By Amin S

Everything on Becoming an Air Traffic Controller

What is Air Traffic Control?
Air traffic control is a crucial part of the aviation industry. Air traffic control primarily directs multiple aircraft at once in order to keep them safe and efficiently away from all other nearby aircraft. For the whole period a plane is in the air, air traffic control maintains full contact so as provide constant instructions navigating the plane through a route that would be clear of all other aircraft.

How can I become an Air Traffic Controller?
In order for your eligibility for the training program you’d need (according to the FAA which is the Federal Aviation Authority in the USA) to have at least a Bachelor’s degree, or a combination of post-secondary education as well as work experience for three years or above. Another condition is that you must be hired before your 31st birthday so it is recommended that the program is started at 27 years at the latest. This isn’t a cut-throat age range however, if you do apply after this age you reduce the chances of being hired. If you meet all these conditions you could enrol in an ATC course and become qualified and ready to practise.


What skills should I have in order to succeed in the profession?
Air traffic controllers require good organization skills, and highly advanced numeric computations and mathematical abilities. The job is decision-making intensive, and one must have the skills to be assertive in the choices that are made. Communication is another fundamental quality that is looked for in a proficient Air Traffic Controller, clear and succinct communicative abilities are a must.

What are the work hours like?
Controllers work “on position” for a period of 90 to 120 minutes followed by a 30 minute break (for busy airports). Given the large number of planes in the air at any one time throughout the year, controllers rotate readily and their schedules and shifts are set at least a month in advance.

When can I start working and what is the pay like?
After enrolling in the course and successfully completing it, you could be working within approximately 2 years since the completion of your studies. This time frame is general and it does vary from student to student depending on many factors such as demand and market conditions.  In terms of salary, wages do vary but one could expect approximately $37,000 or more in the first year. The rise from base pay is relatively high and one could expect to reach $55,000 fairly quickly. Depending on how quickly you learn and how effectively you operate, you could expect to reach the median income of $108,000. The limiting factor to the salary category is how many areas of control you are proficient in as well as years of experience you possess. You could receive a base pay as high as $174,000 and during holidays, the pay is significantly higher.

Prime Education has a list of various Aviation Courses available for students across the world.