Keep trains running on time and traveling in the right direction.
Although it appears that the sky is vast and empty, Pilots know that they’d better be on the lookout for other planes at all times. Fortunately, they don’t have to rely on a rear-view mirror at 30,000 feet. Instead, they keep in contact with their En Route Controller, who offers guidance about everything from weather to altitude.
As an En Route Controller, you have a designated air space where planes are under your command. As the plane hits cruising altitude and leaves the range of the TRACON Departure Controller, it’s handed over to you. In turn, as the plane approaches its destination, you hand it over to the TRACON Arrival Controller.
In this way, each Controller specializes in one aspect of making sure planes keep a safe buffer from one another. Typically, your duties as an En Route Controller have you juggling the needs of several Pilots at once. When you pass off one plane, another might request weather information, and another might request permission to change routes. Your job is to relay accurate information, give permissions, and carefully record any changes to itinerary, altitude, or routing.
This job is all about communication. You speak using only radio transmissions, so body language and gestures aren’t going to help. You have to be able to articulate and clearly express your thoughts. Pilots rely on you to give clear and concise directions, keep your focus at all times, and make quick decisions as necessary.