Air traffic controller

Alternative titles for this job include Air traffic control officer

Air traffic controllers give information and advice to airline pilots to help them take off and land safely and on time.

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter

to

£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

45 to 47 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become an air traffic controller

You can get into this job through:

  • a trainee scheme

Other routes

You can apply for a place as a trainee with National Air Traffic Services.

You'll need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent qualifications, including English and maths.

You'll be expected to relocate to Fareham in Hampshire while training. Once you qualify, you could work anywhere in the UK.

Initial training takes up to 1 year and further training may continue while working.

You may also be considered for training if you have relevant aviation experience as a military air traffic controller, or military or commercial pilot.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an air traffic controller from National Air Traffic Services.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • concentration skills
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

You should be eligible to work in the UK.

You must be prepared to work anywhere in the UK.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will vary depending on which type of controller you become. There are 3 types:

  • area controller – in a regional control centre, tracking and guiding aircraft through your sector
  • approach controller – managing aircraft as they approach the airport
  • aerodrome controller – in a control tower, helping pilots land and park, and line up for take-off

Working environment

You could work in an airport control tower.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into training and assessing new controllers, or become a supervisor or unit manager.

You could also move into operations management.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an air traffic controller right now.

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Courses In England

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