aguilo
Posts: 237
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:52 am

Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 7:09 pm

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"
 
AS737900
Posts: 330
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2000 1:11 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 7:42 pm

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
 
aguilo
Posts: 237
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:52 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:16 pm

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..
 
ATM
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:39 pm

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:50 pm

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
 
Mir
Posts: 19092
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 8:54 pm

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
 
Ryanair!!!
Posts: 4071
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:55 pm

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 9:53 pm

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!
 
j.mo
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2002 12:29 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sat Apr 10, 2004 10:30 pm

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.
 
atcboy73
Posts: 1084
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2001 10:09 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sun Apr 11, 2004 3:42 am

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!
 
PHLapproach
Posts: 1052
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 6:37 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sun Apr 11, 2004 4:00 am

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.
 
atcboy73
Posts: 1084
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2001 10:09 am

RE: Becoming An Air Traffic Controller

Sun Apr 11, 2004 7:17 am

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.