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would you consider being an air traffic controller to be a hard job?

Is it taxing emotionally or physically?

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Wayne’s Answer

It is probably more emotional than physical, but stress affects each person differently.
1. There is zero margin for errors.
2. You will be looking at a screen most of the day which is 2 dimensional. Then you need to convert that image to 3 dimensions in your thinking process: you have to maintain vertical, horizontal and lateral distance between all aircraft in your assigned airspace. Vertical is distance above and below other aircraft. Horizontal is distance behind and or ahead of the aircraft. Lateral is the distance left or right of your aircraft.
You can go the following website: https://www.flightradar24.com/29.25,-84.49/5. This site will give you an idea of how many commercial aircraft are in the air at any given time.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! jake
Thank you comment icon Hi Wayne! I see you have experience in the airline industry, which is fantastic! Could you edit your answer to expand a bit? I think the Student would really appreciate hearing more from you about what the experience of stress might be like as a controller Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
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Gabriel’s Answer

I would agree with Wayne above in the sense that it's definitely a mental stress rather than physical but from his response I suspect he's referring to radar controllers specifically. As an ATC you can either be in a radar facility where you control based off "dots" on a screen and the information displayed to separate aircraft. I am a tower controller we work more visually. While we do have a radar we focus primarily on the aircraft on the airfield and within the immediate vicinity (usually 4-6 miles). Back to your question though the stress will depend highly on your personality and ability to think/process info quickly. I always describe ATC as solving a puzzle but someone walking up every few seconds and removing one piece so if that though stresses you out then ATC would probably also seem stressful otherwise it can be a very fun and fulfilling career!
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Jeff’s Answer

I get this question a lot and I always say, any job can be hard/ stressful if you're not trained properly. Atc is not for everyone but it is very rewarding. You're providing a service that most of the flying public takes for granted. You're in the background keeping the skies safe and that can be stressful at times especially when weather is going on or emergencies occur. Bad days happen but good training and calm demeanor can get you through it and get everyone home safe. Good luck

Jeff recommends the following next steps:

Call your local tower and try to schedule a tour.
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