How to Become an Air Traffic Controller: All You Need to Know

You may be interested in the aviation industry and conceive that you can close contact with the aircraft every day. Becoming an air traffic controller can suit you well. How to make it come true? Here is all information for you to begin with. Before you choose your career as an air traffic controller, you need to think it over. Below are some important steps for you to consider.

Step 1: Understand Air Traffic Controller descriptions and responsibilities.

Air traffic controllers regulate air traffic either within an airport's airspace or air traffic between airports. They coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between them.

They works out of control towers, approach control facilities or route centers to ensure the safety of aircrafts and give aircraft clearances to take off or land safely. They bear heavy responsibilities because their ultimate responsibility is to keep aircrafts, flight crews and airline passengers safe.

They are in charge of monitoring and directing the movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air, controlling all ground traffic at airport runways and taxiways and assisting pilots to land.

Step 2: Think before you do: whether is it worth to be an air traffic controller

Air traffic controllers can have great job satisfaction because the work they do is essential and be respected by industry, family, and friends. Controllers have the satisfaction of knowing that their work protects lives and makes air traffic more efficient. What's more, air traffic controllers get decent pay and retire early. They can also enjoy some free transportation.

Though pros seem attractive, cons are also apparent. Before making decisions you should also deliberate on cons.

The work of an air traffic controller is often exhausting and stressful; you will likely have more lives in your hands in a day than a doctor has in their whole life time. And air traffic controllers shift work frequently. It is competitive to be selected as an air traffic controller and the chance is slim.

When choosing a career, you must consider pros and cons. If you think pros outweigh cons, it is sensible to take it.

Step 3: Research Best colleges and universities for air traffic controller

1. Lewis University: Lewis University offers 4 Air Traffic Controller Degree programs. It's a medium sized private university in a large area.

2. University of North Dakota: University of North Dakota offers 2 Air Traffic Controller Degree programs. It's a large public university in a small city.

3. Letourneau University: Letourneau University offers 2 Air Traffic Controller Degree programs. It's a small private university in a small city.

4. Hampton University

5. Green River College

6. Kansas State University

7. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach

8. Mt San Antonio College

9. Community College of Beaver County

10. Texas State Technical College

11. Sacramento City College

12. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott

13. Community College of Baltimore County

14. Tulsa Community College

15. Aims Community College

16. University of Alaska Anchorage

17. Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus

18. Salt Lake Community College

19. Sinclair Community College

20. Middle Georgia State University

Step 4: Go through College

There are three ways to become an air traffic controller with the FAA. The first option is to gain military experience as an air traffic controller. The second is to complete an aviation degree at a college or university through the FAA's Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. The final option is to complete either three years of progressively responsible job experience, a bachelor's degree or a combination of the two.

And before you go to college, here are some details you need to evaluate. You must be under the age of 31 when the FAA offers you a job as a controller, meaning you should enroll in a degree program no later than age 26. You also have to pass a strict medical exam and clear a security and background investigation before you are eligible.

You need to sit for the FAA's pre-employment exam during the last semester of your senior year or upon graduation. Many classes focus on the administration aspect of being an air traffic controller. Such classes include economics, business management, financial management, statistics and calculus. Your compulsory courses such as air traffic control and aviation management teach you about weather, transport regulations, safety, airport planning and operations.

While a bachelor's degree is sufficient if you want to work as an air traffic controller, a graduate degree can help you become an air traffic control specialist. So you can consider pursuing postgraduate studies after obtaining bachelor's degree.

Step 5: Internship Opportunity

As air traffic control is a practical field, air traffic controllers pay more attention to experience. More work experience is even necessary to substitute for less postsecondary education.

Internship period is pretty valuable. Internships may feature lower pay and fewer hours, but they are a great way to earn applicable air traffic control experience. Internship is the underpinning for an undergraduate to find a job.

There are many chances provided by prestigious companies. For example, The FAA Volunteer Service Program provides an opportunity for college, high school, technical or vocational students to experience the world of aviation in educationally relevant work assignments through a positive working, learning, and developmental experience. This is unpaid, but the reward is priceless.

During your internship, you will be surprised to see that you are not only more mature to being human. Stepping out of the college's ivory tower, you can learn many professional skills and get access to new horizons. Your world can be broadened.

Step 6: Prepare relevant skills for air traffic controller

1. Communication skills

Air traffic controllers must be able to give clear, concise instructions, listen carefully to pilots' requests, and respond by speaking clearly in English. Communication skills are vital and indispensable.

2. Concentration skills

When multiple conversations occur at once, controllers must be able to concentrate in a room. For example, in a large airport tower, several controllers may be speaking with several pilots at the same time.

3. Decision-making skills

Making quick decisions is essential in controllers' daily work. For example, when a pilot requests a change of altitude to avoid poor weather, the controller must respond quickly so that the plane can operate safely.

Step 7: Find relevant air traffic controller jobs, and apply it.

Before you begin applying for jobs, you need to hold credentials. There are many approaches to find job opportunities. For example, The Federal Aviation Administration offers employment opportunities for individuals with previous air traffic control experience, as well as entry-level trainee air traffic control specialists. You can go for their websites for more details.

Preparing a detailed resume is very vital. Be sure to include any accomplishments you received in school, related experience or volunteer work you have done in your community in your resume. You should also practice interviewing so that you are prepared to answer any questions about your experience or knowledge about air traffic control.

When seeking a job, evaluating the quality of companies is a necessary step. Some agencies will give you many chances to promote yourself if you get the offer. Some workplaces will give new employees a set amount of time to accumulate experience.

Important Tools for a successful air traffic controller

Some of the most important tools for a successful air traffic controller include headset, nametag, chair, binoculars, and radar screen and so on.

Develop your career path

Competition for air traffic controller jobs is expected to be very strong, with many people applying for a relatively small number of jobs. Therefore, those with military experience as an air traffic controller may have an advantage.

People who have a master's degree can be promoted to the statue of director.

What does an Air Traffic Controller do?

People's Opinions on Air Traffic Controller responsibilities

Air traffic controllers must have certain qualities; excellent problem solving, communication and decision-making skills, as well as multi-tasking skills.

10/15/2020: Bakersfield, CA

Because of the serious nature of this work and zero margin for error, the training regimen and proficiencies needed to become an air traffic control specialist, are demanding.

10/2/2020: Bloomington, IN

Air Traffic Controllers are the individuals who are in charge of ensuring all landing, taking off and traffic movement inside an airport are performed safely and smoothly.

9/19/2020: Washington, DC

They use technology that allows them to see all air traffic in a given area, and it is their responsibility to coordinate that traffic to ensure each flight takes off, lands, or passes through safely.

9/3/2020: San Jose, CA

Air Traffic Controllers are individuals who go through the Air Traffic Control Training program and are deemed skilled enough to advance into the Air Traffic Controller position.

8/4/2020: Bakersfield, CA
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What skills do you need to be an Air Traffic Controller?

People's Opinions on Air Traffic Controller skills

Air traffic controllers must be able to effectively perform different duties for different airplanes at the same time, and they must be able to do so without compromising the quality of their work.

10/25/2020: Medford, OR

Prior to receiving official training as an air traffic controller, you are required to have some sort of formal education or employment experience.

9/26/2020: Hoboken, NJ

Under a series of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiatives, air traffic control experts are currently designing more direct routes to reduce delays, reduce emissions, save fuel, and improve safety.

9/14/2020: Montpelier, VT

An Air Traffic Controller has to be adaptable to the dynamic situations that arise on day to day basis at the work.

9/1/2020: Virginia Beach, VA

To become An Air Traffic Controller, you will usually need 1 to 2 years of training which includes both on-the-job experience and training with experienced workers.

8/13/2020: Flint, MI
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