Real ATC Question

This may be personal and I respect anyone that wouldn’t answer publicly on here, but I would like to ask and see if anyone in the community is actually an Air Traffic Controller. The reason why is I am in aviation, but I am considering about going back to school to become an Air Traffic Controller. I was wondering if anyone would be able to answer a few questions that I had.

  1. How stressful is it? (Which I understand size of airport factors)
  2. Does not being military matter?
  3. Do you get to pick what you control? (Ground,tower, approach, dispatch, or center)


@Tyler_Shelton is an ATC here, as our ATC Manager for the game. He is generally happy to talk when he is free!

The closest I’ve got is being in the control tower at my local airport for a bit 🙂

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Thank you letting me know. I won’t personally just message him though if he is. I don’t like to crowd people’s inboxes with questions unless they tell me they are ok with it.

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@Thunder is also a real world ATC.

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Hey there! ATC is by far one of the most rewarding fields so I highly recommend it if anyone is interested. No joke, I love going to work!

As far as stress goes, I think it’s what you make it. I’d compare it more to a rush that you may get from an extreme sport, sky diving, etc, not necessarily crippling anxiety. That said, the effort you put in to improve your skill and threshold will greatly reduce your stress over time to build more comfort.

The FAA hiring process is pretty screwed up. It’s not impossible to get picked up, but having military makes it WAY easier. Off the street hires or CTI grads will likely have to apply a few times, but you’ll eventually get it. I’m very glad I went the military route to get some unique experience on someone else’s dime while I was getting a steady paycheck to train.

When it comes to facilities you’ll have many routes depending on which route you go:

Military: No choice! You’ll select preferences but let’s be real, they’re just that. 😉

Contract Towers: Your choice depending on which you specifically apply to whether Midwest, RVA, or Serco ATC contract companies

FAA: Once you’re given an offer letter you receive a list of facilities, typically lower entry level, which you rank 1-xx in preference order. From there it’s still a bit of luck and out of your hands!

I have experience with all three of the above (6 years Air Force/10 months contract tower/2 months in the FAA) so feel free to PM with any specific questions.

Good luck!!


Without all you ATC doing an amazing job my flight to Auckland would’ve been long cancelled. 🥂 Here’s to the real hero’s of the sky


I shall give the Canadian side of ATC, for any Canadians out there looking into it.
Hiring happens all year long, and Nav Canada provides training in-house upon being successful in the testing and interview process.
Depending on the region that the candidate has been hired for, training can range between 18-24 months for IFR controllers. VFR controllers training vary between 8-18 months, although busy towers can see trainees for around 24 months.
Unlike the USA, in Canada, you apply for the region you want to work in and the company decides where you end up. Whether it is VFR, IFR or FSS.
As far as stress goes, Tyler explains it well. I found that training itself is the most stressful part of the job. Be advised though, if you find the work stressful, it probably isn’t a right fit for you.
Being military would help, however one would have to go through the same training as someone off the street. Although Nav Canada does provide the basic training for military ATC in Canada.

If you, or anyone have any more questions regarding ATC in Canada, feel free to shoot a pm.

It is the most rewarding and the best job in the world!



Which airport do you control at,Tyler?

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