Is becoming an air traffic controller right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

Overview
What do air traffic controllers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are air traffic controllers happy with their careers?
Personality
What are air traffic controllers like?

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How to become an Air Traffic Controller

In the United States, you must obtain an air traffic control degree from an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certified school, achieve a qualifying score on the FAA test, and further complete a training course at the FAA academy. If you have any previous air traffic control experience (eg. military training), you may not need to complete the FAA educational requirements.

After mandatory training is complete, an air traffic controller must undergo a period of further training in regards to specific area procedures for the sector of their work unit.

Most of the training is done in live situations commonly known as 'on the job training'. This training is done with qualified and trained mentors and on the job instructors who are also connected to the sector to help guide the new controllers and to take over in case of an emergency.

This training lasts anywhere from months to years much like the previous training and depending on how much traffic the assigned sector is known to receive. Only after they have successfully completed a full training program will they be allowed control of their own sector without the constant aid of others.