The FAA employed 14,242 air traffic controllers in fiscal 2020—a year in which 920 new controllers were hired. About 4,300 controllers will be hired over the next five years, the FAA said in a news release.
To further the recruitment push, the FAA has launched a media and social media campaign featuring current employees and FAA officials who share their stories in interviews, on social media, in conversations on Instagram Live, and on other platforms, the FAA said.
The effort is augmented with a “digital toolkit” with ATC career information, minimum requirements for applicants, answers to frequently asked questions, and a link to the government website where prospects can apply.
A certified controller can earn a six-figure salary and receives a comprehensive federal benefits package.
Basic eligibility requirements include being a U.S. citizen; being age 30 or younger on the application period’s closing date; passing a medical exam, a security investigation, and a pre-employment test; speaking English “clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment”; having “three years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor’s degree, or a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years”; and being willing to relocate based on FAA staffing needs.
New controllers receive training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, followed by assignment to an FAA facility for additional training.
“Having individuals with diverse backgrounds helps us find ways to continue enhancing aviation safety and efficiency. I hope more people will pursue the opportunity to become an air traffic controller as a result of this effort,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
A diverse workforce “makes us more innovative, stronger, and safer as an agency,” added FAA Deputy Administrator Bradley Mims. “I encourage people to apply so we can achieve our goal.”
“I have the greatest job in the world, and there is absolutely nothing else in the world I would rather be doing,” said Jeffrey Vincent, who started out as an air traffic controller and is now vice president of FAA Air Traffic Services. “Since I was 17, I wanted to be an air traffic controller. I am surrounded by so many people who have a similar passion for aviation and service to our country and who make even the toughest days rewarding.”
“Being an air traffic controller is not only important, but it’s also an interesting and dynamic career,” said Teri L. Bristol, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. “Air travelers and the public rely on these safety professionals to oversee thousands of aircraft that travel in our national airspace system every day. Air traffic control becomes more exciting every day as innovative uses for airspace, such as drones and commercial space vehicles, become ever more prevalent.”
More information is available on the FAA website.