Becoming a controller

The path to becoming an Air Traffic Controller is not a quick and easy one. It takes time and commitment but the rewards at the end make it all worth while.

An overview of the steps you would need to follow is laid out below:

  • 1) Do your research

    Research what the role involves. Does it interest and excite you? Could you see yourself doing it? Do you understand what’s involved in the recruitment and assessment process? Could you commit 100% to training if selected?

    If the answer is yes, then check your eligibility!

  • Check your eligibility

    Before you apply you must check you are eligible.  Do you meet the legal, health, academic and security requirements? If you don’t we will reject your application from the outset.  If you do – register online!

  • Register Online

    Complete the online application form and register your details. The form takes 7-10 minutes to complete.

  • Complete stage 1 online assessments

    Having successfully registered and been approved, you’ll be invited to sit nine online tests These are designed to test cognitive and decision making skills that are important to Controllers.

  • Complete stage 2 online assessments

    If you pass the stage 1 assessments, you’ll be invited to an online Situational Judgement Test and Personality Questionnaire.

  • Attend an assessment centre

    If you pass the stage 2 assessments you’ll be asked to attend a 1 day assessment centre where you’ll take some further ATC related tests, have an interview and partake in a group exercise.

  • Complete the college-based training

    If you pass the assessment centre, you’ll be invited to join NATS as a Trainee Air Traffic Controller and attend one of our colleges. The length of college-based training varies depending on a host of factors including the specialism you take and how quickly you can complete different phases. Most college-based training is completed within a year to eighteen months.

  • Complete the operational training

    One you have passed college-based training you will be posted to an operational unit where your hands-on training continues until you validate and are issued your Air Traffic Controller license.

  • Qualify!

    Once validated, you are ready to play your critical part in advancing aviation and keeping the skies safe!


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