FAA Opens Short Window For ATC Hiring

Agency offers an excellent career for the right person.

Pueblo Airport
The control tower at Pueblo Airport in Colorado.NATCA photos

It happens even less frequently than leap year, but yesterday the FAA announced the opening of a hiring window to begin recruiting 1,400 new air traffic controllers for tower, Tracon and enroute center positions all around the United States. The window officially opens today, July 7, and will remain open only until next Friday, July 14.

The vacancy — officially called Air Traffic Control Specialist (Trainee) — is expected to be highly competitive. Trainees receive a salary and a per diem to cover living expenses during initial training. Once fully qualified, salaries vary depending upon the working location, but can easily exceed $100,000 annually.

But there are a few requirements applicants must meet before they fill out the initial paperwork. Applicants must be U.S. citizens under 31 years of age (controllers still face a mandatory retirement at age 56). Applicants must pass medical, security and pre-employment tests and speak English clearly enough to be understood on the radio. Trainees must have at least three years of responsible work prior to applying and be willing to relocate anywhere the agency requires.

Applicants will be separated into two candidate pools. The first will include graduates of an institution participating in the Collegiate Training Initiative program who provide an appropriate recommendation, as well as eligible veterans. The agency apparently learned from its past hiring mistakes and said Pool 1 applicants will not be required to take a biographical assessment. Pool 2 includes the general public.

Applicants can begin the screening process at USAJOBS.gov. The agency has also created an ATC career background page for applicants.