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Air Traffic Services FAQ

Application and Assessment

To be considered for a career in air traffic services, you must apply through Workday, NAV CANADA’s careers portalOpen a new window. You will be prompted to include basic information, such as your education and work history, as well as answer questions pertaining to the basic requirements of the role. You will also be asked about your stream preferences – we recommend you take the time to learn about the different career opportunities available in air traffic services before you apply. You can find out more about the different available roles on our website.

The basic eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Be 18 years of age or older at the time of application;
  • Have a high school diploma, or equivalency;
  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • Meet the language requirements (fluently bilingual in English and French for the Montreal Flight Information Region, including the National Capital Region; English for all other regions);
  • If required, be willing to relocate to the location of training and/or work; and
  • Be available to start training full time within 18 months of application.

Please note that if you do not meet the basic requirements, your application will be automatically screened out, and you will not be invited to complete any assessments.

Once your application has been submitted, eligible applicants (those who meet the basic requirements) will be progressed to the first assessment stage. Assessments will be distributed based on the operational requirements at the time.

Our air traffic control and flight service specialist candidates come from all different educational and workplace backgrounds – aviation experience is not required for our recruitment process.

While there is no formal preparation needed for the standard tests we administer, you can prepare yourself by learning more about the Company, exploring the available career paths and considering the following:

  • What work environment am I best suited for?
  • Do I want to travel?
  • Am I excited by the opportunity of moving to a remote or isolated post?

Before you advance through the assessment process, you should also consider why you think a career in air traffic services is right for you and what competencies you bring to the table. Additionally, ensure you understand the training requirements and relocation options for your preferred career path.

Each test we administer has a pass score. You must successfully pass each test to be considered for the subsequent assessment. If you are not successful in passing an assessment, you will be notified and you will not be invited to the next stage of the process.

Furthermore, your scores will be compared to other candidates who apply. Candidates with the top scores are selected through each stage to move forward.

Please note that we are unable to provide feedback on individual assessment performance or provide assessment scores.

Your status in Workday, NAV CANADA’s careers portalOpen a new window, is an indication of where you are in the application and assessment process.

With “Eligible for” before the assessment name: You have passed your most recent step in the assessment process. This does not guarantee you will receive an invitation to the next assessment. Your scores will be compared to those of other applicants and we will select candidates to move forward based on operational requirements.

  • First Assessment: You are eligible to receive an invitation to complete an online assessment.
  • Second Assessment: You are eligible to receive an invitation to attend in-person computer-based testing.
  • Third Assessment: You are eligible to receive an invitation to a day long, in-person assessment session.
  • Offer: You are eligible for a paid training opportunity with NAV CANADA. To fully qualify for training, you will need to meet all pre-employment conditions such as, security clearance, medical requirements, and drug testing (including cannabis).
  • Do Not Move Forward: You were unsuccessful in your most recent stage of testing. We are unable to provide feedback on individual performance and there is a 36-month waiting period before you are eligible to reapply for air traffic services. To apply for other career opportunities within the Company, visit our careers portalOpen a new window.

Assessments are conducted in the regions, depending on operational requirements. Don’t be surprised if you do not hear back right away after submitting your application. To check the status of your application, log into your account on our careers portal Open a new windowand under “Submitted Applications”, you will be able to see your application for the air traffic services role, as well as your current stage in the process.

NOTE: Training activities continue to be modified to accommodate regional health and safety guidelines, national recovery and revised operational needs. Due to reduced operational requirements, many courses have been put on hold and there are currently no scheduled assessment sessions. Applications for careers in air traffic control and flight service will continue to be accepted and kept on file.

The length of the application and assessment process can vary. Depending on when you apply and your scores, the process may move quickly or you may wait a bit longer at a certain stage. Candidates are invited to the next stage of testing based on scores from previous assessments. Your application will only be active, at any given stage, for a total of 36 months before you time out. After that point, your application will expire and you can reapply.

If you’re unsuccessful at any stage in the assessment process, you are ineligible to reapply for 36 months. During this time, we recommend reviewing the information on our careers page to learn more about the various streams, eligibility requirements and training timelines to ensure that you understand the requirements of the position you are interested in.

To apply for other career opportunities within the Company, visit our careers portalOpen a new window.

Selection and Onboarding

Passing our assessments does not guarantee a training offer. Positions are limited by operational requirements and candidates are selected based on scores. If you are successful in passing all the assessments, but are not immediately offered a training seat, you are still eligible to receive an offer for 36 months following your last assessment.

NOTE: Training activities continue to be modified to accommodate regional health and safety guidelines, national recovery and revised operational needs. Due to reduced operational requirements many courses have been put on hold and there are currently no scheduled assessment sessions.

Along with your offer, you will receive information on completing your pre-employment drug screening (including cannabis), medical testing and security screening. All of these must be completed in a timely fashion to ensure you are ready to begin your course on the start date.

  • Pre-employment drug screening: you will be required to visit a Surehire facilitiyOpen a new window within 10 business days of receiving your letter of offer to complete a drug screening. If any follow-up tests or investigations are required, you will be contacted.
  • Medical testing: NAV CANADA requires air traffic services professionals be medically fit to carry out their duties. Both air traffic control and flight services careers require medical testing prior to employment. Depending on whether or not you require additional testing, this process can be lengthy, so it is crucial you start completing your medical as soon as you receive your training offer. If you are unable to obtain your medical, you will not be permitted to start training.
  • Air traffic control: To be admitted to our training program, you will require a Civil Aviation Category 2 medicalOpen a new window issued by Transport Canada.
  • Flight services: To be admitted into our training program, you will require your medical certification for flight service specialists.
  • Security screening: Along with your offer of employment, please be advised you should also receive an email from a third-party company to your personal email address to begin the process of conducting a background screening check on behalf of NAV CANADA. Information should be provided as quickly as possible, in case there are any delays in receiving details regarding your past employment or education. Please inform your references they should expect to be contacted.

NOTE: You are responsible for any costs associated with these examinations.

To be admitted into our air traffic control training program, you will require a Civil Aviation Category 2 medical issued by Transport Canada. A Transport Canada-approved examiner conducts the required medical screening. NAV CANADA helps candidates identify practitioners who offer this service.

To be admitted into our flight service specialist training program, a medical certification for flight service specialists is required. NAV CANADA helps candidates identify practitioners who offer this service.

Depending on whether or not you require additional testing, this process can be lengthy, so it is crucial you start completing your medical as soon as you get your training offer. If you are unable to obtain your medical, you will not be permitted to start training.

NOTE: You are responsible for any costs associated with these examinations.

Training offers are typically extended four months prior to the start of training, giving you enough time to complete your pre-employment requirements and organize relocation, if required.

NOTE: Training activities continue to be modified to accommodate regional health and safety guidelines, national recovery and revised operational needs. Due to reduced operational requirements many courses have been put on hold and there are currently no scheduled assessment sessions.

Training

Not everyone selected for training is successful in becoming an air traffic services professional. The selection process ensures you have the basic aptitudes identified for those who have the best chance of being successful in training for a career in air traffic services. NAV CANADA will also provide the training resources, support programs, and world class instructors to help support you during your training program.

Training is delivered in classroom and simulator settings at regional facilities. The first phase of training is nationally standardized, but later training is tailored to the specific needs of the region. Training is very challenging and requires a large time commitment to be successful. There is a lot of information to retain and there are many skills to develop. To ensure learning, you will complete regular evaluations along the way. Check out the Air Traffic Controller and Flight Service Specialist careers pages for more details regarding the training programs.

There is no formal break during the initial training programs. However, standard provincial holidays are observed. 

If a student requires bereavement or medical leave, time away is permitted. Instructors will work with students, to the best of their abilities, to help them catch up to their peers, but if they are away for a significant amount of time, there could be a serious impact on their learning progression.

Training to become an air traffic controller or flight service specialist is a full time – and paid – job. You will be required to attend class regularly and, in addition, should expect to be completing homework assignments and studying on evenings and weekends. Check out the Air Traffic Controller and Flight Service Specialist careers pages for more details regarding the training program.

During basic training, you can expect to be working a 37.5 hour workweek. Full-time attendance is mandatory. Once you move in to On-Job training, air traffic control students will switch to shift work and a 34 hour workweek. Flight service specialist students will switch to a shift schedule, but will keep the 37.5 hour workweek.

Working

Once you have qualified as an air traffic controller or flight service specialist, relocation and the transferring of sites is governed by the Air Traffic Specialists Association of Canada (ATSAC) or Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA) collective agreements.

Canada’s air navigation system operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; work hours are shift-based. There are a variety of shift formulas, such as six days on three days off, with morning, evening and night shifts. This is not your typical 9-to-5 workplace, which means you may find the flexibility to do things a traditional schedule would not allow for. Hours of work will be governed by the Air Traffic Specialists Association of Canada (ATSAC) or Canadian Air Traffic Control Association (CATCA) collective agreements.

Compensation

You’ll start to receive a student allowance or training salary as soon as you begin your training. The allowance or salary, and the amount, depends on your career path within air traffic services.

  • Air traffic controllers: ~$48,000/year through training
  • Flight service specialists: ~$40,000/year through training

 Your salary increases once you’re fully qualified or certified.

  • Area controllers: ~$112,000 to $165,000/year
  • Tower controllers: ~$81,000 to $165,000/year
  • Flight service specialists (FIC): ~$79,000 to $98,000/year
  • Flight service specialists (AAS): ~$66,000 to $101,000/year

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

Communication

Most of the information you need is on our website. If you have not found what you are looking for, you can reach our Talent Acquisition team by emailing atscareers@navcanada.caOpen a new window or dialing 1-877-389-9934.