Air traffic controllers are people who operate the air traffic control system to expedite and maintain a safe and orderly flow of air traffic and help prevent mid-air collisions. They apply separation rules to keep each aircraft apart from others in their area of responsibility and efficiently through their assigned sector of airspace.
Because controllers have a demonstrably large responsibility while on duty, the ATC profession is often regarded as one of the most difficult jobs today, and can be notoriously stressful. They are also called air traffic control officers (ATCOs), air traffic control specialists, or simply controllers.
Air traffic controllers are generally individuals with excellent memory, are organized, have spatial awareness, are quick with numeric computational skills, are assertive but calm under pressure, and are able to follow and apply rules yet be flexible when necessary.
Almost universally, trainee controllers begin work in their twenties, and retire in their fifties. Rigid physical and psychological tests and excellent hearing and speaking skills are a requirement, and controllers must take precautions to remain healthy and avoid certain.