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Air Force

Aerospace Control Officer

OFFICER | Full Time, Part Time

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As a member of the military, Aerospace Control Officers contribute to air operations by providing air traffic control services and air weapons control.

Aerospace Control Officers are responsible for the conduct of aerospace surveillance, warning, and control of airborne objects throughout Canadian airspace. As an integral part of the Canadian Air Navigation System, they also provide control to civilian and military aircraft during combat and training operations worldwide.

Aircrew Selection Centre – the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) requires that all Pilots, Aerospace Controllers and Air Combat Systems Officers attend and successfully complete the Aircrew Selection. The selection centre is located in Trenton, Ontario where candidates are tested over a 2-day period with computer-based scenarios designed to validate those skills and aptitudes required by the RCAF. Success at Aircrew Selection is a necessary step in order to continue to be processed for these three occupations. Watch this video to learn more.

Work environment

Aerospace Control Officers may be deployed to a ship, aircraft, or in the field throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. Initially, Aerospace Control Officers are employed as either air traffic controllers at Canadian military airbases, or in the air defence realm, controlling fighter aircraft at the Canadian Air Defence Sector.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Career Overview


Aerospace Control Officer.

Danny Mansour:

I'm Captain Danny Mansour from Whitby, Ontario, and I'm an Aerospace Control Officer.

Maggie Laberge:

And I major Maggie Laberge, I'm from Peterborough, Ontario, and I'm an Aerospace Control Officer.



Aerospace Control Officers, or AECs, play a crucial role in the command and control of air and space assets at home and abroad. They operate as air traffic controllers, air battle managers, tactical air control party air officers, and are paving the way in space operations.

Danny Mansour:

The fundamental role of an aerospace control officer is to provide safe guidance and control to aircraft, make sure they get from point A to point B safely and conduct their mission, whatever it may be, in a safe manner.



As Air Battle Managers, AEC’s primarily work in North Bay, Ontario, as part of The North American Aerospace Defence Command, or NORAD.


Danny Mansour:

Keeping Canada's skies safe is 24-7 mission we do here at the Canadian Air Defence sector specifically. And we work with various United States air defense sectors, to make sure that there are no threats in the sky. And as soon as we get that call from our civilian air traffic counterparts, we react accordingly with our military jets.



They are responsible for detecting threats to Canadian sovereignty and making critical real-time decisions if an intruder or threats are detected – safeguarding the airspace above our country.



Air Battle Managers also work onboard Airborne Warning And Control Systems aircraft, better known as AWACs. 

AEC’s can also support ground operations as an Air Officer in the Tactical Air Control Party, known as TACP.

The TACP [1] will ensure the aircraft gets to the exact point it needs to be to support a ground commander. This could mean directing aircraft to employ their weapons.

Maggie Laberge:

In the military. We have a slew of different opportunities. There's a variety of different jobs where we can be posted. So I myself began my career as an instrument flight rules controller, but now I've moved into the space environment, which is vastly different.

We're not controlling aircraft anymore. We're talking about satellites, we're talking about ground stations. We're talking about a bunch of different capabilities that we don't have in the air traffic world.



As their careers progress, those leadership roles and responsibilities will continue to expand, with many opportunities for continuous professional development, academic advancement and specialized training.


Danny Mansour:

I am a I'm a huge gamer. I'm a huge nerd, and I love gaming on the computer. And when I was first training in this job and I learned that, I was going to be controlling aircraft sitting behind a screen, it was very relatable for me.

I feel like I'm gaming every day and I'm helping fight that war from the ground and it's very rewarding.

I got to travel to Arizona with 419 squadron and I was able to get a backseat ride in the hawk. That’s one of the jet trainers that we have.  Being able to fly in the backseat was a really unique experience that I don’t think I’ll be able to get anywhere else.


Maggie Laberge:

The coolest moments. I got to go sledding down the side of a glacier into Greenland. I got to meet Commander Chris Hadfield during a forum. He was very gracious. I got to take a picture with him. I've gotten to know Ambassador Jackie O'Neill. She's Canada's ambassador to the United Nations for women, peace and security. She's a personal hero of mine.  And that was just an amazing experience.

Show b-roll (shot by Richard in Valcartier)

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Flight Service Specialist
  • Railway and Maritime Traffic Controller
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Airport Manager


After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 12 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Aerospace Control Officers attend the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations in Cornwall, Ontario, for three to five months. Aerospace Control Officer candidates learn to apply control techniques for both air defence and air traffic control duties. They also receive instruction and simulator training on the following topics:

  • Airborne weapons systems
  • Ground control systems and radar
  • Meteorology
  • Radiotelephony and procedure
  • Air regulations and navigation orders
  • Aircraft performance characteristics
  • Command and control directives governing the control of interceptor aircraft
  • Aerospace Control Officers are granted a licence in the control of live aircraft after passing an examination on local operating procedures.

Aerospace Control Officers may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Airborne Warning and Control System
  • Space and Missile operations
  • Tactical Air Control Party (Land)
  • Maritime Fighter Control (Navy)

Entry plans

If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

Regular Officer Training Plan

Due to the requirement for CAF officer to obtain a university degree, the CAF will pay successful recruits to complete a bachelor degree program in the Royal Military College System. Recruits will receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full pay in exchange for working in the CAF for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In rare instances, based on the needs of the CAF, candidates may be approved attend another Canadian University. A determination will be made on a case by case basis. If you are applying for this program, you must apply to the CAF and it is recommended to apply to other Canadian universities of your choice should you not be accepted for ROTP.

Learn more about our Paid Education programs here.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force wing in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Aerospace Control Officers employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at CAF bases and tactical units at locations within Canada.

Find a Recruiting Centre

This occupation is only open to members of the Regular Force who have been trained as Aerospace Control Officers and wish to transfer to the Reserve Force, or former military members who have the Aerospace Control Officer qualification.

Air Reserve members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts and are employed in the same unit and perform the same job. Air Reserve members usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day, with opportunities to serve full time for short durations as needed. Reserve Force members are paid 92.8% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.