Air Traffic Control Officer. £30,000+ after training!

Royal Air Force Air Operations

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Air Traffic Control Officers are charged with keeping our skies safe. These trained leaders manage the teams that help our air crews complete missions smoothly.

Typical Responsibilities:

  • Manage and co-ordinate Air Traffic Control teams
  • Use radar, radio and data processing facilities to provide aeronautical guidance to RAF aircrew
  • Facilitate the safe transit of civilian aircraft through air space

Initial Training;

Like all our officers, you will begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.  You will follow a challenging 24-week course designed to develop your leadership and management skills.  The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. 

Specialist Training;

After the IOT you will complete a 22-week specialist Air Traffic Control training course at RAF Shawbury, Shropshire. Apart from Air Traffic Controller Training, the course involves: Force Development at FDTC Fairbourne or FDTC Grantown-on-Spey, Beliefs, Values, Protocol (BVP) sessions with the Stn Padre, Air Experience Flying and a visit to Liverpool Airport.

Foundation Tour;

During your first tour you will find yourself working at either an Air Traffic Control Tower on a RAF base or at an Air Traffic Control Centre, working alongside your civilian counterparts.

Your Career Prospects;

You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years and may be selected to serve on a pension earning commission of 20 years service or age 40, whichever is the later, during this time. Promotion to the rank of Flight Lieutenant is on a time served/satisfactory service basis after 3½ years from completing IOT. Further promotion to Squadron Leader and above is by competitive selection.

Ongoing Development;

You will conduct additional training to develop your professional skills during each tour of duty and complete a further 6-week course in Area Radar Control before working at an Air Traffic Control Centre. You will also have the opportunity to undertake additional leadership and management training.

Transferable Skills;

As an Air Traffic Control Officer in the RAF you will have many of the opportunities and career prospects of your civilian counterparts with the chance to work around the world and gain a unique experience of Air Traffic Control.


You will need a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or acceptable equivalents) at a minimum of Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17), including English Language, and Mathematics or 5 Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) Standard Grades at a minimum of Grade 2, including English Language and Mathematics or 5 Scottish National Equivalent (SNE) at a minimum of Grade 5 including English Language and Mathematics.

In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels / 3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points.

Alternatively, if you hold a UK degree at Grade 2:2 or higher (or acceptable alternative) you only need Mathematics and English Language GCSEs at a minimum of C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or Mathematics and English Language SCE Standard Grades of 2 or SNE Grade 5 for both.


  • 17.5-40 (Must have entered IOT before 41st birthday)

RAF Requirements;

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency which will be discussed at your local Armed Forces Careers Office after applying. 

For more information about the role and details of our application process, visit the RAF Recruitment website. To be directed straight to our site Click 'Apply Now'.

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