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Becoming An Air Traffic Controller  
User currently offlineAguilo From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3679 times:

Anyone know what is involved in becoming an ATC controller? Are there any educational requirements as far as degrees are concerned? Who does the training - FAA or private "flight schools" that prep you for a test?

Also, is the training of a controller in the tower different from the controller at "Departure" as it is called - i.e. at "Boston, Cleveland etc Center"

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAS737900 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 3658 times:

One way to become an ATC controller is to start with a good training program. The program at the University of Alaska Anchorage is an FAA designated programming and provides an Associate's Degree in ATC. The ATC program page can be viewed here

User currently offlineAguilo From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3624 times:

thanks for the link! I can't believe though that the FAA has a max age of 30 though for ATC Controllers - this doesn't make much sense..

User currently offlineATM From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3597 times:

There are a couple different ways of becoming an Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS):

Join the military (four of the controllers who work for me came from the military)

Take a college program. This may be the future for the FAA.

Apply for a ATCS position when the FAA is hiring. If hired, the FAA will train you from scratch.

The max hiring age is actually 32. This is a federal law which has to do with controller retirement system.

Hope this helps.

Don


User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21558 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3594 times:

Not much difference between Centers and Approach/Departures. They all work in dark rooms looking at radar scopes. That's one thing that turned me off to ATC. I think I'd go crazy looking at that little line going around and around for hours on end. Tower and Ground I might like though, since you actually get an outside view.


7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4753 posts, RR: 26
Reply 5, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 3559 times:

I have worked in both the radar dark room and the tower. I much prefer the latter thank you!  Smile

Working in the radar room, the additional challenge would be the be able to visualise a 3-dimensional picture from what you see on the radar screen. And also the dark environment makes me very sleepy...

Still, what does it take to be one? Speak well, formulate thoughts into words fast and be able to multi-task (you'd better do this well). I emphasise on the last point because when you are handling an emergency, you still have other non-emergency aircraft under your control waiting for your command.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineJ.mo From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 661 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3520 times:

It is going to be alot harder to get into the FAA. There is currently a hiring freeze on. The main ARTCC training facility in Flying Cloud, MN will train it's last class starting in May. Then they will be dormant for awhile. I work in Flight Service and big changes are on the way here also.

The way I did it was join my State National Guard unit as a controller. They sent me to the Air Force ATC school. In return I gave them about a year and a half active duty. Now I work in the FAA.

Any questions I would be happy to answer.
Jeremy

P.S. Mir, most radar scopes now are digitized. No radar sweep. The centers use mostly composite radar that is digitized.



What is the difference between Fighter pilots and God? God never thought he was a fighter pilot.
User currently offlineAtcboy73 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1100 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 3438 times:

I got my ATC training at the Community College of Beaver County. They have their own airport and control tower as well as pilot program and radar program. Then if you successfully complete the course (resulting in a two year degree) you get placed on the direct hire list.

It was remarkable easy and not that expensive!


User currently offlinePHLapproach From Philippines, joined Mar 2004, 1243 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3404 times:

The FAA does not let you chose your location also the mandatory age for retirement in the US is 56. You must have a bachelors degree. When you go to the FAA facility over in Oklahoma City, OK the instructors are looking for a clear, calm speaking voice the controller must also have skills like spacial vision which is basically seeing things in 3D.

User currently offlineAtcboy73 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1100 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (10 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 3312 times:

PHLapproach is correct for the most part.

Except the bachelors degree. Different levels of degrees come into play when it comes time for you to bid on your facility of choice but the FAA is going to decide where they send you the first time. You may have some control over the situation as in what section of the country they send you too but that might be it.

I got my ATC job with a two year degree in air traffic control and I love it. They sent me to Waco Texas, partially at my request and it looks like Im transferring to the tower at STL in December.


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