What is “Air Traffic Control”?

Air Traffic Control is the system and group of people( called air traffic controllers) responsible for safely coordinating flight routes for aircraft travel. Provided by a government entity, FAA(Federal Aviation Administration), ground-based controllers plan and direct the flight paths and communicate that information to the pilots via radio.

What does it take to become an Air Traffic Controller?

An applicant must be 30 years old or younger, pass medical and security investigation, pass the FAA air traffic pre-employment test, be a US Citizen and speak English clearly enough to be understood over communication equipment as well as have 3 years of related work experience or a Bachelor’s degree.

After meeting the minimum requirements listed above, candidates must complete required training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, OK which can take 2-5 months depending on background experience and then have on-the-job experience before becoming certified professional controllers. The timeline for gaining certification can range from 2-4 years. The entire process (including 3 years of related-work experience or a Bachelor’s degree) to certified professional controller can take between 5-8 years. Air traffic controllers are required to retire at age 56.

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