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.