Applicants may meet minimum qualification requirements on the basis of experience, education, or, for GS-7 positions, one of the alternate provisions described below.
Progressively responsible experience that demonstrated the potential for learning and performing air traffic control work. Two years of such experience is required for GS-4 positions, and 3 years is required for GS-5 positions.
Experience in a military or civilian air traffic facility that demonstrated possession of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the level of work of the specialization for which application is made. This experience must have provided a comprehensive knowledge of appropriate air traffic control laws, rules, and regulations.
For Station Positions: Providing information to pilots on such matters as weather, air routes, navigational aids, and airport conditions before and during flight. This specialization also requires:
For Terminal Positions: Issuing control instructions and advice to pilots in the vicinity of airports to assure proper separation of aircraft and to expedite their safe and efficient movement. This specialization also requires:
For Center Positions: Controlling aircraft operating enroute along the airways to assure proper separation and safe and expeditious movement of such aircraft. This specialization also requires:
For Research and Development Positions: Experience in a terminal, station, or center that demonstrated the ability or potential to:
For Combination Positions: Positions involving a combination of the duties of two or more specializations require that applicants meet the qualification requirements for the appropriate specializations.
Up through GS-7, specialized experience in one specialization is fully qualifying for reassignment or promotion into another specialization. At GS-9 and above, experience and training in one specialization is qualifying for another specialization if the applicant's total background indicates that he or she can gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities required in the new assignment after a reasonable period of orientation and training. All positions at the full performance level of each specialization require skill and training in the work of the specialization.
For all specializations, qualifying specialized experience must have provided the ability to:
Level of Experience: For each grade level, creditable experience must have equipped applicants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the full range of duties of the position for which application is being made. Such experience is typically demonstrated by accomplishment of assignments of the difficulty and responsibility described in the position classification standard used to evaluate positions at the next lower grade level in the normal line of promotion to the position being filled.
For GS-5 Positions: A full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree meets the requirements for GS-5.
For GS-7 Positions: Superior academic achievement at the baccalaureate level or 1 full year of graduate study meets the requirements for GS-7.
Applicants who pass the written test qualify for GS-7 if they:
Under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 3307, a maximum entry age has been established for Terminal and Center positions.
Applicants for competitive appointment and inservice placement to all positions in this series at GS-7 and below must pass a written test. A written test may also be required for positions above GS-7.
In addition to meeting all other requirements, applicants must demonstrate possession of the traits and characteristics important in air traffic control work. Applicants who qualify in the written test and/or meet the experience and training requirements will be required to appear for a pre-employment interview to determine whether they possess the personal characteristics necessary for performance of air traffic control work.
Applicants who have passed the written test (and the interview, if required) may be required to pass additional air traffic control aptitude screening for positions in the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration. Persons who do not pass the aptitude evaluation testing requirements will not be appointed to these positions.
At all trainee and developmental levels, employees must learn the skills needed for operation at higher levels of responsibility. Failure of employees to meet training requirements for or accept promotion to higher grade air traffic control specialist positions may constitute grounds for reassignment, demotion, or separation from employment.
Air traffic control specialists in all specializations must possess or obtain, within uniformly applicable time limits, the facility ratings required for full performance at the facility where the position is located.
Applicants must possess or obtain a valid Air Traffic Control Specialist Certificate and/or Control Tower Operator Certificate, if appropriate. These certificates require demonstrating knowledge of basic meteorology, basic air navigation, standard air traffic control and communications procedures, the types and uses of air navigation aids, and regulations governing air traffic.
Facility ratings require demonstration of a knowledge of the kind and location of radio aids to air navigation, the terrain, the landmarks, the communications systems and circuits, and the procedures peculiar to the area covered by the facility.
In general, air traffic control specialist applicants and employees must have the capacity to perform the essential functions of these positions without risk to themselves or others. The provision of sufficient information about physical capacity for employment requires that before appointment applicants undergo appropriate pre-employment physical/medical evaluations.
The physical impairments/medical conditions that follow, unless otherwise noted, are disqualifying because there are medical and/or management reasons to conclude that an individual with such impairment/condition cannot perform the duties of the position without unacceptable risk to his or her own health, or to the health or safety of others (employees or the public).
Applicants for initial employment to air traffic control specialist positions must meet the following requirements. (Unless otherwise indicated, these requirements are identical for all specializations.)
Equivalents in Near Visual Acuity NotationsStandard Test Chart: 14/14Snellen Metric: 0.50MJaeger: J-1Metric: 6/6
No established medical history or clinical diagnosis of any of the following:
A history, review of all available records, and clinical and laboratory examination will be utilized to determine the presence or absence of substance dependency, including alcohol, narcotic, and non-narcotic drugs. Wherever clinically indicated, the applicant must demonstrate an absence of these on any clinical or psychological tests required as part of the medical evaluation.
The physical requirements in this section apply to: (1) air traffic control specialists in the center and terminal specializations who are actively engaged in the separation and control of air traffic, (2) immediate supervisors of air traffic control specialists actively engaged in the separation and control of air traffic, and (3) air traffic control specialists in the station specialization who regularly perform flight assistance services.
Employees occupying the types of positions described above must requalify in an annual medical examination, usually given during the employee's month of birth. Controllers incurring illness, injury, or incapacitation at any time between the annual examinations must be medically cleared before returning to air traffic control duty. Examinations, including laboratory tests and consultations, will be accomplished to the extent required to determine medical clearance for continued duty. New employees are required to meet the retention requirements by examination during the first 10 months of service.
Employees who are found to be not physically or emotionally qualified for air traffic control duties at any time will be subject to reassignment to a position for which they are fully qualified, retirement for disability if eligible, or separation from the service.
To be medically qualified for retention, an air traffic control specialist must meet the following requirements. (Unless otherwise indicated these requirements are identical for all specializations.)
Retention requirements for vision and eye conditions are identical to the requirements for initial hire.
Retention requirements are identical to the requirements for initial hire.
Back to Top
There is no Group Coverage Qualification Standard for this series. Use the Individual Occupational Requirements described below.