AIRCRAFT CONTROLLER:Air traffic control is a necessary responsibility in the ever-growing field of aircraft travel. Conducted by ground-based personnel, who have been trained and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), air traffic control responsibilities center on the monitoring of air traffic in a given area, specifically tower control, approach and departure control, and en route control.


Aircraft controller  is Air traffic control specialists, abbreviated ATCS, are personnel responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the global air traffic control system.

Air traffic controllers use radar, computers, or visual references to monitor and direct the movement of the aircraft in the skies and ground traffic at airports. Controllers usually manage multiple aircraft at the same time and must make quick decisions to ensure the safety of aircraft.

What do aircraft controllers do?

Air traffic control aims to move aircraft safely and efficiently through the airspace system. Controllers keep aircraft set distances apart while moving them from airport to airport using set routes.


Air Traffic Controller Jobs

These tracks reflect the fact that air traffic controllers typically fall into three general career types that are responsible during the different stages of a flight:

  • Tower Controllers – Tower controllers cover aircraft and vehicle movements on “taxiways and runways and in the immediate vicinity of the airport,” writes Arblaster. Located in the airport traffic control tower (ATCT), these personnel help keep aircraft separated from each other visually with the assistance of various technology. According to the FAA’s Controller Workforce Plan (FAA pdf source), specific ATC positions include ground controller, local controller, clearance delivery and flight data.
  • Approach and Departure (Terminal) Controllers – These workers “use surveillance technology, such as radar, to manage the flow of aircraft” as they arrive and depart major airports, writes Arblaster. They work in Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities that cover an extended area. Specific ATC roles include departure controller, flight data – radar, and arrival controller, per the Controller Workforce Plan.
  • En route controllers – These controllers also use surveillance technology to “manage aircraft movements in upper airspace including continental and oceanic routes,” writes Arblaster. They work at Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) with job titles such as radar controller, radar associate, radar associate – flight data, reports the Controller Workforce Plan.


Air traffic controller work in control towers, approach control facilities, or route centers. Their work can be stressful because maximum concentration is required at all times. Night, weekend, and rotating shifts are common.

What skills do you need to be an air traffic controller?

Important Qualities

  • Communication skills. Air traffic controllers must be able to give clear, concise instructions, listen carefully to pilots’ requests, and respond by speaking clearly in English.
  • Concentration skills.
  • Decision making skills.
  • Math skills.
  • Organizational skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.

Air traffic controllers usually work between 37 and 45 hours a week, but this is spread out over days, nights, weekends and public holidays. Air traffic control has to be manned 24 hours a day, so shift work is used to ensure there is always cover.

Being an Air Traffic Controller advantages Being an Air Traffic Controller disadvantages
Air traffic controllers can work indoors You have to pass psychological tests
You can avoid physical work High barriers to entry
Good job if you love air travel Hard to switch fields