Good – you’re here. You’re a details person. We like that!
We bet you have a bunch of questions about becoming an air traffic controller. Not a problem! Read on for the answers to any questions or concerns you might have.
How much do newly graduated air traffic controllers earn?
First things first - the starting salary for new controllers is approximately $65,800. However the total package (including salary, allowances, company superannuation contributions and other payments) is typically in excess of $95,000 in the first year.
And how much does it cost to study to be an air traffic controller?
If you're selected for ATC training, the current fees are:
Part 1 of the ATC Training Programme is $14,000 (inclusive of GST). This comprises of the following courses:
051 Licencing Subject,
052 Aerodrome Control,
053 Approach Control Procedural,
054 Area Control Surveillance, and
055 Area Control Procedural (if applicable)
This fee covers all tuition costs and course materials of Part 1 of the ATC Training Programme.
Following successful completion of Part 1, you will need to enrol in Part 2 (on-the-job-training - OJT) of the NZ Air Traffic Training Programme. Part 2 (OJT) fees are dependent on OJT location, and equivalent rating requirements.
The fee for Part 2 comprises one of the following:
Aerodrome rating - $7,000; or
Aerodrome and Approach Control Procedural rating - $14,000; or
Area Control Surveillance and Area Control Procedural rating - $14,000.
A deposit of $1,000 will confirm your acceptance on the course. The balance of the course fee is paid three weeks before the course starts.
You can access a student loan if you meet Study Link's eligibility requirements. You may also be eligible for a student allowance. You don't have to pay back the student loan until you start earning.
As each person's entitlement varies according to their personal circumstances, we recommend that you contact StudyLink on 0800 88 99 00 to discuss eligibility. Please note: fees are reviewed annually and subject to change.
Can Airways provide any assistance with study costs?
Don’t worry, we’ll help you out. We provide a scholarship to students for the second phase of training. The scholarship is $185.00 per week while students undertake on the job training.
You do need to carefully consider your financial situation and circumstances prior to accepting a place on the course. For the period of training you need to be able to support yourself financially and fund your living expenses.
The training is intense, and requires commitment to after hours study. Therefore a part time job to help fund training is not recommended.
Where else can my ATC qualification take me?
Your qualification can be used in many countries overseas. A New Zealand air traffic controller licence issued by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority is recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
You’ll also be awarded a NZQA Level 7 Diploma on completion which you can cross credit to Massey University’s Bachelor of Aviation Management. If you’re not yet 20.5 years old, you can complete the first two years before coming to training. You can also complete it after you finish training through Airways’ study assistance programme.
I want to be an air traffic controller. What can I do until I'm 20.5?
While you can’t study ATC until you are 20.5 years old, you can still apply now. We'll offer you the first course you are eligible to do once you have turned 20.5. In the meantime, you have a few options that will ultimately give your career a jump-start.
Get a degree and get a real job!
Study for two years at Massey University in the Bachelor of Aviation Management
Then come to Airways and train as an ATC
Cross credit your Airways training to Massey and get a real job and a degree!
The degree will set you up for a variety of career opportunities within Airways:
Gap year experience
Volunteer Services Abroad
What qualifications do I need?
A minimum of Level 2 NCEA pass (12 credits pass in Maths at Level 1 and 8 credits in English at Level 2) and 42 other credits at Level 3 or equivalent will show us you have the right stuff for training. Alternatively, we'll accept a New Zealand PPL or CPL.
How long is ATC training and where will I be based?
Six months of the course is spent at the Training Centre in Christchurch or very occasionally in Palmerston North. Then, approximately six months is spent doing on-the-job training at a control tower.
The locations for on-the-job training vary for each course, however these locations typically include Palmerston North, Ohakea, Napier and New Plymouth Towers. Occasionally Dunedin and Nelson may also be used as on-the-job training locations. Students are advised of the training locations during their initial training course.
If I am accepted to train in Christchurch or Palmerston North, will accommodation be provided?
If you are accepted you will be expected to find your own accommodation. There may be others also starting the course at the same time who might be looking for a flatmate.
Will I get a job at the end of ATC training?
Yes. Once you have successfully completed your on-the-job training you'll be offered a job subject to:
Obtaining an ATC licence
Recommendation from the Training Centre and your OJT instructors that you've demonstrated suitable behaviour to be an Airways employee
A pre-employment drug test
A Ministry of Justice criminal records check
I'm colour blind - will this affect my chances of obtaining the required medical standard?
Sorry, we can't accept applicants with aeromedically significant colour blindness. Refer to page 36 of the Medical Standards and Certification for Class 3 information.
What sort of tests will I have to sit?
If your application meets our requirements, we will ask you to sit our aptitude tests. These tests are specifically designed to see if you have the ability to be an air traffic controller. We measure your ability to follow written instructions, to visualise three dimensionally, work with complicated patterns and numbers and check data. We also measure your numerical ability. If you are successful at this stage you will be considered for a place at the Assessment Centre.
What is the Assessment Centre?
We ask selected candidates to attend an Assessment Centre in Christchurch for one day. Candidates undergo further cognitive testing and psychological assessments, and are also assessed in group and individual activities. Candidates are also interviewed by key Airways staff.
Although this is an in-depth process, most candidates have given us feedback that they have enjoyed the day and have learnt more about themselves from the process. The final selection is made at the completion of this assessment.
How do I apply for an air traffic controller training course?
From our job vacancies page you can apply directly when advertising is underway or register to receive an alert as soon as our advertising campaign kicks off.
What will I learn on this course?
The induction module covers meteorology, aircraft operations, air navigation, navigation aids, communications, aviation law, and publications. The aerodrome and approach modules cover the basics of hands-on air traffic control in the aerodrome tower environment. It teaches trainees how to keep aircraft separated without using radar. After this you will undergo on-the-job training at an Airways control tower.
What is OJT?
OJT means "on the job" practical training at one of the Airways control towers.