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Air Traffic Control

On December 30, 2013 the FAA changed the manner in which it hires applicants for the position of Air Traffic Control Specialists. Prior to this date the FAA had established several hiring sources; they were, military controllers (VRA), reemployed PATCO controllers, CTI graduates, and Off-the-Street. However, CTI graduates were the fastest growing source for ATCS candidates. Nevertheless, the only thing that really changed was the manner in which the FAA began hiring new applicants; namely, all applicants are selected from one hiring source.
However, the requirement for attending and passing the FAA Academy did not and has not changed with the new hiring process. What this means for anyone contemplating a career in air traffic control is that their chances of passing the FAA Academy are greatly diminished if they have little or no training in air traffic control rules, procedures, and phraseology. What the Broward College Air Traffic Control program offers to students is the opportunity to learn Air Traffic Basics in a college setting and the ability to put this learning into practice at our state of the art Tower and Radar simulators from experienced retired FAA air traffic controllers. The pass rate, at the FAA Academy and attaining CPC status for graduates of Broward’s ATC program is exceptionally high, so despite the changes occurring in the FAA two critical things remain constant; the FAA will continue to need air traffic controllers to replace those eligible or nearing eligibility for retirement and the FAA Academy is still a Pass/Fail step for anyone wishing to become an air traffic controller.


Be part of an exciting career as an Air Traffic Controller!  Click here for more information.


What does an Air Traffic Controller actually do?
An air traffic controller works in either an air traffic control tower or a radar facility.  Air traffic controllers direct many aircraft at once to keep them a safe distance from all other aircraft.  From the time an airplane departs the gate until it arrives at the destination gate, air traffic controllers issue instructions to keep it going to its destination and clear of all other aircraft and obstacles.
Do I have to get a degree to be an air traffic controller?

​According to the FAA's aviation careers page, applicants must have 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.

What is the pay range for air traffic controllers?

This is a complex answer due to the pay structure.  The starting pay is approx. $37,000 and rises fairly quickly to $55,000.  From there the time it takes depends how quickly you can learn the job.  Your pay increases as you become qualified on more areas of control.  The median income is $108,000 but you can make as high as $174,000 base pay, higher while working holidays, Sundays and nights.

How easy is it to get hired with the FAA after attaining my degree?

The FAA says it takes approximately 2 years from the time of your degree until you get hired.  For some it is less, other take slightly more time.

Are they any age restriction on getting hired as an air traffic controller?

Yes, you must be hired before your 31st birthday. So we recommend that you begin our program by the time you are 27.  If you choose to start later, it is still possible to get hired but you are taking a chance that you run out of time before you turn 31.

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