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Is air traffic control a good career?

I’m thinking of going to air traffic control,but I have had people around me say that it’s too much of a stressful job. Had a friend tell me that his uncle was made to leave the job at it made him depressed. Does anyone know about the job or someone who does it, and are there opportunities to work part time?
Original post by Triff1234
I’m thinking of going to air traffic control,but I have had people around me say that it’s too much of a stressful job. Had a friend tell me that his uncle was made to leave the job at it made him depressed. Does anyone know about the job or someone who does it, and are there opportunities to work part time?

Hi there,

There are elements of a lot of jobs which can be stressful and unfortunately some people do need to change jobs or take time out for health reasons but this is not just specific to Air Traffic Control.

It can be a high pressure job and you need to ask yourself how you deal with pressure. Is it something you think you handle well or would struggle with?

Generally the working hours are 45-47 hours per week including evening, weekend and bank holiday work. After you've been with an employer for a certain period of time you can apply for more flexible working and can submit a request for this if you feel reduced hours would suit you better.

We have more information on this career on our website that you may find helpful to read through - https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/air-traffic-controller

I hope that you are able to come to a decision and if you would like to ask further questions we're always here to help on TSR.

Thanks - Sophie.
Reply 2
Yes. I toyed with it myself when I was much younger. Had a mate do it, he's minted now.
Reply 3
Original post by gjd800
Yes. I toyed with it myself when I was much younger. Had a mate do it, he's minted now.


Does minted mean rich?
Reply 4
Original post by Triff1234
Does minted mean rich?

Yes
this article looks pretty good https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/what-it-is-like-being-an-air-traffic-controller/ if you want to find out more :smile:
Reply 6
Original post by Triff1234
I’m thinking of going to air traffic control,but I have had people around me say that it’s too much of a stressful job. Had a friend tell me that his uncle was made to leave the job at it made him depressed. Does anyone know about the job or someone who does it, and are there opportunities to work part time?

Very hard to become an air traffic controller and there is a good chance that you may get kicked out of the course due to not having the qualities that they are looking for.

Not to mention that it can be stressful and you are responsible for your actions. You may be punished if you **** up.
(edited 5 years ago)
Reply 7
Original post by powerpuff674
this article looks pretty good https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/what-it-is-like-being-an-air-traffic-controller/ if you want to find out more :smile:


Thanks
Reply 8
I did some work experience at NATS for a week last summer so I know a little:

The hard part is becoming one in the first place - about 2% of people finish the training course, even though/possibly because the only academic requirements are 5 GCSEs at grade C or above.

There are some restrictions on irregular hours thanks to the union - if you're called up at night and you get home after 3 AM then you have the next day off or something. Plus there are a lot of breaks.

I wouldn't imagine part-time is an option really - being an air traffic controller is a pretty long-term gig.
Reply 9
Original post by Sinnoh
I did some work experience at NATS for a week last summer so I know a little:

The hard part is becoming one in the first place - about 2% of people finish the training course, even though/possibly because the only academic requirements are 5 GCSEs at grade C or above.

There are some restrictions on irregular hours thanks to the union - if you're called up at night and you get home after 3 AM then you have the next day off or something. Plus there are a lot of breaks.

I wouldn't imagine part-time is an option really - being an air traffic controller is a pretty long-term gig.


Ooh, okay cool. Maybe doing work experience would be beneficial.
Reply 10
Original post by Triff1234
Ooh, okay cool. Maybe doing work experience would be beneficial.


It would be a big stretch to call it work experience lol. I'm just calling it that because they called it that.
High pay. Low entry requirements. If you're a girl you have the job almost before you've even applied. I'd say go for it.

Piloting is also a good job. Low entry requirements just need to do a year of study, not be colorblind and also be clever with your £100k debt by taking it off your taxes. Within 5 years after completing the course you'll be laughing.
As above, I get the impression it's not a bad role at all if you don't mind shift work and can get into it. The pay is good, and as I understand it's a pretty well unionised profession which helps give you a lot of job security and makes sure you don't get messed around on the job otherwise, in theory. However of course, there is a lot of responsibility in the job, so I imagine you need some mental/emotional fortitude to deal with potential stress while on the job. That said, it doesn't seem like the kind of job you "take home with you", so once you clock out you should be able to just switch off from that anyway.

Plus, generally shift based roles (particularly unionised ones) are quite good for being able to reliably leave when you're supposed to, so you're probably less likely to potentially need to stay on after your shift because something happened. However, I've no actual direct experience of the profession, the above is just based on when I looked into it a while back and on my experiences in a shift based, unionised workplace in another sector.
Hi,

I'm an air traffic controller at a fairly busy airport in the UK, so I'll weigh in.

The job is challenging but not stressful. If you don't have the qualities necessary to do the job without it overwhelming you, then you won't make it through recruitment and training. It's certainly challenging and requires concentration, but it's also the sort of job you can stop thinking about as soon as you step out of the control tower.

Please ignore David's reply above - it's incredibly inaccurate. Girls most certainly do not walk into the job, everybody is assessed to the same rigorous standards. Every year you undergo a competency check as well.

Piloting is not an easy career to break into. There are many more newly qualified pilots in a lot of debt looking for their first flying job than there are first flying jobs.
Reply 14
Original post by Grand_Exchange
Hi,

I'm an air traffic controller at a fairly busy airport in the UK, so I'll weigh in.

The job is challenging but not stressful. If you don't have the qualities necessary to do the job without it overwhelming you, then you won't make it through recruitment and training. It's certainly challenging and requires concentration, but it's also the sort of job you can stop thinking about as soon as you step out of the control tower.

Please ignore David's reply above - it's incredibly inaccurate. Girls most certainly do not walk into the job, everybody is assessed to the same rigorous standards. Every year you undergo a competency check as well.

Piloting is not an easy career to break into. There are many more newly qualified pilots in a lot of debt looking for their first flying job than there are first flying jobs.



Hi there, a train signaller here. Similar jobs I would say.

Looking to gather as much information about air traffic control as possible.

Is there an age restriction on air traffic control jobs? And what is the minimum yearly pay as a starter?
Reply 15
Original post by debo1
Hi there, a train signaller here. Similar jobs I would say.

Looking to gather as much information about air traffic control as possible.

Is there an age restriction on air traffic control jobs? And what is the minimum yearly pay as a starter?


if you’re UK based definitely do a google around on NATS - the countries leading atc provider, https://www.nats.aero/careers/trainee-air-traffic-controllers/
I’ve met a couple of people who worked in the swanwick centre, lovely bunch.

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