Air Traffic Controllers
If you're looking for an exciting, challenging and rewarding aviation career, become an FAA Air Traffic Controller.
Every day of the year, and especially on holidays, more than 15,000 federal controllers at 315 FAA air traffic facilities are on the job, guiding more than 87,000 flights every day across our national airspace system. Do you have what it takes to help us control the skies?
To be an Air Traffic Control Specialist, you must:
- Be a United States citizen
- Start at the FAA Academy no later than your 31st birthday
- Pass a medical examination
- Pass a security investigation
- 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.
- Pass the FAA air traffic pre-employment tests
- Speak English clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment
All vacancies for air traffic control specialist positions will be announced via USAJOBS. This is not an official vacancy announcement.
Air Traffic Controller Employment FAQ
- General Qualifications
- Hiring Process
- Pay, Benefits, and Training
- Search All Questions
The FAA plans to hire and train more than ten thousand air traffic control specialists over the next decade, read the eighth annual update to the Air Traffic Controller Workforce Plan 2013-2022 (PDF) for more information.
Are you curious about some of the basic aviation knowledge many of our applicants learn from prior experience or education? Do you want to test yourself on the fundamental knowledge we expect our controllers to master while in initial training? We developed a self-paced study guide and self-assessment based on the Air Traffic (AT) Basics course we teach at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, and we're making the study guide available to the general public. Check it out at http://atbasics.faa.gov.
Airway Transportation Systems Specialists (ATSS) perform in the capacity of highly specialized electronics technicians. The primary duties of an ATSS are linked to maintaining the safe and efficient operating capacity of the vast and complex network of electronics systems required for the world's largest air traffic control and navigation system.
ATSS personnel install, evaluate, maintain, modify and certify facilities, systems, services and equipment that support the National Airspace System (NAS). They are also responsible for various auxiliary duties that contribute to providing reliable and safe FAA services to the flying public. This involves working with surveillance radar, weather, communications, automation, and navigational aid equipment as well as various environmental support facilities and equipment.
This work also includes periodic maintenance, modification, troubleshooting, repair and replacement of malfunctioning equipment, and certification. ATSSs may be required to maintain entire facilities, subsystems, or individual services or equipment that assist in the safe and expedient movement of air traffic throughout the NAS.
Note: The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by ATSSs, however, not all duties assigned to every ATSS are included, nor it is expected that all ATSSs will be assigned every duty.
The following five specialties encompass the duties of an ATSS electronic equipment/systems technician:
ATSSs assigned to work with systems in the ENVIRONMENTAL specialty may be required to install, maintain, modify and certify facilities, services and equipment. This includes, but is not limited to: lighted navigational aids systems, engine generators (with or w/o transfer switches), heating ventilating and air conditioning systems and power sources/power conditioning systems. They are also expected to possess knowledge of the national electric code (NEC) and additional responsibilities in the communication, automation, navigational aids, or radar fields may also be required.
ATSSs assigned to work within the RADAR specialty are associated with the installation, maintenance, modification and certification of surveillance and RADAR systems and services such as: Airport Surveillance Radar, Air Route Surveillance Radar, Air Traffic Control Beacon Indicator, Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Terminal Doppler Weather Radar, etc. Additional responsibilities in the communication, environmental, navigational aids, or automation fields may also be required.
ATSSs assigned to work with systems in the NAVIGATIONAL AIDS specialty may be required to install, inspect/evaluate, repair, maintain, modify, and certify various navigational aid related systems and services. These are included, but not limited to: Instrument Landing Systems, Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VORs), Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Directional Range (DVOR), Tactical Aircraft Control and Navigation (TACAN), and Distance Measuring Equipment (DMEs), etc. Additional responsibilities in the environmental, communication, radar or automation fields may also be required.
ATSSs assigned to work with systems in the COMMUNICATIONS specialty are associated with the installation, maintenance, modification and certification of communications systems and services such as: Motorola, ITT, or General Dynamics radios, Radio Communications Link Repeater, Low Density Radio Communications Link Repeater, Small Tower Voice Switch, Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch, Rapid Deployment Voice Switch, Digital Voice Recorder System, Digital Audio Legal Recorder, etc. Additional responsibilities in the environmental, navigational aids, radar or automation fields may also be required.
ATSSs assigned to work with systems in the AUTOMATION specialty are associated with the installation, maintenance, modification and certification of automation-related systems and services such as: Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, Automated Radar Terminal System, Direct Access Radar Channel, En Route Automation Modernization, etc. Additional responsibilities in the communication, environmental, navigational aids, or radar fields may also be required.
Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI)
FAA employs aviation safety inspectors in a variety of roles, each with a specialized area of responsibility. The main ASI roles are operations, airworthiness, avionics and maintenance safety. The responsibilities and qualifications for each are based whether you will be working with air carriers, general or military aviation. In any of the ASI positions, you will need to have broad knowledge of the aviation industry; understand general principles of aviation safety, and Federal laws, regulations and policies affecting aviation; and have in-depth technical knowledge and skill in aircraft operation and maintenance.
As an air carrier or general aviation operations inspector, you will evaluate airmen, their training programs, equipment and facilities; and investigate incidents/accidents involving both general and air carrier industries which violate Federal Aviation Regulations. Knowledge and skills typically acquired as airmen (pilots, navigators, flight instructors, etc.) are used to develop and administer regulations and safety standards pertaining to the operation of aircraft. Your primary responsibilities will include:
- Examining airmen for initial certification and continuing competence.
- Evaluating airmen training programs, equipment and facilities.
- Evaluating the operational aspect of safety programs for air carriers and similar commercial and general aviation operations with regard to adequacy of facilities, equipment, procedures and overall management.
- Various other inspections, investigations and advisory duties.
As an airworthiness inspector (avionics or maintenance), you will develop and administer regulations and safety standards pertaining to the airworthiness and maintenance of aircraft and related equipment. You will apply knowledge and skills typically acquired as a repairman of aircraft, aircraft parts or avionics equipment, to the following assignments:
- Evaluating mechanics and repair facilities for initial certification and continuing adequacy.
- Evaluating the mechanics' training program.
- Inspecting aircraft and related equipment for airworthiness.
- Evaluating the maintenance aspects of air carrier programs and similar commercial operations which may include the adequacy of maintenance facilities, equipment and procedures; competence of employees; adequacy of the program or schedule for periodic maintenance and overhauls; and airworthiness of the aircraft.
- Various other inspections, investigations and advisory duties.
As an avionics inspector, you will be responsible for evaluating avionics technicians and applicable training programs and repair facilities. You'll investigate violations involving incidents/accidents violating FAA regulations, including general aviation and air carrier industries, as well as inspect aircraft and all related equipment.
Our maintenance inspectors evaluate aviation mechanics, their facilities and training programs as well as inspect aircraft and related equipment for airworthiness. You will investigate incidents/accidents involving both general and air carrier industries which violate Federal Aviation Regulations.
FAA regulates and oversees all aspects of our nation's civil aviation. FAA employees work in a variety of occupations across the nation to provide the safest, most efficient aviation technology and airspace in the world.