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Air Traffic Controller

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Technology and Teamwork

Monty Badyal, Air Traffic Controller, Kelowna Tower

“I have worked in Airport Operations at YVR, taught people to fly airplanes, and even flown as an airline pilot, but air traffic control has been the most demanding and rewarding career of them all.”

Emily Lacroix, Air Traffic Controller, Toronto ACC

“My favourite part of my job is that it changes every time I sit down at the radar. There may be the same list of scheduled flights, but the timing or weather being different changes everything. It keeps work fresh and exciting.”

Amber Doiron, Air Traffic Controller, Halifax Tower

“Tower control involves a lot of teamwork. It is essential that tower controllers are able to hop between tasks and keep a picture of what the controller next to them is handling at all times."

Types of Air Traffic Controllers

Where We Work

ACC controllers train and work at one of the following locations: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto (Mississauga), Montreal, Moncton or Gander. ACC controllers typically begin their career at the ACC where they commenced training.

Vancouver
Edmonton
Winnipeg
Toronto
Montreal
Moncton
Gander

Where We Work

Tower controllers complete their initial training at the regional ACC, but are assigned their on-the-job training (OJT) and work location based on operational needs. Typically, they will be assigned to a tower in their respective flight information region. Currently, there are 42 airport control towers across the country.

Abbotsford
Boundary Bay
Calgary
Edmonton
Fort McMurray
Fredericton
Gander
Halifax
Hamilton
Kelowna
Langley
London
Mirabel
Moncton
Montreal
Oshawa
Ottawa
Pitt Meadows
Prince George
Quebec
Red Deer
Regina
Saskatoon
Sault Ste. Marie
Springbank
St. Andrews
St. Honore
St. Hubert
St-Jean
St. John's
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Toronto Billy Bishop
Vancouver
Vancouver Harbour Tower
Victoria
Villeneuve
Waterloo
Whitehorse
Windsor
Winnipeg
Yellowknife
Map
Satelite

Recruiting for Success

Applicants do not need to have a background in aviation because NAV CANADA provides all the training necessary to become an air traffic controller. We are looking for candidates who will thrive in our operations environment and possess qualities that will serve them in air traffic control training and their careers.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Here are some of the qualities we look for in our applicants:

Resilience / ability to perform under pressure

Strong motivation

Problem-solving and decision-making skills

Effective communication skills

Teamwork

The Selection Process

The selection process is rigorous and designed to assess the core competencies required to be an air traffic control professional. The competencies we assess ensure we select candidates who have the best chance of success through training and on the job.

Please note that throughout the selection process, successfully passing one stage does not guarantee that a candidate will receive an invitation for additional testing. A candidate has 36 months (3 years) to be invited to the next stage in the selection process before their application expires. After the application expires, they may choose to reapply. If at any point in the process a candidate is unsuccessful, there is a 36 month waiting period before they may reapply.

Training

Training to become an air traffic controller at NAV CANADA requires a lot of hard work – but it’s worth it. In classrooms, high tech simulators, and on the job, you will learn complex information regarding air traffic management, safety, and much more. There is a steep learning curve, but we supply you with all the tools you need to succeed, including a dedicated instructional team, peer support programs and cutting-edge technology.

In the section below, you will find information on what is involved in training for both ACC and tower control careers, from training duration and schedules to work locations and compensation.

ACC Controller

Tower Controller

Generic training

The first stage of training consists of classroom and simulator training. Students start by learning basic operational rules and phraseology, while completing simulation training in a low-complexity setting before progressing to specialty-specific training.

  • Location: area control centre
  • Work schedule: 37.5 hours/week, Monday to Friday
  • Duration: 6 to 8 months
  • Student allowance: ~ $48,000/year

Basic training

The first stage of training consists of classroom and simulator training. Students start by learning basic operational rules and phraseology.

  • Location: area control centre
  • Work schedule: 37.5 hours/week, Monday to Friday
  • Duration: 5 to 6 months
  • Student allowance: ~ $48,000/year

Specialty-specific training

Upon completion of generic training, students training to be an ACC controller will move on to a specialty-specific course. This training includes working with an enhanced simulator designed to replicate the airspace to which you will be assigned.

  • Location: Area control centre
  • Work schedule: 34 hours/week
  • Duration: 6 to 7 months
  • Training salary: ~ $48,000/year

Tower course

Prior to on-the-job training, all students complete a course for their specific location. Coursework may include learning about specific procedures related to the airspace and/or specific simulation exercises.

For students assigned to a complex tower location for on-the-job training, a complex tower course may be required, where students may complete some of their training in a simulator that closely represents the specific tower environment.

  • Location: area control centre or assigned tower location
  • Work schedule: 37.5 hours/week, Monday to Friday
  • Duration: may vary, depending on tower and complexity
  • Student allowance: ~ $48,000/year

On-the-job training

The final phase for all courses is on-the-job training, where students are paired with a licensed ACC controller who will serve as their on-the-job instructor.

  • Location: area control centre
  • Work schedule: 34 hours/week
  • Duration: 8 to 12 months
  • Training salary: ~ $48,00/year

On-the-job training

The final phase for all courses is on-the-job training, where students are paired with a licensed tower controller who will serve as their on-the-job instructor.

  • Location: Your assigned on-the-job tower location
  • Work Schedule: 34 hours/week
  • Duration: 5 to 12 months
  • Training salary: ~ $48,000/year

Completion of training

Total duration of training: 20 to 27 months 

Salary range for a licensed ACC controller: ~ $112,000 to $165,000*

*These rates reflect the 2021 union pay range under the current collective agreement. 

In addition to the base salary, ACC controllers can receive premiums based on location, holidays and shifts, and bonuses related to services delivered in both official languages and duties as a supervisor or on-the-job instructor. 

Completion of training

Total duration of training: 10 to 18 months 

Salary range for a licensed tower controller: ~ $81,000 to $165,000*

*These rates reflect the 2021 union pay range under the current collective agreement. 

In addition to the base salary, tower controllers can receive premiums based on location, holidays and shifts, and bonuses related to services delivered in both official languages and duties as a supervisor or on-the-job instructor.