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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.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Interest Codes
The Flight Service Specialist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Flight Service Specialists
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

There are 2 main branches of flight service specialists:

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

In this profile, the two branches are simply referred to as airport advisory specialists and flight information specialist.

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 co-ordinate search efforts
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

There may be occasions when 2 or more flight service specialists work together. However, much of the time they work alone. Flight information regions are large, and specialists on duty work with other team members on a remote basis.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Flight service specialists need:

  • Maturity and emotional stability
  • The ability to deal with detailed information quickly and accurately
  • Excellent problem-solving ability
  • Spatial awareness (the ability to see objects in 3 dimensions)
  • Clear diction, enunciation, and voice projection
  • Communication and interpersonal skills that enable them 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 be comfortable with clear rules and organized methods for co-ordinating information, and with taking charge of situations.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

To be employed by NAV CANADA, flight service specialists must be:

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • At least 18 years of age
  • A high school graduate or equivalent
  • Proficient in both English and French for positions in Montreal and Ottawa. For all other regions, a command of English is required.

Applicants must also 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 Take Charge to learn more.

Candidates selected for airport advisory specialist training receive initial classroom and simulator training at a regional training unit for 4 to 6 months. Then trainees 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 from the start of classroom training through to completion.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

Flight service specialists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2272: Air Traffic Control and Related Occupations. In Alberta, 92% of people employed in this classification work in the Transportation and Warehousing [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Transportation and Warehousing industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

According to NAV CANADA, salaries for flight service specialists range from $61,000 to $120,000 per year. Trainees earn about $38,000 annually after successful completion of the first phase of training (2018 figures).

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Aviation
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

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

NAV CANADA’s Take Charge website: takecharge.navcanada.ca

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

Updated Mar 31, 2020. 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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