In Europe, Germany has the highest volume of air traffic. Its air traffic controllers (ATCs) handle more than 10,000 or more than 3.6 million flight movements on a daily basis. This is the reason why the role of ATCs is crucial in Germany’s aviation industry.
The German government treats the air traffic control jobs as special jobs that have special requirements. One of the most important requirements is excellent command of the English language, which is the international language of the global aviation industry. English proficiency is a requirement since the air traffic controller will be working in a rather international environment.
Other general air traffic controller requirements are:
- A school-leaving certified
- Not over 24 years old
- Interest in aviation in general
- Interest to work with technology in general
- Ability to think three dimensionally
- Ability to make informed, accurate decisions
- Capability to concentrate
- Capability to retain information
- Highly conscientious
- Can work independently under pressure
- Stress resistant
- A team player
- Willingness to undergo a security check
Medically, the German government requires future air traffic control students to pass the aviation medical examination. You must have 100% visual acuity, perfect color vision and perfect hearing. If you want to enter an air traffic control school but you have a chronic illness, unfortunately, you will be disqualified on medical grounds.
Upon receiving your application, the air traffic control school representative of DFS, which is one of Germany’s aviation authorities, will give you an access to its online test. The test aims to gauge the requirements noted above. Applicants are notified of the results through writing. Only the successful applicants will proceed to Hamburg for the next steps of the selection procedure. This will be conducted for 2 to 4 consecutive days.
In Hamburg, you will be required to undergo basic simulations to test your skills. After this, you will undergo an interview with a panel consisting of psychologists and controllers. The interview aims to gauge your social skills. If you passed these, you will then be required to complete and pass the medical exam. If you passed the exam, you will be offered an air traffic controller training contract.
DFS will help you in preparing for all the tests. You will be given resource links for primers and backgrounders, so that you will know the basics of being an ATC. You will be also invited to visit a DFS branch near you. You will be ready to be a controller after 3 years of rigorous training, so be prepared. You will be issued a license after passing the unit endorsement examination.
DFS does not encourage applicants to undergo any preparatory seminars since these will be useless on the actual application procedure. What DFS advises for the applicants is to give their best shot. Applicants can only apply to become an ATC just once. Anyhow, if you are not successful, you may always apply for other courses that DFS offers.