Be an air traffic controller. No experience necessary

A change in the way FAA hires air traffic controllers is upsetting those who train many of them.

The Grand Forks Herald reports the FAA is no longer giving preference to applicants who specifically train to be air traffic controllers or who have previous aviation experience.

“It’s almost like they dumbed down the process,” Paul Drechsel, the assistant chairman of the University of North Dakota’s air traffic control program, tells the Herald. “If I was the flying public I would be very concerned about this.”

Anyone will now be considered for an ATC job as long as they pass a preliminary test and have a bachelor’s degree or three years of work experience in any field whatsoever, the report says.

Why? FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro says the change was made to add diversity to the workforce.

“We know that we have to hire so many thousands’ over the next decade, so it’s a way to see if we can find the best applicants across the whole population,” he said.

UND is trying to enlist the state’s politicians to pressure the FAA to change the rule.

  • Jack

    Sorry but I want those involved with aviation to be at least trained in aviation before taking the job. Time for the FAA to find another way to attract diversity – perhaps scholarships for diverse candidates to get the training?

    There aren’t a lot of chances for do-overs when you are talking aviation.

  • drew houz

    Its only a once per year opening. What training facilities want to protect is their offering of a curriculem you pay for – you get the same training from the FAA IF you get selected and pass the initial entry yest and then the screening process. This is much easier if you pay UND or a CTI school for 2 years of preparation and training – but there are failures from their programs as well. Also there are numerous open bids for CTI students (or graduates of these programs) which dont require the general experience as long as you completed the program. It’s not dumbing down the process – its just opening the field for those who cannot afford the 40K+ for a CTI curriculum on top of the college fees – they still go through and have to pass a long and ardorous training and screening process- the same as CTI grads, before they ever get to work independently. Failure rates are higher for the non-CTI trainees – but many actually are exceptional when all is said and done – its still aptitude and ability to do the job – not degrees.

  • drew houz

    I have a recently certified full performance level controller working for me that came in on an “off-the-street” application without any CTI training, They were 20 years old, when they started and are now in their 4th year. This individual has more ability and aptitude then almost all of the individuals I have working here that have come to us through CTI programs. As I said – it is aptitude and ability that allow success at this job. I am in a major facility in the upper midwest. Molinari is correct in his response about finding the best applicants across the whole population