Controller Training

Join A Division

To become a VATSIM approved Air Traffic Controller you must first join a VATSIM Division. A Division is a part of a VATSIM Region. Within the VATSIM network there are six Regions. Each Region has several Divisions within the Region. Normally you would select a Division relevant to where you live however you can join one which you may have a particular interest in. Remember, joining a Division outside of your local area will have time zone implications.

VATSIM strives for realism and so there is quite a lot to learn but this can be done in easy stages at your own pace. A new VATSIM Air Traffic Controller will be taught the proper procedures to follow. Many divisions have mentors who will guide you through your training. All VATSIM training facilities provide documentation to assist your study, helping you to understand the phraseology and technique of controlling, with many also having audio and video aids as well.

To select a Region|Division to join you can use the world map on the VATSIM homepage, decide which Region then Division you wish to join then go to the VATSIM Members section and complete the joining process. Once established in a Division you should contact the Training Department of the Division you have selected. Your Division may assign you to an ARTCC, FIR or vACC so that you can focus your study on a smaller area. Generally speaking your Division's website will have all the material required for your study to be an Air Traffic Controller. it is highly recommended that you spend time observing other rated controllers online before attempting your ATC exams.

Transfers between Regions is permitted once certain conditions are met.

The Role Of The Controller

As in the real world, the role of the Air Traffic Controller is to:

  • maintain an orderly flow of traffic.
  • provide a separation service between aircraft in the air and on the ground.
  • provide assistance to pilots

As ATC you will be providing a service to others and will need to display a standard appropriate to your ATC rating or position. Training is provided by VATSIM and you will be encouraged to participate and to progress through the ratings as far as you wish to go. 

Controller Ratings

VATSIM has a Global Rating Policy[GRP] which all Divisions and Training Departments adhere by. The GRP has a rating structure as follows:

  1. GROUND Controller (S1) - this rating includes all airport Ground and Delivery control services.
  2. TOWER Controller (S2) - This rating includes ALL airport TOWER control services.
  3. TMA Controller (S3) - This rating includes APPROACH and DEPARTURE control services associated with a particular airport.
  4. Enroute Controller (C1) - This rating is for ALL Enroute CTR sectors; both radar and non-radar control services.
  5. Senior Controller (C3) - This rating may be awarded to a controller already certified to provide the six (6) standard VATSIM controller services described above AND who also provides other services NOT related to a control role covered by the ratings for: DEL, GND, TWR, APP, DEP, or CTR.

Full details of the GRP2.0 can be found here.