How To Land Your Dream Job As Air Traffic Controller

You have a passion for aviation, an eye for detail, and a desire to help guide aircraft through busy skies. Maybe you’re the type who loves to stay up all night studying charts and maps. Or maybe you’re more of a hands-on learner, who adores learning through experience rather than textbooks. 

No matter what your background or learning style is, becoming an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) is made possible by hard work and dedication. But before taking off on this rewarding career path, there are several things that you need to know – including how to land your dream job as an air traffic controller.

Here are some tips:

Become an Air Traffic Controller Salary, Jobs, Education
A career as an air traffic controller requires precision, quick thinking, and excellent communication skills.
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aviation or a related field is typically required to become an air traffic controller.
Strong spatial awareness, concentration, and the ability to work well under pressure are essential skills for this profession.
The training process to become an air traffic controller can take several months to several years.
Medical examinations and meeting specific health and vision standards are part of the requirements for this career.

Network With Current Air Traffic Controllers

If you’re looking to land a job as an air traffic controller, networking is the best way to get there. Networking is all about getting to know people and what they do, finding out how you can help them, and asking them questions that will give you an idea of whether or not they’d be a good fit for your dream job.

First things first: network with current air traffic controllers. Get to know your colleagues and find out what they like about working as an air traffic controller and what they don’t like about it. Ask them about their day-to-day tasks, the hardest parts of the job, and what type of person would be great in this role (hint: someone who loves talking on the radio).

Being an air traffic controller requires precision, quick thinking, and excellent communication skills. If you’re passionate about aviation and dream of guiding planes through the skies, our comprehensive guide on landing your dream job as an air traffic controller will provide you with valuable insights and strategies to pursue this exciting career.

Be Top Of Your Class

It’s pretty obvious, but if you want to be an air traffic controller, being the best student in your class is key. If you’re not doing well in school, give extra attention to what you learn and practice! You can also take classes that expand on the subject matter of your main coursework or even take classes at night or online. 

A degree isn’t necessary for this career path, though it does help! It will show employers that you have a strong interest in the field and that you took time out of your schedule to pursue this passion further by earning a degree from an accredited university.

Gain Relevant Experience

If you’re a student and have the chance to choose your own classes, take courses that relate to your dream job in aviation. If you’re an adult and don’t have that kind of flexibility in your schedule (or if it’s too late for that), look for other ways to get involved with aviation. 

You could volunteer at an airport or flight school as part of a community service initiative; you could sign up for an online course on air traffic control offered by the Federal Aviation Administration, or you could talk with friends who are pilots about their experiences. 

You can also read books about aviation career paths or watch videos about specific jobs within that field, such as air traffic controller training videos from Job trainers.

You can even do a project related to what interests you most about aviation by speaking with someone who works in the industry and learning more about how they got into their position and what they enjoy most about their job.”

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Have The Right Call Sign

The call sign is short for your name, but it’s also used to identify you and your facility. In the air traffic control world, it’s also called “radio identification.” Your call sign can be a letter or number assigned to you by the FAA, or it can be one of many FAA-approved nicknames that you’ve earned over time (for example The Lone Wolf).

Call signs are usually three letters long, but they can range from one to five characters long depending on the facility and position. For example:

Tower – Three letters plus one additional character for aircraft type identification (e.g., C05). This means if there are multiple towers at an airport, each tower will have its own unique combination of letters and numbers in order to differentiate between them while they’re talking on the radio. 

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Be Aware Of Tsa Regulations

Here is a quick guide to staying on the right side of the law:

Air traffic controllers are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system. If you’re coming from work and know you’ll be driving, try not to drink at all during the day, or at least stay below .02% blood alcohol level.

You may be required to undergo drug testing if you are selected for an interview or if you are hired as an air traffic controller. Drugs can cause issues for this job.

Know The Benefits Of Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

As an Air Traffic Controller, you can expect:

  • A competitive salary. The average annual salary for an Air Traffic Controller is $128,880, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Excellent benefits. Air traffic controllers have access to many types of health insurance plans as well as retirement savings plans.
  • Training and advancement opportunities. There are many training programs available that will help you advance your career in air traffic control and help meet your professional development needs while earning certifications or degrees beyond high school.

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Use The Right Training Program

You can’t just jump into a new career without the proper training. It’s like trying to build a house without any tools or materials. You have to have the right tools for the job, or else you’re going to be in for a rough time.

When it comes to being an air traffic controller (ATC), there are lots of different options out there when it comes to getting your training done. Some programs are better than others, and some are more expensive than others. So how do you know which program is right for you? What kind of training will help make sure that this dream becomes reality?

Well, first of all: don’t go cheap on yourself! This is something serious and important and if you want the best shot at success possible then we recommend going with one of our top recommendations below:

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If you’re ready to build a career as an Air Traffic Controller, then now is the time to start. This career is one that will continue to be in high demand for many years to come, so take advantage of it while you still can!

Further Reading How to Become an Air Traffic Controller: This article provides detailed information on the steps and requirements to become an air traffic controller, including education, training, and certification.

Indeed: How to Become an Air Traffic Controller: Discover insights and practical advice on pursuing a career as an air traffic controller, including educational paths, required skills, and job prospects.

Art of Manliness: So You Want My Job: Air Traffic Controller: This interview-style article provides an inside look into the life and challenges of an air traffic controller, offering personal experiences and tips for aspiring professionals.


What are the educational requirements to become an air traffic controller?

To become an air traffic controller, you typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in aviation, air traffic management, or a related field. Some programs offer specific air traffic control degrees or concentrations.

Is there any age requirement for becoming an air traffic controller?

While the specific age requirements may vary by country or jurisdiction, most air traffic control positions have a minimum age requirement of 18 or 21 years.

What skills are important for an air traffic controller?

Air traffic controllers need strong communication skills, the ability to make quick decisions, excellent concentration and attention to detail, and the capability to work well under pressure. They should also have good spatial awareness and be proficient in using technology and radar systems.

How long does it take to complete the training to become an air traffic controller?

The training to become an air traffic controller typically takes several months to several years, depending on the country and the specific training program. It includes classroom instruction, simulated exercises, and on-the-job training.

Are there any specific medical requirements to become an air traffic controller?

Yes, air traffic controllers usually undergo thorough medical examinations to ensure they meet the required health and vision standards. Specific medical requirements may vary by country or regulatory authority.