Student Air Traffic Controller Licence

Information on training and examinations for the Student Air Traffic Controller Licence

You can apply for the grant of a new, renewal or amendment to a Student ATCO Licence by completing and submitting form SRG 1421 Student Air Traffic Controller Licensing.

A Student Air Traffic Controller licence permits you to provide an Air Traffic Control service at an aerodrome or Air Traffic Control centre, but only under the supervision of a fully qualified Air Traffic Controller who is an approved on-the-job training instructor.

The Student Air Traffic Controller licence is issued for a period of two years, but may be renewed for a further two years provided you have commenced unit training. Any extension beyond this time will be at the discretion of the CAA.

To be granted a Student Air Traffic Controller Licence you must:

  • Have successfully completed an approved course of initial training
  • Hold at least one pass at GCSE Level standard or equivalent
  • Hold an educational qualification which would enable you to gain access to university or a similar educational institution
  • Have demonstrated competence in the ability to speak and understand the English Language to at least Level 4 of the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating scale
  • Hold a current medical certificate of the appropriate class
  • Be at least 18 years of age

In certain circumstances the CAA may grant exemption from the educational requirements given above.

Unit Training

All ATC units are different. The purpose of unit training is to teach you to apply local procedures and to enable you to gain the skills you will need to become an Air Traffic Controller at that unit, by building upon the knowledge and skills you gained during initial training.

The unit will have a unit training plan indicating the phases of training you will have to complete and what you will have to achieve within a particular timescale. If you successfully complete the unit training plan, you will be recommended for a rating examination.

Rating Examination

A rating examination will consist of:

  • a practical examination, during which you will be required to demonstrate you can provide a safe Air Traffic Control service; and
  • an oral board, during which you will be examined on your knowledge of the local Air Traffic Control procedures and any of the underpinning knowledge which you learned during the initial rating course.

The examination will be conducted by a CAA Inspector and a local ATC examiner, or in some cases by just a CAA Inspector. If you pass the rating board you may apply for a full Air Traffic Controller licence.


The charges for the granting and renewal of ATCO licences (including Student ATCO licences) can be found in the CAA’s Scheme of Charges.

Further Information

For more  information on gaining an ATCO licence, you can contact the CAA at +44 (0) 1293 573700 or e-mail

The requirements and guidance associated with ATC Licensing can be found in CAP 744 Air Traffic Controllers – Licensing.