How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

How to Become an Air Traffic Controller
Bangalorestudy
8 months ago
How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

"What is Air Traffic Control?

It's playing ping-pong with 10 people."

Air Traffic Control is a system established worldwide to manage aircraft traffic and direct them to the ground through controlled airspace. Air Traffic Controllers are responsible to carry out these tasks efficiently. They are the watchdogs of an aircraft's safe landing. 

All About an Air Traffic Controller:

Air Traffic Controllers work alongside the Pilots in command to ensure the safe entry and exit of aircraft. They facilitate the smooth running of commercial planes/ jets, private jets, airbus planes, helicopters, and fighter planes. They are responsible for the aviation security of a nation. 

An Air Traffic Controller pre-empts possible collisions, keeps the flow of air traffic lucid, and supports the Pilots at all times. They have a knack to communicate with multiple pilots at a time with incredible accuracy. 

They have immaculate concentration as they are constantly vigilant on the location of the aircraft assigned to their airspace. They use Radar communications to keep in touch with the pilot throughout a flight's journey. 

An Air Traffic Controller can issue instructions that the Pilots are bound to follow. However in case of an emergency, the Pilots can discreetly disregard their advice and choose to do what's best in that given situation. 

Air Traffic Controllers impose traffic separation rules and regulations for the aircraft to relentlessly maintain a minimum amount of empty space around it. They also advise other Pilots flying in non-controlled airspace. 

Air Traffic Controller Eligibility:

An Air Traffic Controller eligibility depends on several factors such as their educational qualification, age limit as prescribed by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), and entrance exams.

Educational Qualification:

The preliminary requirement of an individual to become an Air Traffic Controller is to complete their collegiate education. They should have finished their Bachelor's or Master's degree in Science (B.Sc or M.Sc) with Physics/ Mathematics/ Computer Science subjects.

Those who have done their Bachelor's degree in Engineering with specialization in Electronics/ Telecommunication/ Radio Engineering/ Electrical are eligible. A Master's degree in the said subjects is also acceptable. 

They should have completed their higher education with 60% or above aggregate marks in their qualifying examinations. Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) holders with basic computer knowledge are also eligible. 

Age Limit:

According to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the lower age limit for a person from the general category is 21 years and the upper age limit is 27 years. In the case of OBC candidates, the maximum age limit is 30 years. For SC/ ST candidates, it is 32 years. 

Entrance Exams:

An Air Traffic Controller eligibility primarily focuses on the person's ability to pass the entrance exams and undergo intense training before getting recruited. Aspirants are required to take up the following exams to become an ATC after completing Air Traffic Controller courses:

  • They should clear the Civil Air Traffic Controller (ATC) Exam conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority under the directive of the Airports Authority of India.

  • They should have cleared the level 4 language proficiency test of the Information Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

  • The candidates then undergo a voice test process where they get evaluated for their proficiency in spoken and written English. This round assesses their ability to give intelligible commands in English.

  • In the personal interview round, they will be questioned on their knowledge in the aviation industry, understanding of the roles & responsibilities of an ATC, and their ability to perform under extreme duress. 

After qualifying all the rounds, they will be trained for one year in the Civil Aviation Training College (CATC). The students receive training in Aerodrome & Ground Aids, Aerodrome Control, Surveillance Control, Approach Control, and Area Control.

Physical Fitness:

The selected candidates will have to submit their physical fitness certificate before being recruited as ATC personnel. General physical fitness with perfect vision is mandatory. A 6/6 eyesight with an imperfection up to 6/9 (correctable to 6/6) is permitted. 

Air Traffic Controller Courses:

The following table contains details about the Air Traffic Controller courses available for aspirants in India:

Diploma Courses:

Courses
Duration and Eligibility
Diploma in Aviation Management

Duration: 2 years


Eligibility: The students must have completed 10+2 or equivalent from any recognised Board with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in their qualifying examinations.

Advanced Diploma in Aviation, Hospitality, and Tourism

Duration: 1 year


Eligibility: Any candidate who has completed their 10+2/ Diploma/ Graduation or Post Graduation with passing marks.

Undergraduate Courses:

Courses
Duration and Eligibility
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Physics/ Aviation, Hospitality, and Tourism/ Airlines and Airport Management/ Maths/ Aviation

Duration: 3 years


Eligibility: The students must have completed 10+2 or equivalent from any recognised Board with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in their qualifying examinations.

Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Aerospace Engineering/ Electronics & Communication Engineering/ Electrical & Electronics Engineering/ Radio Engineering/ Automobile Engineering

Duration: 4 years


Eligibility: The students must have completed 10+2 or equivalent from any recognised Board with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in their qualifying examinations.

Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Aviation Management

Duration: 3 years


Eligibility: The students must have completed 10+2 or equivalent from any recognised Board with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in their qualifying examinations.

Postgraduate Courses:

Courses
Duration
Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Aviation Operations

Duration: 2 years


Eligibility: Candidates who have completed their graduation in any discipline (preferably Economics or Commerce) with 50% aggregate marks in their final examination are eligible.

Post Graduate Diploma in Air Traffic Control and Management

Duration: 1 year


Eligibility: They should have completed B.Tech/ BE degree in Electronics/ Telecom/ Radio/ Electrical subjects with 50% or above marks in their qualifying exams.

Air Traffic Controller Colleges in India:

A list of top Air Traffic Controller colleges in India is provided below.

College Name
Location
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Kharagpur
Jain International Institute of Aerospace Engineering and Management
Bangalore
Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS)
Pilani
Acharya Institute of Graduate Studies (AIGS)
Bangalore
Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT)
Chennai
Dr. N.S.A.M First Grade College
Bangalore
Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER)
Pune

These Air Traffic Controller colleges in India offer students a broad spectrum of opportunities to shine as Air Traffic Controllers in the aviation sector. 

Air Traffic Controller Jobs:

Air Traffic Controller jobs are fancied as a career option among students, mostly because of the arduous and challenging nature of the job. It is a highly demanding occupation. 

Only those who are willing to go through such an onerous process make it as an ATC. That's why the job per se is limited. However, for all the hard work that one puts in, they get rewarded handsomely in terms of salaries, remunerations, and other privileges. 

Different profiles of Air Traffic Controller jobs worth exploring are:

Aerodrome Controllers: 

Also known as "Tower Controllers", they ensure safe navigation of the aircraft in an airfield. Aerodrome Controllers issue clearances for take-off and landing. They guide aircraft to glide between runways. They are based at the Control Tower in airports.

Area Controllers: 

They manage aircraft at altitudes of 5000 feet and above. Area controllers are responsible for the ascent, descent, and transit stage of the flight. They are based at the Control Centres of the airports.

Approach Controllers:

They manage the approaching and departing aircraft over a controlled airspace in the airfield. They ensure minimum separation traffic rules are followed to avoid any accidents. Approach Controllers are based at airports.

Air Traffic Controller Salary:

A typical Air Traffic Controller salary ranges from Rs. 4 LPA to Rs. 11 LPA along with tips, bonus, and overtime pay. For an entry-level employee (less than one year experience), the total compensation includes Rs. 5.49 LPA. 

A person with 1-4 years of experience can get about Rs. 6.91 LPA as remuneration. For those with more than 5 years of experience, total compensation of Rs.11.25 LPA is provided. Thus, the average Air Traffic Controller salary in India is around Rs. 7.17 LPA. 

Conclusion:

Becoming an Air Traffic Controller is a process not everyone can go through. One should be resilient enough to push through the challenges and come out with flying colours. If you believe you are cut out for this job, then you will ascend the peak at all costs. 

For all the minor bruises you're going to get along the way, the bounties you receive will be immeasurable. Let your whispers echo through the ears of a Pilot and guide countless lives to safety!

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