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Air Traffic Controller Job Description

An air traffic controller is a person whose job is to coordinate and maintain the orderly flow of air traffic to prevent collisions between airplanes. Air traffic controllers manage the flow of airplanes into and out of the airspace of airports to ensure that airplanes are kept a safe distance apart.

There are two main types of air traffic controllers: tower controllers and area or en-route controllers. Tower controllers are responsible for the safe landing, departure and taxiing of aircraft at airports. Area or en-route controllers are responsible for the safe and smooth flow of traffic along airways at higher altitudes

An air traffic controller should be well organized, conscientious, safety-conscious, confident and calm, and have the ability to make quick and accurate decisions and give clear instructions. They should be able to cope with several tasks at once and maintain good concentrations for long periods.

What does an Air Traffic Controller do?

Air traffic controllers may do some or all of the following:

Working Conditions

Air traffic controllers may work shifts including early mornings, evenings, late nights and weekends. They work indoors in flight control centers or airport control towers using radar, computer or visuals to monitor airplanes.

What is Required to Become an Air Traffic Controller?

To become an air traffic controller, you will need complete an air traffic controller training course at an aviation school and pass a licensing exam. You will also be required to pass medical and background checks.


Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in an aviation school may include:

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

Air traffic controllers need to have:


Alternative Careers

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