several responsibilities, such as:

  • Assign as SME for the Milstar AFCPT maintenance course
  • manage the flow of aircraft
  • out of the airport airspace
  • guide pilots during takeoff and landing
  • Assist in the creation of several (NOTAMS) notices to airmen.
  • safety alerts regarding terrain
  • Obstructions
  • Prepare Your Air Traffic Controller Resume

When you complete your training, and you have a good degree and you have good experience, then go and prepare a good resume for yourself. Because experience is most important in this field, if you have good and strong experience, then prepare a good resume and apply for jobs in different places. The first and most important thing to get a job is to prepare your resume well And mention your experience and skills in your resume so that the hiring manager can call you back.

6. Apply For Air Traffic Controller Jobs

Always apply to various places to increase your chances of getting a job because when you apply for jobs in different places, if any company calls you back for an interview, then it will be better for you. Always research for jobs, as jobs are not always available online, so keep checking both online and offline.

What Is The Average Salary Of An Air Traffic Controller?

The average salary of an air traffic controller is around $50,000 to $56,049 per year in the US, but the average salary is not the same everywhere. However, location and experience have an important role because, in every state or country, the average salary of the air traffic controller is different.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Air Traffic Controller?

FFA Academy takes about 2 to 5 months to complete its course, but it still depends on your experience. But the second most important thing is that it will take you at least 4 years to get technically certified. But there is no certainty in this field because it depends on your experience; many people get fully certified in 4 years, some people take 5 years, and some people take around 5 to 8 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do air traffic controllers work long hours?

The air traffic controller has several facilities, and they work 24 hours per day and do more than 40 hours of work per week. However, they are under federal regulations, so air traffic controllers have to work 10-hour shifts.

What qualities should an air traffic controller have?

The air traffic controller must have several qualities such as Resilience, hard work, Communication skills, concise instructions, careful listening to pilots, Math skills, Problem-solving skills, etc.

Final Thoughts

An air traffic controller is someone who gives instructions to pilots such as emergency protocol, takeoffs, landings, spacing between aircraft in the airspace, etc. There is a lot of competition within the field of air traffic controllers, and to get a job in this field, you must have a bachelor's degree or a highschool diploma of two or four years. Just having a degree is not enough to become an air traffic controller because, along with the degree, you must have about 3 to 4 years of experience so that you can easily get a job somewhere. If you have both experience and a degree, search for jobs and apply for them.

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