There are many factors involved with what it takes to be an Air Traffic Controller. Education, physical health, mental health, and stress management capability are just a few of the most common requirements needed for this profession. Education and training for such a position can take anywhere from six months to many years, making the median age for an applicant around twenty years old.
The majority of countries have Air Traffic Control schools operated by experienced Air Traffic Controllers. These controllers train students from enrolment to testing and maintain a high standard for each enrolee. Five ratings are given to each enrolee; Area, Area Radar, Approach, Approach Radar, and Aerodome. How many areas a person will be allowed to train in depends on their country. The United States allows enrolees to train in several similar positions within an area.
After training, the Air Traffic Controllers are placed in a new position and begin working on a sector. They must undergo a period of further training in regards to specific area procedures for the sector of their work unit. Most of the training is done in live situations commonly known as "On The Job Training". This training is done with qualified and trained mentors and On the Job Instructors who are also connected to the sector to help guide the new Controllers and to take over in the case of an emergency.
This training lasts anywhere from months to years much like the previous training and depending on how much traffic the assigned sector is known to receive. Only after they have successfully completed a full training program will they be allowed control of their own sector without the constant aid of others.