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Career as Air Traffic Controller

Last Updated On 23 Jul, 2021

Career as a Air Traffic Controller

About Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between the aircraft. Their primary concern is safety, but they also must direct aircraft efficiently to minimize delays. They manage the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing, and monitor aircraft as they travel through the skies for security purposes. Air traffic controllers use radar, computers, or visual references to monitor and direct the movement of the aircraft in the skies and ground traffic at airports.

During an emergency situation, the air traffic controller plays a major role as they must notify the required authorities and alert emergency response staff as soon as possible. He or she must vigilant and be able to manage different tasks at one time. It  can be very stressful at times due to the responsibility of the safety of aircraft, it’s crew and airline passengers. Air traffic controllers must be able to be focused and concentrate for long periods of times and usually work full-time. Hours and days vary to include shift work, nights, and weekends but the job is a great career choice for people who love multitasking and meeting new people. 

Eligibility to become Air Traffic Controller

Aspirants who are planning to become air traffic controller must have a bachelor’s degree (B.Sc in Science) with physics and mathematics as mandatory subjects or B.Tech/B.E. degree in any field can apply for the post of Junior Executive Controller (ATC). The minimum pass percentage to apply for ATC is 60%

For UG Courses: 

  • Candidate must have a B.Sc in Science or B.Tech/B.E. degree with a minimum aggregate of 60%. However, the minimum aggregate rules vary from category to category.
  • Candidates have to appear in the written test, voice test and medical test.
  • The age criteria for general category candidates is 27 years whereas for reserved category candidates it is 32 years and for OBC candidates it is 30 years to apply for the ATC.

For  PG Courses:

  • Candidate must have a bachelor's degree in the respective field.
  • Must have some professional experience in the aviation management industry.

Courses to Become an Air Traffic Controller

Pursuing the right course will provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge for becoming an Air Traffic Controller. All candidates who are aiming for a career as an Air Traffic Controller can enrol in any of the courses listed below.


Average Fee per YearTop Air Engineering Colleges

B.Tech in Automobile Engineering

Rs. 40,000 - 1.5 lacs

B.Tech in Aerospace Engineering

Rs. 40,000 - 6 lacs
B.Sc in Physics

Rs. 15,000 - 50,000

BSc in Airlines & Airport Management

Rs. 50,000 - 3.5 lacs

You can apply to any of these colleges by filling our Common Application Form (CAF).

Types of Job Roles Air Traffic Controller

Air Traffic Controller is a restrictive career option as the air traffic controller job profiles are restricted to the aviation sector. Listed below are some of the popular air traffic controller job profiles:

Air Traffic Controller:  They are responsible for monitoring and directing the movement of the aircraft on the ground/ air by making use of radar, computers and visual references. They also control all ground traffic a the airports

Approach and Departure Controller: Their job is to give clearance to enter controlled airspace and hand off control of aircraft to en route controllers. They use radar equipment to monitor flight paths and they also provide pilots with information regarding weather and other critical notices.

Tower Controller: They direct the movement of vehicles on runway, taxiways, check flight plans and also clearance to the pilots during takeoff or landing.

En Route Controller:  Their job role is to monitor the aircraft once it leaves the airports space. They work at air route traffic control centres located throughout the country, they are usually not located at the airports.

Employment Opportunities for Air Traffic Controllers

Some of the popular employment opportunities for air traffic controllers are listed below:

  • Aviation Industry
  • Air Force Industry
  • Armed Forces
  • Domestic Airports
  • International Airports

Top Recruiting Companies for Air Traffic Controllers:

The companies that recruit air traffic controllers are as follows:

  • Bengaluru International Airport
  • Octamec Group
  • Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
  • Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • Air Works

Planning to choose Air Traffic Controller as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Air Traffic Controller

The salary of an air traffic controller increases with time as they complete their successive levels of training and experience in the same. The salary of an air traffic controller depends upon various factors which include on-the-job training, location. Given below is the salary range for the air traffic controllers and other related job roles:

Job Profile Starting Salary per annum (in INR)Mid- Level Salary per annum (in INR)Senior-Level Salary per annum (in INR)
Air Traffic ControllerRs 4,00,000- Rs 6,00,000Rs. 6,00,000- Rs.9,00,000Rs.9,00,000 and above
Approach and Departure ControllerRs 3,00,000- Rs. 4,50,000Rs. 5,00,000- Rs 7,00,000Rs.7,00,000 and above 
En Route Controller:Rs 3,00,000- Rs.4,00,000Rs.4,00,000- Rs.6,00,000NA

Note* -The above figures are an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.

Books & Study Material to Become Air Traffic Controller

To make an air traffic controller you must have an aptitude for physics and mathematics and your base in both the subjects should be very strong. Aspirants should study both textual and non-textual books to apply for the post of Junior Executive Controller (ATC). The written exam comprises of questions from current affairs, English grammar, physics and mathematics. Therefore, it is very important to have a hold of the best books and study material for the preparation. Listed below are some of the popular books that will help you build a career in the field of air traffic controller:

  • Air Traffic Controller Career Prep by Patrick R Mattson
  • Automation and Systems Issues in Air Traffic Control (Nato ASI Subseries F:)” by John A Wise and V David Hopkins
  • Fundamentals of Air Traffic Michael S Nolan
  • The Pilots Air Traffic Control Handbook by Paul E Gilman
  • Air Traffic Control Test Prep by Learning Express LLC

Pros of becoming a Air Traffic Controller

  • The career of an air traffic controller is highly rewarding and a certified controller enjoys a lot of perks.
  • It offers one with great job satisfaction as you get challenging situations which help you utilise your problem-solving skills.
  • The job of an air traffic controller provides you with an interesting environment to work in which is not offered by a lot of professions and it is very enjoyable.

Cons of becoming a Air Traffic Controller

  • The profession is very demanding in terms of shift which can be very stressful at times.
  • You tend to miss social events and festivals due to shifts.
  • The job holds a lot of pressure as you responsible for other people’s lives, therefore it requires you to be alert and vigilant all the time.

Confused on what to choose as your career?