New Controllers

Intro

For those looking to become a part of our team, you must be a member of the VATSIM network and have an active CID.  Don’t have one? Not a problem, you can obtain one here.  Be sure to select “North America” as your preferred region during the application process.  Once you have your CID, take time to review the VATSIM ATC General Information section. Then, review the below for what comes next!

Our Training Division features an amazing group of Instructional Staff Members who dedicate their time to help those who are new to our region become familiar with what is necessary to be a successful controller here at ZMA. Whether you are new to this amazing hobby, or have previous experience from other locations, our goal is to help everyone have the best experience possible while participating. However, this is not an overnight process.

This pastime requires large amounts of work and commitment in order to succeed. In fact, it is not uncommon for a month of time to pass before an Observer (OBS) is actually working the scopes as a solo Ground/Clearance Delivery ATC Controller. While we know there is a lot of material to get caught up on, do not get discouraged! It may seem daunting or nearly impossible at times, but we assure you that not only is it possible, but with a little effort on your part, you’ll ascend through the ranks and enjoy learning new things at every level.

We must emphasize once again this hobby and pastime require effort. Independent work is is an absolute necessity. The value of your own reading of materials, your own observations of other controllers and your own practice cannot be overstated to develop your skills. It will require a fair amount of study and training, with homework required outside of training provided directly by a Mentor or Instructor. This “virtual career” may not be for everyone. For more details on the process, be sure to review the Trainee Welcome Letter and Training Division FAQ.

The Process

If you are new to controlling, an exciting journey is about to begin! We are looking forward to being a part of the process with you!

  • After ensuring you have a valid VATSIM CID, you will need to be a member of the VATSIM North America Region (VATNA). If you are already member of another region, you can update your account by clicking here.
  • Once a part of the VATNA region, join the VATUSA Division. This process can be completed by clicking here.
  • After joining VATUSA, you will be required to complete the VATUSA Basic ATC/S1 Controller exam. You are eligible to do so after finishing basic training through the division’s website. It is designed to give you a solid foundation to help assist you in the advancement process.
  • Once you have completed the VATUSA Basic/S1, you will be eligible to choose a home ARTCC. Login to VATUSA, select “My VATUSA” and select “Join Facility.”
  • Once processed, follow the e-mailed directions necessary for joining the ZMA MACAS system. This is required, so read the directions carefully.
  • All new controllers to our region must successfully complete the Miami Basic/SOP Exam. This open book exam requires a score of 80% or above to move forward. The content is designed to ensure you have the fundamental knowledge necessary to start moving forward down the path of controller at ZMA. It is assigned several days after you have joined through VATUSA.
    • Be sure to review the Training Department Welcome and the Training Division FAQ.
    • Please note you have seven (7) calendar days to complete the exam once assigned.
    • Only attempt once you are prepared! It does not cover the same material as the VATUSA Basic/S1 Exam!
    • If you score below an 80%, you will have to wait one (1) week before attempting it again.

We then look forward to having you on our team! Be sure to review the Training Department Welcome and the Training Division FAQ.

Have questions about this process? Did we miss something that might be unique to your situation? Contact our Administrative Team by using the Contact Form.

 

Training and Ratings

Please Note: The S1-S3 track for Minor and Major can be completed separate. You can choose to complete the Minor track before moving to the Majors. It’s the choice of the controller.

  • Set up your first training session with a Mentor or Instructor.
  • Once the instructional staff sees you are ready, he will recommend you for your minor certification (S1 Minor).
  • Complete individual practice on the network in your new position. After you have gained real network experience, request training with a Mentor or Instructor to begin your S1 Major Training.
  • After completing training sessions, you will be recommended for the Miami Major Ground Exam.
  • After completing the exam successfully, set up a training session with a Mentor or Instructor.
  • Once the mentor sees you are ready, he will recommend you for a Student Certification (S1 Major Student, Yellow).
  • Once the Instructional Staff Member finds you are ready, he will recommend an OTS for Major Ground.
  • Take the Major Ground OTS with a Mentor or Instructor. This must be scheduled in advance. The Over The Shoulder examination should not be conducted by a person who has helped you for the majority of your training sessions.
    • If successfully completed and passed, you will receive full S1 Delivery/Ground Certification.
    • If failed, complete more independent work and practice on the network. When you believe you are ready, request a training session. Once a Mentor or Instructional Staff Member sees you are ready, you can retake the OTS.
  • After completing personal practice in your new position, complete the VATUSA Computer Based Training (CBT) for S2. Be sure your practice has included experience at most/all Class B & C airports within the ARTCC.
  • Once completed, request the VATUSA S2 Exam be assigned to you by a member of the Instructional Training team.
  • After completing the exam, request training with a Mentor or Instructor on Minor Tower.
  • Once the mentor sees you are ready, he will recommend you for your minor certification (S2 Minor).
  • Complete individual practice on the network in your new position. After you have gained real network experience, request training with a Mentor or Instructor to begin your S2 Major Training.
  • After completing training sessions, you will be recommended for the Miami Major Tower Exam.
  • After completing the exam successfully, set up a training session with a Mentor or Instructor.
    • Once the mentor sees you are ready, he will recommend you for a Student Certification (S2 Major Student, Yellow).
  • Once the Instructional Staff Member finds you are ready, they will recommend an OTS for Major Tower.
  • Take the Major Tower OTS with a Mentor or Instructor.This must be scheduled in advance. The Over The Shoulder examination should not be conducted by a person who has helped you for the majority of your training sessions.
    • If successfully completed and passed , you will receive full S2 Tower Certification
    • If failed, complete more independent work and practice on the network. When you believe you are ready, request a training session. Once a Mentor or Instructional Staff Member sees you are ready, you can retake the OTS.Evretake OTS once mentor sees you are ready.
  • After completing personal practice in your new position, contact an S3 rated Mentor or Instructor to request training for S3. Be sure your practice has included experience at most/all Class B & C airports within the ARTCC.
    • After completing training sessions, you will be recommended for the VATUSA S3 Exam. Note that previous experience within all Class C airspaces as Tower and Ground is critical to expediting this process.
  • After completing the exam, request training with a Mentor or Instructor.
    • Once the mentor sees you are ready, they will recommend you for your minor certification (S3 Minor).
  • Complete individual practice on the network in your new position. After you have gained real network experience, request training with a Mentor or Instructor to begin your S3 Major Training.
    • It is critical your experience has included all TRACON regions within ZMA prior to starting this process. This knowledge is critical.
    • After completing training sessions, you will be recommended for the Miami S3 Departure/Approach Exam.
  • After completing the exam successfully, set up a training session with a Mentor or Instructor.
    • Once the mentor sees you are ready, he will recommend you for a Student Certification (S3 Major Student, Yellow).
  • Once the Instructional Staff Member mentor finds you are ready, they will recommend an OTS for Major Departure/Approach.
  • Take the Major Departure/Approach OTS with a Instructor. This must be scheduled in advance. The Over The Shoulder examination should not be conducted by a person who has helped you for the majority of your training sessions.
    • If successfully completed and passed pass, you will receive full S3 Departure/Approach Certification.
    • If failed, complete more independent work and practice on the network. When you believe you are ready, request a training session. Once a Mentor or Instructional Staff Member sees you are ready, you can retake the OTS.
  • After completing personal practice in your new position, contact a C1 rated Mentor or Instructor to request training for C1. Be sure your practice has included experience at all TRACONs within the ARTCC.
    • After completing training sessions, you will be recommended for the VATUSA C1 Exam. Note that previous experience within all regions of the ARTCC is critical to this process.
  • After completing the exam, request training with a C1 rated Mentor or Instructor.
  • Once the Instructional Staff Member mentor finds you are ready, they will recommend an OTS for Center.
  • Take the Center OTS with an Instructor. This must be scheduled in advance. The Over The Shoulder examination should not be conducted by a person who has helped you for the majority of your training sessions whenever possible.
    • If successfully completed and passed pass, you will be promoted to C1 and receive Center Certification.
    • If failed, complete more independent work and practice on the network. When you believe you are ready, request a training session. Once a Mentor or Instructional Staff Member sees you are ready, you can retake the OTS.
  • After completing personal practice as a C1, contact an Instructor to request training for Miami Oceanic. Be sure you have completely reviewed all relevant Letters of Agreement and Standard Operating Procedures before this request is made.
    • Depending on experience, a practice session is often required to review the airspace. Once the Instructor believes you are ready, you will be assigned the Miami Oceanic Exam.
    • A Performance Verification may be required prior to obtaining your Oceanic rating. This is subject to specific to the individual’s situation.
  • Note rating for Oceanic certification only is available to visiting C1 rated controllers through LOAs on file with certain ARTCCs. Please contact the ATM, DATM and TA for specific information.

Disclaimer: The information contained on all pages of this website is to be used for flight simulation purposes only on the VATSIM network. It is not intended nor should it be used for real world navigation. This site is not affiliated with the FAA, the actual Miami Center or any governing aviation body. All content contained herein is approved only for use on the VATSIM network.