Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Become an Air Traffic Controller in the Philippines



Lately, I have been receiving emails regarding on how to become an ATC (Air Traffic Controller) in the Philippines. Well, let me tell you something about the nature of the job of an air traffic controller. You see, they are the guiding voices of the sky. They instruct pilots when and where to descend, climb, commence a left or right turn, and other specific instructions. They are responsible for handling air traffic in a safe, orderly, and in an expeditious way.

Here in the Philippines, Air Traffic Controllers work under the Philippine government, specifically at the Air Traffic Service of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines or CAAP.

Here are the steps on how to become one:

Pre-employment:
  1. Get a college degree. It doesn't matter whether you're a graduate of Nursing, Literature, or Applied Physics. I am a BS Biology graduate yet here I am, working as an air traffic controller in the Philippines. And oh, you must not be more than 26 years old before taking the qualifying exam.
  2. Pass the qualifying exam. The exam covers the following subjects: General Knowledge, Logic, Word Problems, and Reading and Comprehension. There are 200 items in this exam (50 items for each subject) and you are only allowed to take it for only two hours. Usually, more than a thousand hopefuls take the ATC qualifying exam but only a hundred make it to the initial cut.
  3. Pass the medical exam and the panel interview. Take note that if the doctor finds out that you're color blind, then you're automatically disqualified. Usually, those who'll interview you are chiefs or supervisors from different air traffic control facilities of the country.
  4. If you pass the interview, then you're qualified for the training.

Training and Employment Phase
  1. The training lasts for almost a year. It is conducted at the Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) located at Merville Access Road, Pasay City. The training is free but the trainee should shoulder his own expenses in board and lodging, food, and other miscellaneous expenses.
  2. The training is divided into three phases: Phase 1 (Theoretical Part about Air Traffic Service), Phase 2 (Theoretical and dry runs of the three controlled facilities: Aerodrome, Approach, and Area Control/Enroute), and OJT.
  3. After graduation, you're expected to have another round of OJT on different facilities in Manila. You're also required to fill out and sign forms and contracts for your employment, answer loads of exams for your license, and take the English Language Proficiency (ELP) exam.
  4. After obtaining your license, the head of the Air Traffic Service will soon give your facility assignment. 
It takes almost two years to become one. But if you're really into aviation, particularly in air traffic control, then it won't be a problem. The training is really challenging - both mentally and physically. Sleep deprivation is inevitable, but it will really train you on how to handle stress, most especially when handling stressful situations in air traffic.

For more information, please visit CAAP's website.

46 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:24 PM

    Thank you for this well written blog! What about the salary? Can you give us a range? Is it true that there are only few ATCs in the Philippines because others go abroad?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous9:21 AM

      May I ask when will be the next exam of Air Traffic Controller and until when could I pass the application form? I really need to know. And does it need to be a Civil Service Eligibility Passer? Thank you.

      Delete
  2. Anonymous7:30 PM

    Why does it take almost 2 years? 1 year for training and another for OJT? And where do you do and what do you do in your OJT? Is it still related to becoming an air traffic controller? :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Starting salary is 32k/month. And yes it's true that there are only at least 500 ATCs in the PH. Some chose to work abroad because the salary is way, way higher than here.

    We do coordination and other things that a controller does on his duty, of course we are supervised by a rated controller of a facility. We had our OJT at Manila Tower, Manila Area Control Center, Plaridel Tower, Manila Radar Approach, and other comms facilities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are the med exam procedures for ears, nose, and throat? Thanks

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2:55 PM

      A shocking 32k, yeap.. in the US you could have around 6kUSD which will earn you maybe more than 3M in 1 year. Great thanks for this info

      Delete
  4. Anonymous2:26 PM

    What should we expect from the interview? Hardest question asked?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey bro, just some questions. You've stated that there will be a second OJT, will it be a paid one or any form of compensation? Roughly how long will the 2nd OJT last?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous11:01 PM

    hi! does the ojt already have salary? and if it does, how much? thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, roughly 11k a month.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3:00 PM

      Can i apply this month?

      Delete
  7. So can i apply for this year?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I HOPE IM NOT LATE TO APPLY FOR THIS YEAR

    ReplyDelete
  9. Please check CAAP's official website at caap.gov.ph for announcements.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous9:12 PM

    Oh good news. According to this post by infinithinkblog, the government will provide allowance for the new training program.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Only Filipinos are allowed to be ATC? or Foreigners also can apply to be ATC?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous12:31 AM

    kailan kaya ang susunod na exam, meron kaya this year or next year?... I was planning to take the exam last year but the schedule coincides with my board exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please visit caap's website. may exam sila this july

      Delete
  13. Anonymous11:54 AM

    is it really required to have a 20/20 vision? or ok lang na may eyeglasses?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Hello po! Kahit po wala civil service pwedi mag apply? pwedi din po ba sa girls? ano po ang qualities na kailangan? im planning to apply po kasi. hope you can help me. Thanks po

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:04 AM

      Please refer to the CAAP website www.caap.gov.ph under Updates & Announcements

      Delete
  15. Anonymous9:56 PM

    Why is there an age limit when you want to become an Air Traffic Controller? That's age discrimination!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Good morning po! Ano po ang type of exam? :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Good evening everyone, I am a license Electronics Engineer (Oct. 2014) with a bit of disability in my left ear. I mean my left ear doesn't function well but the rest of my senses work well. Will I automatically fail during the medical exam just like the colorblind people? Hoping for an answer from employees of CAAP. Good evening and more power!!! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Is the exam free? Di ko kasi mahanap sa website ng caap eh :( thanks

    ReplyDelete
  19. What's the scope of the exam?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous7:31 AM

    hi, could i ask if corrective eyeglasses are allowed?

    ReplyDelete
  21. hello po. pwede mag-ask kung ilang araw po ang bakasyon ng air traffic controller? thanks

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello, Thanks for the well written explanation of the process. Can you tell me during the course if the trainees are allotted any time off during the weekends or allowed to go out into town during the evening hours? Or is it run like a strict boot camp and the trainees are required to stay in the "barracks" during the nights and not allowed out even during weekends?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nate! During my time (ca 2012-2013) the training was grueling, sans the military type. And also, we are free to go wherever we want during weekends, when there are no exams or dry runs. Today, the ATC training is similar to boot camp where people are trained military style and I've heard they only have limited time to go home. So sad

      Delete
  23. That's too bad, Thanks for the update however. Best regards!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi, do you also train for IFR air traffic control or area controller position? Also, are there any fees for training period and OJT?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am studying to be an Air Traffic Control in the US. I would like to know how much the salary would be in US dollars if i move to the Philiipines and become Air Traffic Control. How could I transfer my studies from the Us to the Philippines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be better to pursue your studies and career in the US in my opinion. The salary here is way, way lower- even lowest in Asia! You would not want that plus you would have plenty of benefits in the states, as here I am unsure of!

      Delete
  26. Anonymous11:36 PM

    All I can say is Wow! Philippine ATC salary is really quite low. Daily pay is equivalent to an hourly pay of a Canadian ATC. ATC's should be paid more in my opinion. They are responsible for air traffic safety and it is stressful (I'm speaking on behalf of my husband).

    ReplyDelete
  27. kindly answer the following if possible
    what about foreigners ....r they allowed to take part of this training..and how about other equivalent degrees in lieu of a college degree.
    meaning to say is that im a CPL holder ..can this serve as an allowed degree to participate in the program ?
    and lastly where else can i take air traffic controller training here in philippines .....thanx a lot for hearing me out

    ReplyDelete
  28. kindly answer these ?s for me..r foreigners allowed to participate in this program ?
    iam a cpl holder by the way , is there any other way to take the air traffic controller training here in philippines ?im not looking for 4 years training .thanks a lot hearing me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should be a citizen of the Philippines.

      Delete
  29. How is the facility assignment determined? Do successful trainees have the option to choose where to be assigned to? Or maybe those with better grades/performance have the privilege to choose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on the availability of the facility. Be ready to be assigned anywhere in the Philippines.

      Delete
  30. Hi Mr. Bulseco, do you have any reviewer for the exam? or recommended reference? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What is the passing rate?thank you

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sir pwede po ba ako kahit associate graduate po ako ng aircraft maintenance?..

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous10:31 PM

    Hello Sir!

    what about the exam
    what are the commonly asked questions?
    is it a panel interview?
    what should we expect?

    TIA Sir

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anonymous5:23 AM

    A. General Qualifications:

    1. Natural born citizen of the Philippines
    2. single
    3. not more than twenty-six (26) years old as of May 31, 2017,
    4. physically, mentally and psychologically fit,
    5. of good moral character,
    6. with good command of oral and written English
    7. without criminal, civil or administrative case, and
    8. has not been dishonorably separated from Government or private service.

    B. Additional Qualifications: Air Traffic Management Officer (ATMO)

    1. Baccalaureate degree holder of any course, Baccalaureate degree graduating students may apply upon submission of a Certification from the School Registrar that they will graduate by May 29, 2017 (Transcript of Records or Diploma must be submitted by May 29, 2017).
    2. computer literate, and
    3. with 20/20 vision without corrective lenses, and not color blind.

    Secure application forms from the HRM Division of the CAAP in Pasay City, or any CAAP Testing Center

    source: http://caap.gov.ph/index.php/55-civil-aviation-officer-candidate-scholarship-program-batch-03

    ReplyDelete

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