Army Reserve
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Army aviation plays a key role in all types of military operations.   

Ensuring mission success, while maintaining safe flight operations, takes a team of specialized Soldiers. Coordinating aircraft movement for takeoff and landing, as well as tracking aircraft in flight, in both tactical and non-tactical environments, is the responsibility of the Air Traffic Control Operator.   

Following procedures, rules and regulations, Soldiers working in this critical MOS are responsible for the operations of airborne flight traffic, and airport ground traffic, they also assist in the installation and relocation of mobile tactical air traffic control facilities, process flight plan data and maintain logs, records, files and tape recordings of voice communications, and ensure the safety of pilots and passengers.    

This career field requires individuals who have an interest in work requiring accuracy and attention to detail, the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, decisiveness while working within strict standards, have good voice communication skills, and an ability to work as a member of a team.    

After successfully completing Army Basic Combat Training, you will attend 15 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alabama. There you will learn radio operations and communication protocols, the use and operation of radar and aircraft management systems, takeoff, landing and ground control procedures, and aircraft recognition.  

After completion of all training requirements you will be eligible for worldwide assignments. As an Air Traffic Control Operator, you may have an opportunity to advance in your career through additional technical, tactical, and leadership training.  You may also have the opportunity to earn your civilian Aircraft Dispatcher license, or Control Tower Operator's certificate through the FAA.    

The skills and knowledge you acquire may help you in your transition from the military to the civilian work force, where you may find employment at airports, traffic control centers, or a career with the U.S. Department of Defense.  An essential member of the Army aviation team, the Air Traffic Control Operator. Above the Best!  

Air Traffic Control (ATC) Operator (15Q)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • National Guard
  • Entry Level


The air traffic control operator is responsible for tracking planes and giving them landing and takeoff instructions at air traffic control facilities.

Job Duties

  • Control airborne and ground traffic
  • Assist in the installation/relocation of tactical air traffic control facilities
  • Process flight plan data and maintain logs, records, files and tape recordings of voice communications


Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.


Job training for an air traffic control operator requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 15 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and in the field under simulated combat conditions.

Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

  • Air traffic control management and operational procedures
  • Communications and radar procedures
  • Aircraft recognition
  • Takeoff, landing and ground control procedures

Helpful Skills

  • Interest in work requiring accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Decisiveness and working within strict standards
  • Ability to work as a team member

Required ASVAB Score(s)

Skilled Technical (ST): 101

Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.


Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Earn Cash For In Demand Jobs

You could earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties. Visit Jobs in Demand to see if this job qualifies for an enlistment bonus.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career at airports, traffic control centers and for the U.S. Department of Defense.


Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at


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