How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

by Shenron on February 1, 2010

Being an air traffic controller is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. But, in addition to being one of the most difficult, it pays off really well for those that are willing to put in the time to rise through the ranks to senior positions. Because the job is so stressful and there is a lot of pressure with keeping people safe, air traffic controllers have a lot of responsibility. They must make sure that aircraft are doing what they’re supposed to in the air in busy airports to ensure no planes collide. If you’re up to the challenge and still want to find out what it takes to become an aircraft controller, keep reading.

Become Air Traffic Controller How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

1. There are a lot of requirements for the job that you must meet before you’ll even be considered. First off, you must be a United States citizen. Because air traffic controllers are controlled under the FAA, a government organization, they require you to be a citizen of the country. And, after you’ve got that under your belt, you’ll want to be under the age of thirty one as well. While the FAA doesn’t doubt the ability of older individuals, people that are younger tend to have better reaction times and can respond to situations much better than someone of age. More prerequisites include having to complete a medical exam that includes a drug test, and a background check to make sure you’re not trying to infiltrate the country.

2. Now that you have the easy stuff out of the way, it’s time for the inevitable training. To be an air traffic controller the FAA requires you have some form of college degree or at least a few years of work experience before you take something like this on. If you haven’t worked before or don’t have a degree, don’t expect to get hired. The training starts independently, meaning you have to take the initiative to prepare yourself for the test (more on that later). You will want to enroll in a course that prepares you for the AT-SAT (Air Traffic Selection and Training). There are courses offered at many local airports that offer flight schools as well as at FAA approved community colleges in your area.

Air Traffic Controller How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

3. When you think you’ve retained enough information about traffic controlling, you can head out to take the FAA pre employment exam. They require you to pass the exam with at least a 70 percent or better. If you don’t pass the exam the first time around, you’re free to take the exam as many times as you want until you succeed.

Once you’ve made it through all of that, the prescreenings and exams, you’re ready to apply for a job. The final part of applying for the job is the same as every other job in history. You’ll have to submit a resume to the airport you’re thinking of working at and the FAA and airport will take it from there. You may have to do some more background checks and applications, but once you’ve made it past the test, you’re home free.

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