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FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Fri Feb 04, 2005 11:28 pm

A friend of my family works for the FAA as an air traffic controller. To maintain a certain sense of anonymity, I won't mention her name (obviously) or where she works, but I'll just say that its at an airport's TRACON in the United States.

Anyway, I am looking to make a career change, so I had her snooping around to find out how she could help me get hired into the FAA controller program. All of the postings on the FAA website require you to either (a) have been a military controller, or (b) have completed the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program and have your name on the eligibility list.

Initially, she didn't think that was the case, but after checking around, she was very surprised (and somewhat dismayed) to learn that this was, in fact, true.

This was her take on the situation when telling me about the downside of the job: "Bad things about the job: Number one for me is the bureaucratic environment. A good example is the hiring thing; they say they're going to hire 12,500 new controllers, but nobody seems to know where they're going to come from. And getting anything changed takes an act of Congress."

This brings up a good point: Where will the FAA get 12,500 new controllers over the next few years? Is the AT-CTI list really big enough to foot that bill? Plus, I doubt that EVERY military controller will want to be an FAA controller if they decide to get out of the military.

Her feeling is that eventually they will open the postings to the general public, but if anyone here at has any thoughts or information on the matter, I'd like to hear them.

"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:02 am

Actually, many military controllers, and weathermen are looking for a career change once they complete the service. They've already been worked up.
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 1:26 am

A friend of mine created Visit this site for information all about exactly what you are asking, both how to get hired, and the numbers, etc., associated with that.

The discussion forum there, like here, has some useful information.


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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:00 pm

Well, I don't anything personal about you, but your profile says you're between 26-35. If you're over 31, forget about're too old to be hired. If you're late 20s, forget about going the military route for training. You'll have to enlist for 5 years and that will put you over the age limit of 31.

If you're interested and young enough to finish 2 years of college before turning 31, check out the CTI website from reply 2.

I'm a DOD civilian controller waiting my time to transfer to the FAA. I'm sure the FAA will hire roughly 400 controllers before the end of this FY. The President's budget that goes to Congress Monday is said to contain enough money to hire 1250 controllers next FY. We'll just have to see.

Presently, the 2 best ways to get into ATC is to get training and certification through the military or through attendance at a CTI school. There was a thrid way - through the MARC school in Minneapolis - but Congress stopped funding them at the beginning of this FY. MARC was a good way for a college graduate - in any subject - to get into a center controller slot.

As far as where the controllers will come from, it is my opinion that CTI admissions will rise and that's where a lot will come from. This program isn't costing the FAA much of anything finacially - if anything at all. Students are paying their way through college on the hopes they'll get employed before turning 31. I love being a controller and the pay isn't all that bad when you get certified. I was a military controller before getting hired by the DOD and it's also my opinion that 99% of the controllers in the military who do not want to make it a career get out before turning 31 so they can work DOD or FAA ATC.

Once again my opinion, but I believe to hire 12,500 new controllers, the FAA will need to hire "off the streets". That will be 3-4 years down the road, though. There are enough CTIs, military, DOD civilians, contract tower controllers under 31, and the 5000 fired PATCO controllers who've re-applied in the pipeline to make "off the streets" hiring a down the road remedy.
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 3:29 pm

As someone who has considered possibly becoming an air traffic controller, as I tend to thrive in that kind of environment, I have thought that before I go diving head into an ATC school or anything, that I would like to see a little first hand knowledge first, and spending some time looking over someone's shoulder at a TRACON or a tower would be the perfect opportunity. But how would you go about scheduling a visit or anything? Or is it even possible? I certainly wouldn't do it someplace like ATL, but go down to my hometown of JAX or the Hilliard TRACON that has a sleepier, but still busy atmosphere. Are these facilities usually pretty accomodating to showing folks around, or is it something that you shouldn't even bother messing with, being post 9/11 and all?

Any info is appreciated.

I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:20 pm

I'd like to know the same thing. I'm considering this profession as well, and considering the 12,000 retiring I thought this would be the best time.

I live in PHL. The nearest AT-CTI school is in PIT, and I really don't feel like moving there for 2 years or whatever, nor do I want to add more loans to the 4 years worth of college I just finished.

Are there really going to be 12,000 people graduating from these programs in the next few years? It seems like the FAA (or whoever came up with the rule) is shooting itself in the foot here. I and apparently others here on this board are willing but unable to gain access.

Otto: I and some friends just had a tour of PHL Tracon and Tower. It was indeed a great experience which has spurred my intrest in this area. Prior to that tour I had no intrest in ATC at all. A friend knows 2 of the Controllers at PHL, so he was able to arrange the tour. I wouldn't know where to begin if you don't have any contacts "on the inside".
I think Big Foot is blurry... It's not the photographer's fault. There's a large out of focus monster roaming the countryside.
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:20 am

Hiring 12,500 or 12 million controllers won't solve the constipation in the NAS.
The way business is done in ATC needs to fundamentally change.
As long as the FAA maintains the "one sector-one controller" architecture, the usual delays and periodic melt-downs will occur with the usual frequency. The FAA should instead invest in new technologies to bring the NAS (National Airspace System) away from the 1940s era radar based "control" setup in place today into a 21st century "Airspace Management" system. Of course any tentative moves the FAA has made in this direction over the last decade and a half have been still born and have been noted for the billions of bucks squandered.
Probelm is, it's controllers that rule the roost at the FAA so I don't expect any improvement any time soon.
Do you routinely fly in ZNY ZBW or ZDC? Well if you chafe at cooling your heels waiting for departure now, wait until the microjet boom starts to take hold in a couple of years...
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 3:48 am

They are hiring 12,500 controllers over the next ten years. They are going to get all of the controllers from CTI and military for the next 3 or 4 years, then they said they might start hiring from the public. You still have to pass all the test to get in which is tough, especially if you are off the street.
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 4:38 am

What's "one sector-one controller" architecture that sidishus mentioned. I think the lack of concrete to land planes on is the problem.
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:04 am

What's "one sector-one controller" architecture that sidishus mentioned. I think the lack of concrete to land planes on is the problem.

I think this is how it works:

One controller controls one section of airspace (let's say arrivals into Atlanta from the northeast between 10,000 and FL240). Thus, they get all the planes that pass through that area (every plane coming into Atlanta from the northeast, plus all the other aircraft buzzing around in there - going to and from other airports in the Atlanta area, VFR traffic, etc.). When things get too busy, they can't handle the workload, and thus can't accept any more planes, so they get on the phone to Atlanta Center and ask for all planes inbound from the northeast to be put into a holding pattern somewhere so that they can work on the planes that they already have to deal with without having to take any new ones. Once they do this, and the number of planes in their airspace goes down, they can start accepting more arrivals, but the planes that have been put into holding patterns have slowed down other planes which are also enroute, and it creates somewhat of a chain reaction. In Atlanta (which is busy quite often), this happens a lot, and it slows down arrivals, thus causing delays, which can extend across the country.

That's my view of how it works. I'm not really sure what the "airspace management" thing entails, but I'd be interested to know, as it sounds pretty interesting.

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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 4:46 pm

Didn't Bush just cut the budget again for the FAA?
Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
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RE: FAA Hiring 12,500 Controllers A Long Shot?

Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:43 pm

I am currently enrolled in the CTI program. We have been told that once we take the test be it either the OPM or the AT-SAT if we pass it we will be put on a list of potential hires. Once we officially graduate from the CTI program we are hired by our class rank. Highest class rank goes first lowest goes last. They tell us that right now they are clearing out the backlog of potential hires that has been in place for a few years. They should be thru that backlog by the end of a year and will be hiring all the CTI and military students. So hopefully for me by the time I am finished with school in May of 06 I will have a short wait from graduation date until I go to school again in Oklahoma city.

If anybody has any questions about the CTI program let me know. I'd be happy to answer them. Just use the contact thing on my profile.

Two rules in aviation, don't hit anything and don't run out of gas, cause if you run out of gas yer gonna hit something.

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