The U.S. Army's air traffic controller program gives people the opportunity to serve in the military while developing the skills and experience necessary to become an ATC both in uniform and as civilian. It's no surprise the program is competitive, so here are a few tips for becoming an Army air traffic controller.
- Stay in school. The Army requires that a person has earned a high school diploma to enlist, and in most cases, a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is not sufficient. A soldier must pass an aptitude test to qualify for ATC training and again to serve as an air traffic controller.
- Get in shape. In addition to the Army's basic physical and medical enlistment requirements, ATCs must satisfy the Army's Class 4 medical fitness standards, have normal color vision and be able to frequently lift more than 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and occasionally lift more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms).
- Consider ROTC. College students considering a career as an Army ATC can take basic and advanced ROTC courses while in school. Those who enroll in the advanced program are eligible for scholarships and are required to serve in the Army following graduation. Graduates of the ROTC program are commissioned as Second Lieutenants -- a rank higher than the Warrant Officers who enter the Army without a ROTC background -- and begin specialized training in their field immediately following basic training.
- Lay off the booze and drugs. Drug and alcohol use not only make it more difficult to meet the minimum medical and fitness requirements of the Army -- and in particular the tough physical demands of basic training -- they're also automatic disqualifiers from the Army ATC training program.
Not all soldiers become air traffic controllers, but for those who do, the opportunity comes with great responsibility. ATCs are tasked with keeping the skies safe for both military personnel and the hundreds of thousands of people who fly each day. Learn more about air traffic control and life in the U.S. Army by checking out the links on the next page.