How to Become an Air Traffic Controller in the Philippines


Air traffic controllers play a critical role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of air travel. In the Philippines, aspiring individuals can pursue a career in this exciting field. In this article, we will delve into the duties of an air traffic controller, the required training, and the qualifications and requirements needed to embark on this path. Additionally, we will explore the salary prospects and work schedules associated with this profession in the Philippines.

What is an Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are responsible for managing and directing the flow of air traffic within designated airspace. Their primary duties include:

Monitoring and Controlling Air Traffic

They use radar systems, communication equipment, and visual observation to track aircraft movements and provide instructions to pilots regarding takeoff, landing, altitude changes, and routes.

Ensuring Safety

They maintain constant vigilance to prevent collisions and maintain safe distances between aircraft. They are trained to handle emergencies and guide pilots through adverse weather conditions.

    Coordinating with Pilots and Ground Staff

    Air traffic controllers communicate vital information to pilots, including weather updates, runway conditions, and traffic congestion. They also liaise with the ground staff to manage the ground movements of aircraft.

    In the Philippines, air traffic controllers are employed by the Philippine government specifically at the Air Traffic Service of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines or CAAP.

    Requirements and Qualifications

    To become an air traffic controller in the Philippines, individuals must meet the following requirements:

    • You must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines;
    • Single;
    • Not more than twenty-six (26) years old;
    • Baccalaureate degree holder of any course;
    • Computer literate;
    • With 20-20 vision without corrective lenses, and not color blind;
    • Has good command of the English language;
    • Has not been convicted of criminal or administrative cases;
    • Has not been dishonorably separated from Government or private service.

    You must pass the nationwide qualifying examination after submitting your application and documentary requirements. This is a 200-item exam that covers subjects in General Knowledge, Logic, Word Problems, and Reading and Comprehension.

    After you pass the exam, you must now pass the medical exam and the panel interview. Make sure you are not colorblind and physically fit for the job. As for the interview, those who’ll interview you are the chiefs or supervisors from different air traffic control facilities in the country. Here, you will demonstrate your English language skills. Because English is the international language of aviation, you must have a strong grasp of the language.

    How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

    Becoming an air traffic controller in the Philippines involves a comprehensive training process. Here are the key steps:


    The training is conducted for free by the Civil Aviation Training Center (CATC) in Pasay City and it lasts for 8-10 months. It is divided into three phases, Phase 1 (Theoretical Part of Air Traffic Service), Phase 2 (Theoretical and dry runs of the three controlled facilities: Aerodrome, Approach, and Area Control/Enroute), and On-the-Job Training (OJT).

    You will not be paid during training and will be responsible for all expenses such as board and accommodation, meals, and other expenses. Be mentally and physically prepared, since the training is really challenging.

    On-the-Job Training

    Following graduation, you must complete another round of OJT at various locations in Manila. You must also fill out and sign paperwork and contracts for your job, take numerous exams for your license, and take the English Language Proficiency (ELP) exam.

    After you receive your license, the chief of the Air Traffic Service will assign you a facility, so be prepared to relocate anywhere in the country.

    Salary of an Air Traffic Controller in the Philippines

    The starting salary of an Air Traffic Controller is Php 48,000. Other benefits include GSIS, Pag-IBIG, and limited free domestic flights.

    Work Schedule of an Air Traffic Controller

    As for the work schedule, air traffic controllers operate on a rotating shift basis to ensure 24/7 coverage. They may work irregular hours, including nights, weekends, and public holidays. The specific shift patterns and rest periods are determined by the employing authority and are subject to change.

    Working as an air traffic controller is a demanding job. That is why a typical working day consists of 3-4 hours of duty followed by a 4-5 hour break.

    Is Civil Service Eligibility Required?

    You do not need civil service eligibility to be an Air Traffic Controller. However, because you work for the government, you must have second-level eligibility or its equivalent (RA 1080, PD 907) to become a permanent employee or to be promoted.


    While the work of an air traffic controller comes with its challenges, it also offers competitive salaries and the chance to contribute to the safe and efficient operation of air travel. If you have a keen interest in aviation, enjoy working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, and possess the necessary qualities, embarking on a career as an air traffic controller in the Philippines can be a rewarding and fulfilling choice.


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