Air traffic controller | Selby College
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Air traffic controller

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

Potential salary

£17,000 to £50,000

Employment by 2024


Working hours

45 to 47 a week

  • concentration skills
  • knowledge of transport methods, costs and benefits
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

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

  • area controllers – track and guide aircraft flying at higher altitudes through a sector and are based at a regional control centre
  • approach controllers – manage aircraft as they approach the airport and issue instructions to planes that have just taken off
  • aerodrome controllers – work in a control tower, giving clearance to land and take off, and guide pilots to the correct taxi positions on stands and runways

You could work in an airport control tower.

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.

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

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