FAQs on air traffic controller training.

The job of an air traffic controller has so many aspects that it tends to lead to as many questions. We have collected the most common ones here. The answers are brief so you can quickly find what you need to know.

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  • May I look over an air traffic controller's shoulder?

    We are happy to welcome you on-site. Get an idea of the controller's tasks on one of our taster days including a visit of our simulation facilities and control centre (depending on actual security situation). Some of our branches offer visits as well. Find out more here.


  • What exactly does an air traffic controller do?

    In a nutshell: You control and monitor aircraft in the air and on the ground, ensuring the safety of air traffic. There are two basic types of air traffic controllers: tower controllers and area/approach controllers. Tower controllers ensure the safety on and around airports and normally have a direct line of sight with the arriving and departing aircraft that they control. Area and approach controllers, on the other hand, are responsible for all the airspace outside the direct vicinity of airports using the latest surveillance technology. It's a fascinating job. Find out more here.


  • How will I know if the job of an air traffic controller is the right one for me?

    That's a question that you have to answer for yourself at the end of the day. You need to be realistic and honest about your suitability for the job. In the following, you can see a brief overview of the personal qualities and skills you will need for the job. There is no getting around these qualities. You need the distinct ability to think in terms of three dimensions. You need strong nerves. You need to have a real sense of responsibility. If you also have a good memory, are good with numbers, have an affinity for technology and excellent English, you have the right foundations. There is more, of course. You can see the complete list of requirements here.


  • A week-long look behind the scenes – does it meet the requirements schools have for internships?

    Unfortunately, not. In general, we don't offer this kind of internship. Because of safety and security reasons, teachers are not allowed to visit their pupils, for example. We also won't be able to give you an evaluation at the end, such as on your punctuality, conduct or participation.


  • Does DFS provide accommodation for those attending the taster course?

    Unfortunately not. However, we can recommended places to stay nearby. For example, there is a youth hostel in Frankfurt and there are two hotels in Langen (Achat and Steigenberger).


  • How do I register for the taster course?

    First of all, you should telephone the DFS contact person for air traffic controller taster courses (+49 (0)6103 707-5173) to arrange an appointment. Afterwards, you can send an e-mail for the time agreed. Your contact person will then send you a confirmation.


  • Why is becoming an air traffic controller a great career choice (even after a degree)?

    It starts with a good salary during the training and taking on responsibility from the very beginning. These are just some of the reasons why it's a good career decision. It also offers a nice mix of theory and practice. Find out what makes our training so great and where a job at DFS can take you here.


  • What will I earn during my training?

    The starting salary of a trainee is around €900 per month. That applies to all trainees in all jobs at DFS. The trainee salary rises bit by bit over the course of your training.


  • How do I apply to become an air traffic controller?

    Through our application portal. We are happy to assist and advise you if you need help. If you are ready to apply, your future is only a click away.


  • Are there any deadlines?

    It is now possible to submit applications for training positions for the year 2017.


  • What documents do I need to include in my application?

    You will need to submit a cover letter, which should also include the earliest date you can start, and a CV in the tabular form common in Germany. If you do not have a university entrance qualification (Abitur) yet, you can submit your academic records from the previous two terms and hand in the certificate later. Applicants who are presently enrolled in a bachelor's degree programme should submit their academic records (transcripts) from their university. Otherwise, send a copy of the degree certificate you got on graduation. You should include copies of any other courses, certificates and qualifications you have earned along the way, such as any language qualifications. There are some rules for foreign applicants that might apply to you which you should bear in mind.


  • What can I expect of the selection procedure?

    There is a multi-step selection procedure where we will really put you to the test. You will have to fill in a questionnaire about your life and attend up to two days of computer tests and intensive interviews at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in Hamburg. You will need to set aside a week for this. At the end of the selection procedure, you will undergo an aviation medical examination to assess your medical fitness. Step by step, you will be getting closer to your dream job.


  • How should I prepare myself for the selection tests?

    A good start is half the battle. We will give you all the information you need in advance. In general, we would advise against going to commercial preparatory courses. Your English is an area you can easily work on, though.


  • I have already taken part in an aptitude test at another air navigation service provider.  Can I apply anyway?

    All those who have successfully completed such a process are welcome to apply. However, if you failed such an aptitude test or had to drop out of your ab-initio air traffic controller training, we cannot consider your application.


  • Can I select where I work after the training?

    Where you work depends on the vacancies in each region and on your abilities. You will be informed in good time where you are going to be posted later so you can organise everything.


  • Will I later be able to work abroad with this form of training?

    The training to become an air traffic controller at DFS is carried out according to international guidelines. Nevertheless, there can be large variations in the recruitment requirements from country to country, which can make working abroad difficult. The company, however, is involved in many international projects which require working abroad.


  • What kind of career opportunities are there?

    If you have the potential and the ambition, you can move on from the position of air traffic controller. You will need to work on ironing out your weaknesses and improving your strengths. You can use the knowledge you have gained as an instructor for the next generation, you can work as an examiner, you can work on procedures for technical systems or you can work in international projects.


  • Is it true that it is a job dominated by men?

    A clear no is the answer – it has not been that way for a long time. Equal rights is a core value at DFS: Men and women undergo the same training, have the same promotion prospects and, of course, are paid the same.