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Navy Enlisted Rating (Job) Descriptions

Air Traffic Controlman (AC)


A Navy air traffic controller maintains an alert watch with binoculars in the control tower at Naval Air Station (NAS) Millington, Tennessee.
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Navy Air Traffic Controllers (AC) perform duties similar to civilian air traffic controllers and play a key role in the effective use of Naval airpower throughout the world in operational and training environments. Navy ACs are responsible for safely and effectively directing aircraft operating from airfields or the decks of aircraft carriers. They also control the movement of aircraft and vehicles on airfield taxiways and issue flight instructions to pilots by radio.

Specific duties include:

  • controlling and directing air traffic at airfields and on aircraft carriers using radio, radar, and other signaling devices;
  • providing aircraft with critical information on other air traffic, navigation systems, and airfield conditions essential to safe operations;
  • operating and adjusting computer-based ground/carrier-controlled navigation and radar approach systems;
  • interpreting data shown on radar screens and plotting aircraft positions;
  • maintaining aeronautical charts and maps.

Working Environment

ACs usually work in clean, office-like environments at naval air stations and on-board aircraft carriers. They work closely with others, are closely supervised, and do mostly mental work.

A-School (Job School) Information

Pensacola -- 110 caldendar days

Following "A" school, air traffic controllers spend one to two years gaining additional skills through on-the-job training at their first duty station. This consists of additional lab, lecture, and individual training leading to certification at that airfield facility. ACs are stationed in traffic control centers on aircraft carriers or at air traffic control facilities in the United States or overseas.

ASVAB Score Requirement: VE+AR+MK+MC=220 OR VE+MK+MC+CS = 220

Security Clearance Requirement: Secret

Other Requirements

  • 20/200 uncorrected vision, correctable to 20/20
  • Must have normal color perception
  • Must have normal hearing
  • Must have no speech impediment
  • 60 month enlistment obligation
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Must be 18 years old upon entry to A-school. No history of drug abuse.
  • Persons convicted by Federal/State statutes for drug offense(s) are not eligible.

Sub-Specialties Available for This Rating: Navy Enlisted Classification Codes for AC

Current Manning Levels for This Rating: CREO Listing

Note: Advancement ( promotion ) opportunity and career progression are directly linked to a rating's manning level (i.e., personnel in undermanned ratings have greater promotion opportunity than those in overmanned ratings).

Sea/Shore Rotation for This Rating

AC is a shore-intensive community. Sailors in shore-intensive communities do not have career paths defined by sea shore flow. AC shore tour lengths at particular shore locations are dependent upon the tower classification, and the time frame required to become qualified for tower operations. Sailors in the AC community can expect to serve more than half their careers in operational support sours ashore.

Much of the above information courtesy of the Navy Personnel Command

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