Is Being an Air Traffic Controller for Me?
Air traffic controllers have an important and demanding job, helping to control the air space and ensuring safe take-offs and landings for pilots. If you've been considering a career as an air traffic controller, take a moment to review the following self-assessment.
|Are you a U.S. citizen?||Yes or No|
|Could you pass a medical examination and a background check?||Yes or No|
|Do you have good decision-making sills?||Yes or No|
|Would you be able to enter the FAA Academy before your 31st birthday?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong math skills?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to accept irregular work hours?||Yes or No|
|Can you work in an area that isn't well-lit?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to deal with high-pressure situations and maintain focus?||Yes or No|
|Do you have strong communication skills?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to multi-task?||Yes or No|
Why Are These Questions Important?
Are you a U.S. citizen?
The Federal Aviation Administration requires prospective air traffic controllers to be U.S. citizens.
Could you pass a medical examination and a background check?
You will need to pass a full medical exam and have a clean background in order to earn your license.
Do you have good decision-making skills?
Air traffic controllers need to be able to make quick decisions. Situations that include rapidly deteriorating weather conditions require this ability.
Would you be able to enter the FAA Academy before your 31st birthday?
The FAA requires all prospective air traffic controllers to be younger than the age of 31 at the beginning of training.
Do you have strong math skills?
Math skills are essential to the job of air traffic controllers. Some of the ways in which you will use math on the job include figuring out appropriate speeds and altitude changes.
Are you able to accept irregular work hours?
Air traffic controllers may be scheduled days, nights and weekends as needed, as there are always flights. You will also likely end up working some holidays.
Can you work in an area that isn't well-lit?
Air traffic control areas tend to not have much lighting so that radar screens can be easily read. Anyone who wants to be an air traffic controller needs to be okay with working in a somewhat dim environment.
Are you able to deal with high-pressure situations and maintain focus?
The amount of potential stress involved in this job is difficult to overstate. You will need to be prepared to handle multiple aircrafts, make any necessary adjustments, come up with solutions for a variety of issues, and maintain a high level of focus at all times.
Do you have strong communication skills?
You will need to be able to communicate quickly and clearly with pilots, addressing their requests and providing concise and proper instructions.
Are you able to multi-task?
Air traffic controllers will be working with several pilots at the same time. You'll need to be highly organized and effective at doing so, making safety a priority.
Is Air Traffic Controller the Right Job for You?
The field of air traffic controlling is certainly not for everyone. However, if you found yourself answering yes to most of the assessment questions, it may very well be right for you.