How to Become an Air Traffic Controller
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How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

The view from an air traffic control tower.

Paul Ellis/Getty Images

For those that spend their days dreaming about jetting off, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could have a dream job opportunity. They are hiring 1,400 new air traffic controllers to ensure that planes take off and land safely.

The FAA already employs more than 14,000 air traffic controllers, and is looking to train an additional 1,400 “in preparation for the new workforce.”

Competition for the entry-level positions is going to be tough: The FAA expects more than 25,000 applications.

Being selected for the position does not guarantee a job: Applicants must complete a training program at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City that lasts several months.

The Air Traffic Control Specialists’ (ATCS) main mission is to keep the airspace moving safely and orderly. The extensive training program teaches recruits how to do so with “zero margin for error,” live from the air traffic control tower.

An air traffic control tower seen from a plane on the runway.

Jan Greune/LOOK-foto/Getty Images

But, if selected for the job, future air traffic controllers can expect some perks.

The median salary for an air traffic controller was $122,950 in 2015, although starting salaries are lower. Salaries increase as controllers complete each level of training. Plus, the federal employee benefits are pretty great.

The FAA is accepting applications on the federal government’s job openings page from August 8 to 15.

In order to be considered, applicants must be younger than 31, be a U.S. citizen and pass a series of medical and security examinations. Potential hires should also be willing to relocate.

If you don’t fit those qualifications, you can still learn more about air traffic control (or bolster your application) by completing the FAA’s Study Guide and Self Assessment.

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