Air Traffic Controller

Are you in the process of applying for an Air Traffic Controller career? If so, take a look at our suite of aptitude tests, which form as part of the selection process in this field.
Air Traffic Controller
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Typically, the selection process for Air Traffic Controller positions will assess abstract, spatial and numerical reasoning. The questions will usually be related to speed, time and distance problems as well as concentration, multitasking tests and real air traffic control simulators.

In order to become an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) in the UK, candidates must undergo initial training before obtaining their full Air Traffic Control License. This licence is issued by the Civil Aviation Association (CAA) and in order to become a student in training you will need to:

Be at least 18 years of age Hold at least one GCSE level pass (or equivalent) Have at least ICAO level 4 English

The training process will enable the candidate to provide air traffic control services under the supervision of an approved instructor. There are multiple areas, which you can train in, and each unit will provide you with the relevant skills required within that particular area of air traffic control.

There are three UK air traffic controller-training providers, which are authorised by the CAA. These include

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) Global Aviation Training Services (ATS) Ltd Resource Group Ltd

The NATS is renowned for being the most demanding of the three, and furthermore are the only training provider who hire individuals after training them. Those who train with NATS are treated as though they are employees are guaranteed a job at the end of their training and are paid during their time as a trainee. This is not the case with Global Aviation Training Services Ltd and Resource Group ltd who both, in fact, charge for their training courses and do not guarantee a job for those who pass.

Once the training requirements have been fulfilled, the candidate will need to pass an assessment, demonstrating the necessary skills in order to be able to apply for their full ATC licence. The assessment generally consists of the same three areas including:

1) Air Traffic controller aptitude tests 2) Basic ATC background knowledge 3) An Interview

The following criteria needs to be met in order for an individual to obtain their full ATC licence:

Must be at least 21 years of age Must obtain a European Class 3 medical certificate

Once the full ATC licence has been obtained, you can then apply for the desired role at different Air Navigation Services Providers.

Joining the RAF

Another way of working within ATC is to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) and become an ATCO as part of the military. You can apply as either an RAF Air Traffic Controller or a control officer. However, it is important for you to know that the military licence is not transferable and can only be used inside of the Army Forces. The criteria required in order to apply includes:

You must be between the ages of 17.5 and 36 You must hold at least 5 GCSE’s (or equivalent) including Maths and English You must have two A2 Levels/3 Higher at Grade C or above (excluding general studies or critical thinking). This is a minimum of 160 UCAS points

In the event you have a degree (minimum grade of 2:2), you will only need English and Maths GCSEs at a minimum of grade C and B, respectively.

Candidates who meet the criteria will subsequently be invited to complete further assessments as part of the selection process which include:

Airmen / Airwomen selection test (AST) Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC)

You can take a look at our practice material in the links above to help you become familiar with taking these types of tests.

In terms of the training that the RAF offer, all candidates will complete a Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC). For controllers, this will be followed by the Non-Commissioned Aircrew initial Training Course (NCAITC) and for control officers they will be required to complete the Initial Officer Training (IOT). Finally, both will complete their specialist training at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire.

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