How to become an Air Traffic Controller
Are you looking for an interesting and demanding career? Are you passionate about aviation? Then becoming an Air Traffic Controller may be a great career choice for you. Aviation careers offer lucrative and rewarding job opportunities. Here is some more information about what to expect if you are looking for Aviation jobs.
What skills and personal qualities does an Air Traffic Controller need?
While there are plenty of advantages to becoming an Air Traffic Controller, it is well-known for being a highly stressful job. When it comes to Airport jobs, Air Traffic Controller is one of the most demanding. To be successful in this career, you will need to be capable of operating under high pressure. A passion for planes is also advantageous. You will need to be responsible and reliable to advance in this career. It is necessary to have high concentration levels and be observant if you want to become a competent Air Traffic Controller. Excellent communication skills are required for this position. This career requires you to be logical and have outstanding planning skills.
What duties does an Air Traffic Controller perform?
As an Air Traffic Controller you will be responsible for the organization of air traffic. It is crucial that the air traffic is organized efficiently to ensure the safety of the passengers on each flight. Another duty which is associated with this position is monitoring the positions of aircrafts on the main air routes. Air Traffic Controllers are required to advise the pilot on the aircraft’s height and speed as they approach the airport.
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Duties which are associated with this position include maintaining communication with the pilot via radio and issuing the pilot with instructions regarding navigation routes. The Air Traffic Controller tells the pilot when to take off and land as well as advising them on their cruising level. Another task is to advise the pilot on current weather conditions. It is crucial for the Air Traffic Controller to make sure that a safe distance is kept between each aircraft. Not only do these types of aviation jobs require you to perform routine tasks, they also must be able to cope with unexpected events as well as emergency situations.
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Where do Air Traffic Controllers find employment?
Most employment opportunities are provided by control centres. Air Traffic Controllers are employed by airports and the job opportunities available will depend on the size of the airport. Smaller airports with less air traffic offer limited job opportunities. Another option is to become a trainer in the Aviation field.
What other employment opportunities are available in Aviation?
You could also find employment as an Aerodrome Controller which involves navigating an aircraft from when it lands to when it reaches the terminal. Aerodome Controllers take over from the Air Traffic Controller during the landing process. If the Aerodome Controller is working at a major airport with heavy air flow, their duties may be split into air or ground control responsibilities. Their tasks include guiding aircrafts during landing and take-off as well as regulating the movements of aircrafts in the vicinity of the terminals.
Another option is to find work as an Approach Controller which focuses specifically on the air traffic in the vicinity of the airport. Approach Controllers work at the control centre. Approach Controllers advise the aircraft on the best organisation for landing. They work with instrument landing systems. They also instruct the aircraft regarding holding patterns when there is heavy air flow.
What training does an Air Traffic Controller need?
If you want to be an Air Traffic Controller in South Africa you will need to complete training at the Aviation Training Academy. Training is offered by the Air Traffic and Navigation Services. You will need to spend four to six years training before you are awarded a full qualification. It is possible to obtain a bursary for your studies if you are motivated and passionate about learning.
You need to be older than eighteen years and have a matric certificate which includes Mathematics and English to be eligible for the training program. Only South African citizens and people who are medically fit are eligible for the training. After you have received your qualification you will need to start off as an Air Traffic Controller’s Assistant to gain relevant experience and develop your skills. Once you have spent time in this position, the next step is to work as a Aerodome Controller before you are eligible for a Procedural Control position.
ATNS (Air Traffic and Navigation Services) is currently offering the ATCO Trainee Bursary Programme, providing bursaries for interested and motivated individuals keen on becoming Air Traffic Control Officers. Learn more about the programme here. ATNS SOC Limited is the only provider of air traffic and navigation services in South Africa, and provides training at the Aviation Training Academy (ATA) at Bonaero Park.
Renowned for offering the best air traffic management, ATNS oversees 100’s of thousands of aircraft take offs and landings every year.
Now that you know more about what Aviation careers entail, you can make an informed decision about what career to pursue. As Aviation jobs require dedication and the ability to work under pressure, it is important that you investigate this career thoroughly before you sign up for training. If you choose a job as an Air Traffic Controller, you can look forward to a lucrative career.