Sponsor Message:
Non Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Life As An Air Traffic Controller  
User currently offlinebookishaviator From Australia, joined Jun 2009, 247 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 9 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1804 times:

Evening all,

So I'm going to try for a career as an Air Traffic Controller. I'm well aware of what the job entails and have had all my questions answered with respect to assessment processes, training requirements, salaries, development opportunities, etc. I've done my research into all of those finer details.

What I'd like to hear is rather more general first-hand accounts of what it's actually like to work as an Air Traffic Controller. (Or perhaps you know someone who is one?) Do you enjoy your job? Do you find it to be a fulfilling career path? Would you recommend it? Things you don't like about the job?

If it makes any difference to your answer, I'll be applying as an ab initio candidate (the only related experience I have is a handful of hours as a private pilot).

In case you're wondering, no, I'm not seeking career guidance from an internet message board. I've already made the decision to apply, but would appreciate and respect your comments all the same.


When I die, when I die, I'll rot. But when I live, when I live, I'll give it all I've got.
2 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 551 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 9 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1738 times:

I love my career. The best decision of my life was to quit university during my Junior year, I was a geology major (kinda boring...it's rocks), and enlist in the Navy as a controller. I now work for the FAA at ORD ATCT and enjoy every single moment. What is my day like? Well, simply put, I get paid to play with airplanes. One session, I may be working Outbound Ground, the next, I may be rolling planes on 3rd Local, then issuing clearances on Clearance Delivery and finally, finishing my shift on Inbound Ground, which is akin to herding cats.

I have been fortunate to work at up/downs (Tower and TRACON combined), Towers and a Center. I did not enjoy my time at a ARTCC much. I found Enroute too cerebral, like chess. It's very strategic in thinking. Terminal, Tower or Approach, is more to my liking. The Terminal world is very tactical, short term planning. I enjoy that. I enjoy the rush and thrill of it.

Be aware that you will work nights, weekends and holidays. After awhile, Christmas will just be another day. As for downsides, I can think of two. First, training. Training is rough. Both, giving and receiving. It is an unpleasant experience, but a necessary one. My advice is to keep your mouth shut and your ears open. The most difficult thing I have ever undertook was training at ORD. Second, the chest beaters. These are the type A's, which all controllers are, that are on the far end of the spectrum, ultra type A's. Everyone is weak except for them, nobody moves more metal than them, so on and so forth. Yawn. Other than those two examples this profession is fantastic, very fulfilling, very rewarding. I thank God every day for what I do.

Best of luck to you,

I will have a Manhattan.
User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3547 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (4 years 9 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 1680 times:

You'll have to get up early a lot. Often, the busiest times at an airport are between the hours of 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., so expect to be out of bed by 4 in the morning pretty often.

Also, training is ridiculously stressful. A few mistakes on the wrong test can sink your entire career before it's even started.

But other than those two things, it's a life full of fast women and faster airplanes ... haha. (seriously about the fast women though ... I'm not a controller, but from what I've heard from controller friends of mine, controller ladies are often outnumbered 5-1 by dudes, and therefore get more than their fair share of attention ...)

Do you like movies about gladiators?
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
How Do U Become An Air Traffic Controller? posted Sat Jun 9 2001 19:50:18 by Go canada!
I Have Failed As An Aircraft Geek posted Mon Aug 23 2010 21:53:44 by Pyrex
Mustang/Camaro As An Everyday Ride? posted Wed Sep 9 2009 16:09:36 by Springbok747
Choosing An Air Purifier. posted Sun Oct 12 2008 04:08:22 by CJAContinental
Abortion As An Election Issue posted Mon Jul 21 2008 21:34:24 by JCS17
Music Videos With Aviation As An Element? posted Tue Jan 1 2008 07:58:06 by AverageUser
Please Support Your Air Traffic Controllers posted Fri May 26 2006 21:14:20 by DEN-HNL
You Car As An Emergency Vehicle posted Mon Mar 27 2006 04:03:17 by FlyMIA
Ever Done Anything "naughty" With An Air Hostess? posted Sat Nov 5 2005 19:08:17 by Julesmusician
Is Life About An Ipod? posted Sun Apr 3 2005 04:43:04 by Swisskloten