Air traffic controllers and related occupations


Air traffic controllers direct air traffic within assigned airspace, and control moving aircraft and service vehicles at airports. Flight service specialists provide pilots with flight information essential to aviation safety. Flight dispatchers authorize airline flights over assigned routes. Air traffic controllers and flight service specialists are employed by NAV Canada and the Canadian Forces. Flight dispatchers are employed by airline and air services companies and by the Canadian Forces.

Job duties

  • This group performs some or all of the following duties:
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Control flow of air traffic within assigned airspace using radar monitors, radio and other communication equipment and visual references
  • Issue aircraft takeoff and landing instructions to pilots and relay meteorological, navigational and other information to pilots in flight
  • Maintain radio and telephone contact with adjacent control towers, terminal control units and other area control centers, and co-ordinate movement of aircraft into adjoining areas
  • Alert airport emergency services when aircraft are experiencing difficulties and report missing aircraft to search and rescue services
  • Direct activities of all moving aircraft and service vehicles on or near airport runways.
  • Flight service specialists
  • Provide pre-flight information concerning current and forecast weather conditions, radio frequencies, terrain, airports and related data to assist pilots in preparation of flight plans
  • Check flight plans for completeness and accuracy and forward flight plans to air traffic services facility
  • Respond to radio calls from aircraft preparing for takeoff or landing and supply information such as weather conditions, wind speed and direction and presence of local air traffic
  • Support air traffic control operations by relaying radio requests for flight clearances, arrival and departure information and position reports
  • Alert airport emergency services of aircraft experiencing difficulties and initiate communication searches when aircraft become overdue
  • Observe, record and report weather conditions at airports.
  • Flight dispatchers
  • Analyze environmental conditions and assess aircraft for load and fuel capacity and other factors to determine flight routes
  • Brief flight crew before takeoff on weather conditions, status of navigational facilities and airports en route
  • Co-sign flight authorization with aircraft captain
  • Monitor progress of flight and communicate as required with aircraft during flight
  • Delay or cancel flights if conditions warrant
  • Prepare and maintain flight plans, flight logs and other reports.

Education: Air traffic controllers undergo about two years of training before receiving their license from Transport Canada. Training includes about a year of classroom and simulation work, with frequent testing along the way, then a final year working alongside a licensed air traffic controller.

Entry requirements:

  • be between 18 -30 years of age
  • have a high school diploma, or equivalency,
  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident,
  • meet language requirements (a high level of proficiency in English and French for the Montreal Flight Information Region (including the National Capital Region), English for all other regions).

Apprenticeship: Integrated

Average Salary: C$100,666 yearly

Job Trends: Good

Top Colleges:  NAV Canada in house training beginning with a 50 hour CBT self-study Introduction To Aviation (ITA) course.

Job titles

  • air traffic controller (ATC)
  • flight dispatcher
  • flight service specialist (FSS)
  • enroute air traffic controller
  • terminal air traffic controller
  • airport air traffic controller
  • instrument flight rules air traffic controller
  • visual flight rules air traffic controller

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