After acquiring your air traffic controller (ATC) certification, the next best thing is to apply for an ATC job. Be reminded that an ATC has several responsibilities although this will generally depend on your specific role which means that this job, no matter how rewarding and financially fulfilling it may be, is not for everybody. Here are some ways on how you can look for air traffic controller jobs.
1) Plan ahead
You must be eligible before you can apply for any ATC job. Eligibility requirements depend on the institution that you are going to apply to. For instance, if you want to work in the military, you should complete a 4-year undergraduate stud and possess a 3-year experience in working in a real air traffic control environment. With this, you must check the requirements first before even applying on any air traffic control school, so that you’ll know what or which prerequisites to target.
2) Complete an ATC program
You need to enroll in an air traffic controller training. If you are in the US, the ATC education program must be approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The FAA partners with several traditional as well as technical college institutions and universities to provide AT-CTI or the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. The FAA offers initial training for terminal and en route options for about 37 and 62 days, respectively. There are education requirements exceptions that the FAA applies based on previous ATC experience.
3) Visit the FAA website
Armed with your training and experience, your first stop in looking for air traffic controller jobs is the FAA itself. The FAA has more than 350 locations in the US which means it constantly hires air traffic controllers. All the ATC jobs available are listed on the site. You may also fill out your application form online through the website if you want to apply as an ATC in a particular state or city. Be reminded that the FAA has an age restriction. You must be below 31 years old when you apply for the first time as an ATC.
Based on the FAA website, applicants for training can actually combine study and experience in meeting the eligibility requirements. Apart from the citizenship and age requirement, the applicant must pass the annual physical exams and job aptitude tests. Basically, you must be able to speak English correctly and clearly, so that you will be understood when using the communication equipments. English is the international language of ATC.
Don’t bother applying to any air traffic control school if you have criminal records especially if you’ve spent a time in jail. A criminal background check will be conducted in addition to drug screening. You will not be eligible if you possess several traffic tickets.
Further, training will be continuous which means that you may continue training while you are already working as an ATC. The training includes a 3-month course, but it may continue to up to 2 to 4 years. This will depend on your chosen ATC specialty. This might also depend on the facility that the FAA assigned you initially.