How do you Become an Air Traffic Controller?
Reader Submission:
I’m interested in become a future ATC’er. I already work as a ramp agent in the tower (lol) and have a few questions. What do I need to do to prepare for the AT-SAT test? How stressful is the job on a day to day basis? Is it more or less than you expected? How intense was the training at the academy? Thanks in advance, Moses
Dear Moses,
So you are interested in having a bright future as an ATC’er? As far as the academy goes, none of us here at ATC MEMEs went. They assembled “AC” out of spare parts from failed trainees. I was a former Military ATC’er, so naturally I was already an ATC God. As far as the other guy is concerned, he isn’t really into the whole “Traditional” route kinda thing, so he opted to skip it. As the name implies, The AT-SAT test is administered in San Antonio, Texas (SAT is the airport ID for San Antonio INTL airport, and AT simply means at). Since none of us lived in San Antonio, we hooked up with some Chivers and hit the riverwalk, and we hit it hard. Suffice to say, we were pretty hungover for the try outs the next day. The AT-SAT test is an sixteen-hour, practical application exam that comprises seven cognitive/physical tests to measure aptitudes required for a career in air traffic control. Tests compiled in the AT-SAT screening battery are: 1) Cone Stacking. 2) Wand Signaling. 3) Chow-run Accuracy. 4) The Obstacle Course. 5) Advanced Waterboarding. 6) Aircraft Dodging. 7) Sleep Deprivation *Note-If selected for Florida or Louisiana, prospective ATC’ers must pass an Alligator evasion test. Honestly if we were able to pass this test with a cumulative .5 BAC, you should be good. Practice your cone stacking, that’s where most people wash out. I hope I answered your question. Cheers. -AX