Congratulations on your decision to start your career as an air traffic controller! This site will guide you in your goal to become one.
You wouldn’t be here if you do not have any interest in learning how to become an air traffic controller (ATC). Perhaps, you are already into air traffic control school hunting. Before you embark on your journey further, you might as well understand what an ATC is and what he or she does.
Country specific requirements to become an Air Traffic Controller
ATC requirements vary from country to country based on their aviation departments. Please select your country below to read application processes both online and offline and others air traffic controller requirements so you can quickly get started.
Air Traffic Controller Job Description
Generally, an ATC manages all aspects of an aircraft’s flight. The priority of the ATC is the safety of the aircraft and its passengers other than ensuring that the departures and arrivals are on the dot. Controllers are also required to monitor the en-route phase of any aircraft with the use of radar in tracking the exact position of such.
To do these, air traffic controllers are required to use surveillance and navigation tools in communicating with the pilot through the radio to provide the most effective route, for instance. With radio or radar contact, an ATC can also direct the aircraft’s movement and instruct the aircraft pilot of either descending or climbing then allocate final cruise level.
Apart from ensuring that an aircraft lands and takes off safely, an air traffic control specialist is also responsible for maintaining and preparing the control tower or control centers for emergencies. Other duties of an ATC are to handle unexpected events like unscheduled traffic while ensuring the maintenance of minimum distances between aircrafts.
Air Traffic Controller Responsibilities
If you are serious at knowing how to become an air traffic controller, then you must know that it will be your responsibility to ensure that aircrafts are flying safely apart from one another. The minimum distance is 1,000 feet or 304.8 meters vertically. This is actually 9.26 kilometers or 5 nautical miles laterally.
Specifically though, ATCs’ responsibilities are further divided depending on the air traffic controller training that the ATC undergone. For some, there are just two types of ATCs namely tower controller and area controller. The former ensures safe landing and departure and guides taxiing of the aircraft while at the airport. The latter ensures the smooth and safe airway traffic flow of aircrafts on higher altitudes.
There are also approach controllers and aerodrome controllers. An approach controller typically deals with the landing systems and they are responsible for:
- Allowing aircrafts to land automatically, and
- Ensuring that aircrafts are properly placed on hold when the airport is busy.
An aerodrome controller, however, guides the aircraft pilot in landing to its appropriate parking stand. Aerodrome controllers can be an air controller or a ground controller and their duties are to:
- Control aircraft movements on and off the airport runways,
- Handle ground movements of aircrafts when at the terminal, and
- Handle ground movements of vehicles on the airport.
Sometimes, you might be working alone, but most of the times, you will be working with 2 or more ATCs. All of you must be working together to achieve the common goal of ensuring that any aircraft flies in the smoothest and safest possible manner. Maximum punctuality is critical.
Evidently, being an ATC requires a higher responsibility and professionalism levels that can only be achieved with the right air traffic controller training and skills. If you are just in it for the air traffic controller salary since even Forbes agree that it is one of the highest paying jobs today, you might as well think twice. You need to be passionate about what you do and being an ATC is not an exemption.