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Flight Service Specialist

Flight service specialists tell pilots about air and ground traffic, terrain, aviation weather, preferred routes, and communications coverage. They help pilots complete flights safely.

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Flight Service Specialists (2272.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Air Traffic Control and Related Occupations (C172) 
  • 2011 NOC: Air traffic controllers and related occupations (2272) 
  • 2016 NOC: Air traffic controllers and related occupations (2272) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Flight Service Specialists
2006 NOC : 2272.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating radio equipment to support air traffic control operations by relaying radio requests for flight clearances, arrival and departure information and position reports

INNOVATIVE

Interest in speaking with pilots and preparing for takeoffs and landings

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to describe weather conditions, wind speed and direction and presence of local air traffic

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 11, 2022

There are 2 main types of flight service specialists:

  • Flight Service Specialist - Airport Advisory (AAS)
  • Flight Service Specialist - Flight Information (FIC)

This profile uses the terms airport advisory specialists and flight information specialists.

Airport advisory specialists work at one of over 40 flight service stations located in airports across the country. In general, they:

  • Monitor aircraft movements using radar feeds and other air traffic technologies
  • Help pilots select runways for landing or take off
  • Advise pilots of other aircraft operating near the airport
  • Control movements of other vehicles on runways and taxiways
  • Provide wind, altimeter (altitude meter), and other information

Depending on the flight service station, airport advisory specialists may also provide advisory services remotely to neighbouring facilities.

Flight information specialists work at one of 7 flight information centres in Canada. In general, they:

  • Provide services for flight planning
  • Provide interpretive weather information and en route advisories
  • Alert emergency services of missing or overdue aircraft and help coordinate search efforts
Working Conditions
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Flight service specialists work rotating day, afternoon, and night shifts. They must make rapid decisions and often work under pressure.

All flight service specialists in Canada work for NAV CANADA. Sometimes 2 or more flight service specialists work together. However, much of the time they work alone. Flight information regions are large. Specialists on duty work with team members remotely. Once they complete their training, NAV CANADA may deploy them anywhere in the country. They often work in remote locations.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Flight service specialists need:

  • Maturity and emotional stability
  • The ability to deal with detailed information quickly and accurately
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Spatial awareness (the ability to visualize objects in 3D from 2D information)
  • Clear diction, enunciation, and voice projection
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced team environment
  • The ability to work independently, without supervision

They should enjoy operating radio and related equipment and communicating with pilots. They should work well with clear rules and organized methods for coordinating information. They should be comfortable taking charge of situations.

Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

To work for NAV CANADA, a flight service specialist must be:

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A high school graduate or equivalent
  • Proficient in English for most positions, and in English and French for positions in Montreal and Ottawa

Applicants must meet medical requirements, undergo security screening, and be willing to relocate. They must be available for training within 18 months of their application.

NAV CANADA has a multistep selection process, including online testing and interviews. Successful applicants are entered into a candidate pool and advised which career stream they have qualified for. Visit NAV CANADA’s Careers page to learn more.

Candidates selected for airport advisory specialist training receive initial classroom and simulator training at a regional training unit for 5 to 6 months. They then move to on-the-job training at a flight service station for up to 6 months.

Candidates selected for flight information specialist training receive initial classroom and pilot briefing training at a regional training unit for 7 to 9 months. They then move to on-the-job training at a flight information centre for up to 6 months.

Attendees receive a training salary throughout the training process.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 11, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Flight service specialists work for NAV CANADA. After classroom and on-the-job training, they may be assigned to any airport in Canada with a flight service station or flight information centre.

Opportunities to move to other locations depend on qualifications, operational requirements, and a seniority-bid process. Experienced flight service specialists may move into supervisory or management positions or work on special projects.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2272: Air traffic controllers and related occupations occupational group, 87.1% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2272: Air traffic controllers and related occupations occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 11, 2022

According to NAV CANADA, salaries for flight service specialists range from $66,000 to $101,000 per year. They may receive premiums or bonuses based on location, holidays, shifts, bilingual service delivery, and duties as a supervisor or on-the-job instructor.

During initial training, trainees receive a student allowance of $580 per week (about $15,000 for the duration of the program). This rises to an annual salary of about $41,000 during on-the-job training. This lasts 3-5 months for airport advisory specialists, and 9-11 months for flight information specialists. (2021 figures).

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Aviation
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 11, 2022

Air Traffic Specialists Association of Canada website: www.atsac.com

NAV CANADA’s website: www.navcanada.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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