Requirements to become an air traffic controller.

Extraordinary jobs demand extraordinary people. If you want to become an air traffic controller you need to be in good health and have a high level of mental strength and communication skills. After all, we are talking about the safety of millions of travellers. Do you have what it takes?

A first impression

Do you think you have what it takes? Check out the criteria you need to meet below.

Get to know DFS

What we are looking for.


  • The basics

    • Feel free to apply if you already have your bachelor's degree under your belt, or you are nearing its completion. We also accept applications for candidates with Abitur (university entrance qualification).

    • You need to be able to begin training within the next 12 months.

    • You are not older than 24 years.

    • You attended English classes until completing your Abitur and you continued to improve your English at university. English is the language of aviation.

    • Your proficiency in English and German has been certified as C1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
    • Feel free to apply if you have already passed an aptitude test for air traffic controllers at another air navigation service provider.

    • However, if you failed such a test elsewhere, or had to drop out of your ab-initio air traffic controller training, we cannot consider your application.

    It is not a problem if you have not finished school or university yet as long as it will not take longer than a year for you to finish. You might get an offer to start training that is subject to the successful completion of your studies even if you pass our selection process. If you do not have a university entrance qualification from school (Allgemeine Hochschulreife) but you do have some form of university degree or you are going to complete one you will be asked to submit this with your application.


  • Medical fitness

    • Your visual acuity is 100% and you have perfect colour vision. In addition, you have perfect hearing.

    • Glasses or contact lenses are allowed provided that the eye correction does not exceed +5/-6 dioptres, considering possible cases of astigmatism.

    • Some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, may disqualify you on medical grounds.

    The requirements as regards medical fitness are governed by European legislation (Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/340). 

    You can find out more information about the medical requirements here: Medical CheckThe key information on medical fitness can be found here on pages 130 to 172 of the PDF.


  • Your strengths

    • No matter what the challenges, you always take the right decision and your colleagues can always rely on you.

    • Your spatial ability is superb. To take a concrete example: You can tell immediately if the sofa in a catalogue is going to fit through your living room door or not.

    • You can devote your full concentration to something if you want, but you are still aware of what is happening around you.

    • Your heart beats faster when you see what a new piece of technology can do.


  • Softskills

    • You have a strong sense of responsibility and are always aware of the consequences of your actions.

    • You are a team player who has a good head for figures. Mental arithmetic was never a problem for you. You can keep a cool head and take the decisions that need to be made no matter how hectic the situation is.

    • You are flexible about where in Germany you will end up working and are willing to do shift work.

    • You will need to undergo a security clearance and background check.



Information for foreign applicants

We warmly welcome applications from abroad. There is, naturally, a little more red tape that has to be completed. If you come from a non-EU country, or you if do not fall under some other relevant law, you will need to have a valid indefinite work permit for Germany. You will need to get your school leaving certificate officially recognised as being equivalent to the German ones required. You will also need to get a confirmation from your consulate that you will not be called up for military service.You will need to have any certificates and qualifications translated by a certified translator. Depending on where you are assigned, German could also be required as a working language. If you do not have a German university entrance level qualification (Abitur), you will have to submit a certificate proving your German is at the C1 level under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.