How do i join the atc

How do i join the atc,and what is the best way of finding a squadron that i fit into,any info much appreciated.

I’m assuming you mean as an adult volunteer (considering this in the Staff Area)?

First off, find your local squadrons here:

Read up about the roles a bit here:

And other parts of the site will have various information that you might find useful.

As for where you’ll “fit in”, the only way to really tell is to contact your local units and visit them - what are the people like, what skills gaps do they have, what role could you perform (and is it one you’re happy with), what skills do you have that would be useful? If you have options locally then it’s a bit easier, but in some areas you might be limited as to where you could go.

As much as I point you to the website for information, it’s not the most informative about what life is actually like in the ATC, but I wouldn’t put too much faith in a lot of what you might read on here. There’s a lot of good here, but you’ll notice that there’s a fair bit of venting as well.

The joining process:

  • DBS Check
  • More paperwork (Such as ID Verification)
  • Start Attending as a “Civilian Instructor”
  • Mandatory Safeguarding course
  • Mandatory First Aid Training (if you don’t hold a cert already)
  • Learn “on the job”
  • Start getting stuck in
  • Attend any specialist courses that interest you
1 Like

Thanks for the info,is there any advantage to joining as a ci or uniformed officer, i think i would prefer to join in uniform, as i think it would make me feel more part of it,many thanks.

I would start off as a CI unless you have an ex forces background and know how the uniformed service side would suit you. Give being a CI 6 months and if that isn’t for you and you think uniform is the way forward then have a word with your OC and get the ball rolling.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum firstly.Secondly as has been said try life as a CI first.When I first approached the corps in the early 1990s once Wing Hq found out I was ex services they wanted me to go into uniform immediately.I on the other hand had not long been out of a blue suit.I did eighteen months as a CI .This gave me an invaluable insight into the workings of the organisation.Not to mention doing a fair few courses too and getting a shooting qual or two.When alls said and done though its your decision.


As said be a CI first.
Regardless of background you can observe the organisation from the side and then decide if you want to go for a uniformed role. Don’t allow yourself to be harangued into anything.
Go to annual camps as a CI as you get a real sense of how it works.
As for which local unit to go to, if there is more than one, consider which one you can get to easiest, as this is the one you would be better able to provide support on parade nights and weekends. Having been on several units after a crap day at work, having to drive more than you have to, to and from, remembering the from will be sometime between 9 and 10 pm if not later, gets wearing.

1 Like

Consider it, but also consider the units themselves. Far easier to motivate yourself to drive 15 mins to a unit where you’re valued and well-utilised, than 5 minutes to a poor unit or one where you feel like a spare part.


You can’t make every decision based on what’s most convenient or closest.

1 Like

Having done journeys from 10 minutes (current) to 55 minutes, it is much easier to find the motivation in do the shorter distances after a day at work and especially in the winter. Like the other night when it was bucketing down, my 10 minute journey doubled.
I missed more nights when I had the longer drive, due to weather and those nights when I thought do I need nearly 2 hours driving with 2 hours in between . Currently I get to the sqn unless it’s snowing /snowed heavily, which isn’t very often.
It’s all well and good saying distances are irrelevant and it’s all about being valued, but if you’re not at the sqn due to problems with the distance you can’t be valued or add value.

1 Like