Air Traffic Controllers play an important role in aircraft safety. Recruitment opportunities are common within UK airports and agencies will occasionally handle job vacancies on behalf of their clients. Using radar and radio equipment, the role offers an exciting career for candidates, with job opportunities also available with overseas employers.
The recruitment of Air Traffic Controllers is usually done directly or via a specialist private supplier. Recruitment agencies that make Aviation hires may also be used and these are found across the UK. Most of the jobs are recruited for on a permanent basis, with few temporary positions advertised. Employment firms may source candidates for contract roles, however these are also fairly uncommon.
An Air Traffic Controller can work in one of three areas. An Area Controller works in a regional control centre and tracks an aircraft en-route. An Approach Controller will then give clearance for an aircraft to advance towards the airport and will organise them into a landing order. Finally, an Aerodrome Controller will instruct the aircraft on making a safe landing.
In order to become an Air Traffic Controller, a license is required. This can be attained by completing a relevant course, such as those approved by the National Air Traffic Service (NATS). A medical exam and security checks will be carried out before candidates are recruited. The starting salary for a trainee Air Traffic Controller is around £12,000, which will potentially increase to £21,000 depending on a candidate's first posting. Typical earnings for a fully qualified professional is in excess of £32,000, however senior Air Traffic Controllers can command salaries of £100,000.
The largest employer of Air Traffic Controllers in the UK is the NATS. They recruit all types of staff, but are the only company to hire Area Controllers. Job seekers may also find career opportunities with the Royal Air Force (RAF). A recruitment agency may work with airports to find staff, with the most sought after roles typically being available within notable facilities such as Heathrow, Swanwick and Prestwick.