No experience? No problem. You, too, can be an air-traffic controller, guiding hundreds or thousands of flights from airport to airport across the country.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the position offers an “exciting, challenging and rewarding aviation career.”
The qualifications include being a U.S. citizen; starting training no later than age 31; passing medical, security and pre-employment tests; and earning either a bachelor’s degree or three years of progressive work experience.
And be able to speak English “clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment.”
But not necessarily any experience.
In fact, the agency specifically addresses that concern, stating: “Members of the general public can apply for FAA air traffic control specialist positions through specific job vacancies announced on USAJOBS that do not require previous air traffic control experience.”
Forbes’ aviation transportation contributor John Goglia has reported that the FAA is set to hire some 10,000 controllers over the next decade, with a front-loaded 6,000 needed in just five years.
The positions would be in one of the 315 at FAA offices around the nation.
He reported that trainees in 2012 started at $17,803 with salaries jumping to $37,070 after training. However, that is just the beginning. He reported the median air-traffic controller salary was $122,530 with a small percentage taking in more than $171,340. Only about 10 percent were below $64,930.
The actual pay depends on “career path, facility location, facility complexity, job performance, training and certifications.”
The FAA explains: “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?”
Tanita Gaither at Cleveland’s WOIO-TV said job postings used to ask for applicants with military or prior aviation experience.
Goglia said under the FAA hiring plan, the Air Traffic Controller Workforce Plan 2013-2022, the jobs are open in locations ranging from the national Command Center to airport towers that do not even have radar.
“Of particular important to interested applicants, the FAA is opening its hiring to the general public,” he reported. “This is not always the case as sometimes the FAA recruits exclusively from the military or students who have completed an FAA-approved air traffic course of study at the collegiate level.
“This year the FAA will be opening a general recruiting announcement seeking applicants from the general public who have no air-traffic control experience,” he said.
The goal? “More depth and diversity” among controllers.