You love a challenge. You are looking for a career to make a difference. You want to bring your best every day. The FAA is looking for you.
The FAA is hiring people interested in a career as an air traffic controller to “Be ATC”. As an Air Traffic Controller, you will join the FAA’s fast-paced, active team of 14,000 professionals across the nation working in radar facilities and in towers who help keep the skies safe.
The application window is now open nationwide June 24 – 11:59 p.m. ET on June 27 for all eligible U.S. citizens.
It’s a tough job. Got what it takes?
Controllers collectively handle an average of 45,000 flights a day and, much like rush hour traffic, more than 5,000 aircraft traversing the skies at once during peak times. Focus. Concentration. Attention to detail. Quick decision making. It’s all part of the job.
The Air Up There Podcast: How Air Traffic Works
In this episode, you will learn how the puzzle pieces fit together in a cross-country flight — from takeoff to cruising altitude and back down — and how an orchestra of more than 14,000 air traffic controllers, in unison with pilots and airport personnel, creates a symphony of flights moving safely and efficiently across the nation while faced with a variety of constraints like weather, construction and heavy traffic areas.
This episode is one of our most requested topics — how to become an air traffic controller as an entry-level applicant. FAA experts will walk you through everything from the application process to training at the FAA Academy and certification.
This episode highlights the very important role of an air traffic controller and related safety professionals. Without their experience and quick thinking, the miracle in the air could have ended differently.
Trainee controller Lillian told Secretary Pete she wanted to be a controller when she was 12 years old. She fulfilled her dream. You can too. While the work is demanding, it is also rewarding with great benefits and pay.
The median annual wage for air traffic controllers (ATCs) was $138,556 in 2021. The wage for ATC Trainees, while attending FAA Academy training on a temporary appointment, is based on an annual salary of $32,552 – $33,637 for 2022, which includes locality pay.
Upon successful completion of the FAA Academy training, and assignment to a facility, developmental ATCs receive an annual wage of $41,101. There is also applicable locality pay. (Unless the ATCs has prior ATC experience, which qualifies for higher pay under the ATCs Collective Bargaining Agreement.)
The salaries for entry-level air traffic controllers increase as they complete each training phase. The annual salary for more advanced controllers, who have completed on-the-job training, varies with the location of the facility, the complexity of the airspace, and other factors.
As a federal employee, air traffic controllers receive a benefits package that rivals, if not surpasses, those offered in the private sector – with a variety of insurance, retirement, leave, and flexible spending options for employees and their families.
How do I apply?
- be a U.S. citizen
- be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (Required for males born after 12/31/1959)
- be age 30 or under on the closing date of the application period (with limited exceptions)
- have either three years of general work experience or four years of education leading to a bachelor’s degree, or a combination of both
- speak English clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment
I applied, what comes next?
It may take several months for applicants to find out if they have been selected into the ATC program. Individuals who meet the minimum application requirements will also be required to pass the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA) to be considered for employment. We ask that applicants please be patient while waiting to be notified to take the ATSA.
Individuals who are selected are also required to pass all pre-employment requirements, to include a medical examination, security investigation, drug test, and the ATSA.
Because of the serious nature of this work and zero margin for error, selected candidates will train at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. After successful completion of training, you will be placed in a radar facility or air traffic tower to gain on-the-job experience before becoming certified professional controllers. Applicants must be willing to work anywhere in the U.S.
Spread the word! Access our digital toolkit.
Building on the success of last year’s campaign, the FAA is again partnering with diverse organizations, hosting Instagram Live conversations and a Reddit AMA, and working with influencers and others to get the word out to all communities to Be ATC. Mark your calendars for important dates.
Bring Your Best to Be ATC
It’s a challenging job, but it’s also rewarding. At the end of the day when you get home and look up at the sky, you know that what you’ve done makes a difference. – Jeffrey Vincent, VP for Air Traffic Services