Tuesday, April 16, 2024

FAA ATC application window this weekend

The FAA will be accepting applications for air traffic controllers April 19 through April 22. This opportunity is approximately an annual event, so if you miss this one you may have to wait a year for another chance. What you need to know:

  • You must not have reached your 31st birthday - this is because of our retirement rules
  • You must be a US citizen
  • You must be willing to relocate
  • You must speak English clearly

 The application process is handled through USAjobs.gov

To prepare for the application window, you can create an account and input your resume and other documents ahead of time. 

For more information, visit the FAA's Be ATC page

If you're interested, I strongly encourage you to create your USA Jobs account now, and prepare your resume and other information. Previous application windows have been very busy, even to the point of crashing the web servers, so be prepared to put in your application as soon as the window opens -- and also be prepared to have to make the attempt more than once. 

Once you have applied, expect the hiring process to be slow and frustrating; after all this is the federal government -- the wheels turn slowly and laboriously. I've heard of applicants waiting for two or three years, so have something else in the meantime, along with a Plan B or Plan C.

If you get hired and sent to a facility, even if it's not someplace that you want to be, your goal at that point is to make it through the training program. Once you've made it through the training program at that facility, you can work towards going somewhere else. Being unsuccessful at that first facility may not be the end of your FAA career, but it will be highly dependent upon what that facility was, and how far you made it in their training program. My personal recommendation, if you have a choice, is to not aim for a high-level facility. That may be where you want to end up, but initially your goal is to get certified at your first facility, as that means that you will have a job and the opportunity to move up. If you wash out at that first facility there's no guarantee that you'll get another chance elsewhere.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • The work schedule is awful; we work all shifts, and it's common to have a different shift every day
  • You're going to work nights
  • You're going to work weekends
  • You're going to work holidays
  • We choose schedules and vacations based upon seniority
  • You will have to be able to hold a Class 2 physical -- the same as commercial pilots
  • You do not have to be a pilot
  • Despite some states and localities legalizing the use of various recreational pharmaceuticals, FAA controllers are federal employees for whom drug use is not allowed, and we are subject to regular and random alcohol and drug testing
  • Like other federal government jobs, preference is given to military veterans


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the information. I find it fascinating that is is a once a year window give the troubles that seem to plague the air space around Jacksonville FL. Nice to see a post here as you alway have a different perspective on aviation.