Being an air traffic controller is one of the most stressful jobs. These men and women guide air traffic on the ground and in the air. They tell the pilots when and where they can take off and land and monitor all planes once in their air space.
Your air traffic controller job description should stress a candidate’s ability to multitask, as the controllers also direct baggage vehicles and other ground traffic. Those interested in this vocation should have a bachelor’s degree, qualifying work experience, or a combination of both for three years.
Applicants must submit to an extensive background check and medical examination. Requisite FAA testing includes a pre-employment test, Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test and FAA Academy training prior to the controller’s 31st birthday. Review the air traffic controller job description below for an idea of what your posting should include.
Air Traffic Controller Job Summary
Calling Superman or Supergirl! We need people with nerves of steel to enter into the dynamic field of air traffic control. You will be the person in charge of directing ground and air traffic to and from the airport and in the sky. You won’t need heat vision, but you will need superhuman endurance and reflexes to ensure everyone on the ground and in the air remains safe. If your family and friends marvel at your technical shrewdness and ability to multitask, this is the job for you. You’ll feel as if you’re flying the planes yourself, and in a sense, you are. Without you, there would be disaster in the air and on ground, so utilize your superhuman abilities to keep everyone safe and sound.
- Instruct pilots when they can take off and land, and what runway and gate they are authorized to use daily; direct ground traffic as well, including baggage carts and ground personnel
- Update pilots of hazardous conditions prior to and during flights, including visibility, weather and wind concerns when necessary
- Redirect flight path of aircraft or redirect to a temporary landing facility to avoid hazardous conditions when necessary
- Direct pilots, land crews and airport emergency services toward cleared landing space in the event an airplane is experiencing difficulties, or in the event of an actual crash at the airport or elsewhere
- Monitor air space traffic using radar, computer and other air traffic control equipment to keep airplanes departing and arriving on time and to maximize air and ground safety
- Turn over air traffic control to appropriate centers once airplanes leave designated air space, and accept new air traffic that enters into designated air space
- Maintain consistent ground traffic pattern for continual flow of departing and arriving flights
- Initiate searches for aircrafts that drop or veer off radar and go missing
Job Skills and Qualifications
- Bachelor’s degree or associate degree, plus on-the-job training for three years
- Extensive background check, medical examination and FAA testing
- Aircraft communication systems, e.g. CPDC, HF/UHF/VHF radio, beacon markers
- Navigation systems, e.g. RNAV, ADF radio, DGPS surveillance, DME, GPS
- Radar systems, e.g. ARSR, ASDE, DASR, Mode S
- Flight control software, e.g. EDA, EDP, FAST
- Flight simulation software
Because this is a highly technical vocation, your air traffic controller job description must detail exactly what you require of your candidates. Make certain you list all your qualifications, and then make sure the top jobseekers see the posting by including it on your website, social media pages, airport websites and all the places where air traffic controllers discuss all things air travel-related.
This includes industry and job forums, so get involved in the conversation to recruit the top controllers to your airport. Being proactive is crucial to building a candidate pool filled with the best talent, and reaching everyone is also important. Post jobs for free using the powerful MightyRecruiter interface to recruit from hundreds of boards at one time.
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