How To Become A Traffic Controller In Australia?

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Students want to know how they can become traffic controllers in Australia.


Are you a proactive and mindful person with good decision-making and managerial abilities? Then a traffic controller could be an ideal career option.


A traffic controller directs and manages the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on roads, crowded worksites, and areas of disruption.


If you want a career in saving lives and maintaining road safety, this blog is for you.


You will learn about the traffic controller role, including personal and educational requirements, courses, salary, job prospects, and steps to becoming a traffic controller in Australia.



1. Who Is A Traffic Controller?


Traffic controllers implement traffic control strategies and establish safe routes to ensure safe navigation for people and workers on the roads and at job sites.


They mark the routes with safety barriers or use tapes, two-way radios, the stop/slow bat, or hand signals to control vehicle speed. Further, they monitor the traffic flow to reduce the possibility of accidents.


Based on the work requirements, they may need to coordinate with regulatory officials, supervisors, inspectors, and crew lead.



2. Why Become A Traffic Controller?


Traffic controllers form the part of essential service providers of a nation. More than guiding traffic safely to the destination, the role also brings immense inner satisfaction and emotional fulfilment.


So, here we are sharing some great reasons why you should pursue this profession:



A Prized Possession


A traffic controller is a lifesaver who protects the lives of countless road users every single day. Realizing that your work saves lives and makes road traffic more efficient brings contentment and meaning to life.



Career Opportunities


The traffic management industry offers many new career opportunities to qualified and licensed Traffic Controllers in various fields such as building, mining, construction, or the event industries.



Travel Opportunities


It is an excellent profession if you enjoy working outdoors and travelling to different destinations. The job of a traffic controller is exciting. Opportunities to meet other people and visit new places make the job attractive.



No Need For A College Degree


Another good reason is that you do not need a formal qualification to work as a traffic controller. You don't need a 4-year university degree like in other high-paying professions to work in this position.



Excellent Perks And Benefits


As a government employee, you can enjoy comprehensive federal benefits, including sick leave, annual leave, government-sponsored life, health insurance, and retirement benefits.



3. Duties Of A Traffic Controller In Australia


The job of a traffic controller involves more than holding a stop/slow bat and directing the flow of vehicles and road users on roads.


Traffic Controllers ensure the safety of pedestrians, workers, and drivers and help maintain a safe environment next to building sites, road works, during public events, and as an emergency response.


Based on the Transport Operations (Road Use Management-Accreditation and Other Provisions) Regulation 2005, a traffic controller must perform the following daily duties:


  • Organize, set up, monitor, and lift off safety and traffic management signs and equipment.

  • Lift 5 to 10 kilograms of signs and devices when organizing a traffic management work site

  • Direct flow of pedestrians and drivers on the road near areas of disruption

  • Use 2-way radio to communicate with members of the road traffic team, construction workers, and emergency response teams to send and receive updates about traffic and road conditions.

  • Operate road signs like a Stop/Slow bat, and use hand signals to direct pedestrians and traffic properly.

  • Explain operations and respond to the queries of pedestrians and drivers.

  • Examine signs and devices, clean accumulated debris, and store them in the proper place

  • Take guidelines from traffic authority workers, building project managers, police officers, administrators, firefighters, auditors, ambulance/medical attendants, and government officials.

  • Educate the public on road rules and provide emergency care when needed.



4. What Skills Do You Need To Become A Traffic Controller?


A suitable traffic controller exhibits the following attributes:


  • Sound mental condition

  • Physically fit and can lift moderately heavy objects to prepare a traffic management work site

  • Sequential planning skills

  • Able to read, speak, and understand English to interpret road signs 

  • Administrative abilities

  • Organization skills

  • Aware, alert, and responsive at all times

  • Meticulousness

  • Decision-making skills

  • Able to work under stressful conditions

  • Good communication skills

  • Multitasker

  • Enjoy working outdoors

  • Skilled in operating traffic control devices

  • Like to stay updated with developments in traffic laws

  • Confidence



5. How To Qualify As A Traffic Controller In Australia?


You must complete the following educational requirements to work as a traffic controller legally:


  • 18 years or above

  • Year 10 with English 

  • Obtain a Construction Safety Awareness Card or a White Card (as a prerequisite to undertake the training and work on a construction site)

  • Complete the required traffic controller course on Implement Traffic Control Guidance Plan and Traffic Control Management

  • Have a valid driver's license

  • To be legally eligible to work, you must become accredited and obtain a license from your State Roads Authority.



6. Steps To Become A Traffic Controller In Australia?


To become and work as a traffic controller, you must complete the relevant road traffic controller courses and get licensed by your state authority.



Step 1: Take Training Courses


Most employers look for candidates who have completed both the "Implement Traffic Control Guidance Plan" and "Traffic Control Management" course.


The first course teaches methods to access and apply work instructions, different types of signage for road management, and safety requirements to control the flow of transport on roads.


The second course teaches you how to prepare the road plan, implement traffic control plans, and use the Stop/Slow Bat to direct traffic.



Step 2: Take the Assessment Test


After getting trained, students have to sit for a traffic controller written and practical assessment test. The test assesses their knowledge of traffic control and management.


On successfully clearing the test, students will receive the following:


  • Statement of Attainment for RIIWHS205E - Control traffic with stop-slow bat and RIIWHS302E - Implement traffic management plans with 90 days validity (it allows you to work as a traffic controller)

  • Main Roads Certificate of Attendance



Step 3: Get Licensed


The requirements for accreditation may differ from one state to another. It is necessary to check with the state government for more details.


In Western Australia, to get licensed, you must apply in person or online at a State Roads Authority. Once your application is approved, you will receive the Main Roads WA Basic Worksite Traffic Management & Controller accreditation. It is valid for three years.


You must complete a renewal course from a registered training organization to keep the accreditation valid.



Step 4: Obtain A Construction Induction Card


Traffic controllers need a construction induction card as a mandatory requirement to safely work near or in construction zones throughout Australia. Attend construction induction training from a nationally recognized institute to get access to construction sites.


This card has different names in various states of Australia, such as:


  • NSW: White Card

  • Victoria: Red Card

  • Queensland: Blue Card



Step 5: Apply for Jobs


After getting trained and having a construction induction card and valid driver's license, you can apply for related jobs using modes such as staffing agencies, professional connections, online job directories, etc.


Jobs WA is a reputed free Job Board where you can find existing job vacancies for traffic management positions throughout Western Australia.



7. Certifications For Traffic Controller Job In Australia


A traffic controller must be adequately skilled and experienced to work on a specific road worksite condition. Those who fail to provide safe working conditions may suffer legal consequences. 


Training courses are one of the best ways to help aspiring traffic controllers understand and execute their duties efficiently.


As per the OHS standards, you must complete the following training courses approved by registered training organizations to become a qualified traffic controller:


  • RIIWHS205D – Control Traffic with a Stop/Slow Bat

  • RIIWHS302D – Implement Traffic Management Plan

  • RIIWHS205D – Control Traffic with a Stop/Slow Bat



This course teaches students the following aspects:


  • Plan and prepare traffic procedures

  • Control traffic with the help of stop/slow bats

  • Operate communication equipment

  • Remove signs and devices from a road work zone


The following universities and training institutes in Australia offer these courses:


  • Victoria University

  • Accelerated Training 

  • Traffic Group

  • Gold Training

  • Training Services, QLD



Implement Traffic Management Plan - RIIWHS302D


The course teaches the strategies to establish and supervise traffic guidance schemes via classroom-based and practical training sessions in simulated and live traffic/road environments. 


You can complete this course at any of the below Australian universities and training institutions:


  • Victoria University

  • Edway Training Sydney

  • Gold Training

  • Traffic Group

  • Traffic Services



8. Work Conditions For A Traffic Controller In Australia



Nature of Work


  • The fundamental duty of a traffic controller is to ensure the safety of road workers and road users to reduce the impact of the construction works on the road users.

  • The job is physically demanding, requiring standing for prolonged periods and lifting relatively heavy signs and devices to prepare a traffic management site. 

  • Furthermore, as a traffic controller, you may need to move between worksites or stay away from home for varying periods.

  • The workload is generally higher in summer months compared to winter months due to intemperate weather conditions that make it unable to work on roads.





  • Traffic Controllers work in the construction industry. They generally work outdoors, dealing with all types of weather conditions. 

  • When working several miles away from other workers, they use appropriate communication devices to stay in touch with them.



Work Hours


Traffic management is an essential utility-based service required on all 365 days of the year. 


Therefore, traffic controllers may work in shifts, including weekends, public holidays, and nights.


  • Around 48% of full-time traffic controllers work 45 hours or more weekly.

  • Though their usual work shifts range between 8 to 12 hours, they might need to work overtime as per the project demands. 

  • Most control towers operate continuously, thereby making the job of a traffic controller draining and stressful.



Type Of Employment


Being a traffic controller allows you to work in part-time, full-time, or temporary positions. Foreign visitors who seek temporary employment in Australia can apply for the relevant accreditation with their valid holiday visas.



Uniform And Safety Accessories


While at work, traffic controllers must follow strict dress standards such as high visibility clothing and personal protective equipment standards such as hard hats, steel-toed boots, steel-capped footwear, and reflective vests.


Check the Transport and Main Roads Queensland Traffic Controller Clothing Standard to learn more about the clothing requirements of traffic controllers.



9. Employment Opportunities For A Traffic Controller In Australia


Registered traffic management companies advertise vacancies for qualified traffic controllers from time to time.


A qualified and accredited traffic controller can find a job in a wide range of industries, such as:




10. What Is The Traffic Controller's Salary In Australia?


The average traffic controller salary is $63,560 per year, or $29.68 per hour or $4903 per month.


The earning capabilities of a traffic controller depend on position, place of work, industry, and experience.



Based on Experience


The starting salary for an entry-level professional is $52,650 per year, but most traffic controllers earn up to $77,799.



Based on Area of Employment


Perth, the highest-paying city for traffic controller jobs, pays an average hourly salary of $34.63 per hour.


Other highest-paying Australian cities for Traffic Controllers are:


  • Wetherill Park: $32.84 per hour

  • Rockhampton: $32.04 per hour

  • Melbourne: $31.09 per hour

  • Traffic controller salary in Sydney: $30.12 per hour

  • Mackay: $29.96 per hour

  • Wollongong: $29.91 per hour

  • Newcastle: $29.80 per hour



11. Job Outlook Like for Traffic Controllers In Australia


Around 50% of all traffic controllers work in public administration and safety, 20% work in the construction industry, and below 10% are employed in the warehousing or transport industry.


The latest employment statistics indicate a considerable increase in the number of professionals employed in the traffic management industry. This also shows good demand for traffic controllers that are likely to grow in the coming years, particularly in public safety and administration.



12. FAQs On Traffic Controller Jobs In Australia



How To Become A Traffic Controller In Queensland?


Not everyone needs accreditation to work as a traffic controller in Queensland. These include police officers, the Department of Transport and Main Roads school crossing supervisors, escort vehicle drivers, and State Emergency Service officers.


Suppose you don't fall in the above category. In that case, you need to get authorized by the Department of Transport and Main Roads to monitor and control traffic in the state.


To become a licensed traffic controller in Queensland, you must:


  • Complete a state-approved traffic controller training course. 

  • Must possess adequate learning, numeracy, and literacy skills

  • Have held a driver's license (Australian or foreign) in the last five years


Once you meet the above conditions, you can submit the license application form and the fee online or visit the closest centre to your residential address.



How To Become A Traffic Controller In Sydney?


To become a traffic controller in Sydney, you must complete the SafeWork NSW accredited Traffic Control training courses. Additionally, obtain a white card from a Registered Training Organisation in Sydney.


Fulfil the following eligibility requirements to undertake the training courses:



Some traffic control training providers and registered training institutions in Sydney offer face-to-face training courses in different locations in Sydney, such as Penrith, Burwood, and Parramatta.


These institutions provide a range of training courses to equip you with the necessary qualification to become a licensed traffic controller in NSW.


  • 1-day Traffic Controller course

  • 1-day Traffic Management Implementer Course

  • 2 days Traffic Management Designer Course

  • 1-day White Card Course


Course participants must complete the Final Assessment test and obtain a license to get ready to take a traffic controller job in NSW.



How To Become A Traffic Controller In NSW?


To work as a traffic controller in NSW, you must have an existing SafeWork NSW Traffic Control Work Training Card or an RMS-issued Traffic Control Card. You need these cards to conduct traffic control work on public roads in NSW.


Exception: Those who belong to the below categories do not need to have the card:


  • School crossing supervisors

  • Emergency services personnel

  • Heavy vehicle inspectors

  • Commonwealth and defence employees


Aspiring traffic controllers must fulfil the following conditions to pursue the job:


  • 17 years or more

  • Complete a traffic controller training course such as RIIWHS201E

  • RIICOM201E, RIIWHS205E, and RIIWHS206 from a SafeWork NSW-approved training provider

  • A valid Statement of Completion of training courses

  • A white card issued by NSW authority or an interstate cards construction induction card allotted by other states/ territories to work on construction sites


After meeting the requirements and completing the training course, you must take a final assessment test per the RII Resources and infrastructure training requirements. 


After successfully passing the test, you will get a SafeWork NSW Traffic Control Training Card.



How To Become A Traffic Controller In Melbourne?


To conduct traffic controller work in Melbourne, you must complete a 1-day registered training course and obtain a Traffic Controller's Photo License.


Reputed Universities like Edway offer Australian Skills and Quality Authority-approved Traffic Control training courses to aspiring traffic controllers in Melbourne.


To take the course, candidates need to fulfil the following requirements:


  • Id proof

  • Unique Student Identifier

  • Attendance

  • Comfortable closed-in shoes for practical sessions

  • Adequate numeracy, language, and literacy skills

  • Face mask


By undertaking the course, you will get the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure the safety of road users, drivers, fellow workers, and construction workers.


The course will also help you learn to plan traffic-controlling strategies, prepare a site, operate communication devices, and maintain a safe and clean work environment.


After successful completion of the course, you get the following:


  • A certificate 

  • Statement of attainment 

  • Plastic Card Issued by WorkSafe VIC



How Much Time Does It Take To Become A Traffic Controller?


Over 50% of workers entered this field after completing high school. Only 20% earned a bachelor's degree, advanced diploma course, or master's certificate.


To become a traffic controller, you must have a construction induction card and complete RIIWHS205D and RIIWHS302D training courses.


  • You can complete a construction induction training in 1 day and obtain the construction induction card.

  • RIIWHS205D involves one day of classroom and practical training and 

  • RIIWHS302E involves 1.5 days of on-site training and assessment. 

  • Thus, you can become a qualified traffic controller in just a week.


Traffic controllers seeking entry-level roles in transport, capital works, and infrastructure don't need experience.


However, you need additional experience to work as a traffic controller in the construction industry.



Should I Undergo Traffic Controller Training Again When I Change Employers?


No. You don't have to repeat traffic controller training when you switch employers in the same state. It is due to the Traffic Controller Accreditation Scheme.



Once accredited, you can work anywhere within the traffic control industry in your state.


However, your new employers can provide workplace induction training or additional traffic controller training to fulfil specific safety, operational, workplace, and health needs. The above rule doesn't hold if your new employer is in a different state.


It is because you aren't authorized to control traffic in any other state except where you hold accreditation.


In such a case, you will need to undergo a short training course to partially acknowledge previously gained competencies before submitting your application. Contact a Transport, and Main Roads approved RTO to know more about the approved traffic controller training course.



What Is The Process To Renew Traffic Controller Accreditation?


You must fulfil the following conditions to renew your accreditation:


  • Complete a state-approved traffic controller refresher course

  • Duly fill out the Traffic Controller Accreditation Scheme Application form (F4115), and mention your medical fitness, offence history, and training qualifications.

  • Submit your application form and a fee at an authorized transport and motoring service centre.



How To Apply For A Replacement Industry Authority Card?


Suppose your card was lost, damaged, or stolen. In that case, you can apply for a replacement card by fulfilling the following conditions:


  • Complete the Replacement Industry Authority form (F4729)

  • Submit your application and a fee at an authorized transport and motoring service centre.



13. Conclusion


The traffic controller is a noble profession that entitles you to a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for pedestrians and workers.


If you are ready to take up a challenging role, to serve the nation, then get qualified and start impacting people's lives.


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