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FAA Welcomes Air Traffic Control Class of 2014

FAA Welcomes Air Traffic Control Class of 2014

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Air Traffic Control Specialists manage the safest, most efficient airspace system in the world - ensuring 50,000 flights take off and land safely every day. It takes a dedicated, professional workforce to maintain this level of excellence, which is why I am pleased to announce that the FAA has extended tentative offer letters to 1,600 candidates to join this proud team as the next group of Air Traffic Control Specialists. The first training classes for this group will start at the Academy in September.

I could not be more excited about this new class of promising candidates.  This next generation of air traffic controllers is special because this February, we instituted an interim hiring process that was open to all Americans. This allowed the FAA to recruit even more of the best, most qualified candidates to keep our skies as safe as possible from a pool of 28,000 applicants.

Photo collage of air traffic controllers at work

Not only have we created job opportunities for many qualified Americans, we created a more efficient process that saved millions of taxpayer dollars.  Instead of costing around $8 million to test all 28,000 candidates, by creating a more effective process up front, the second phase testing cost approximately $700,000.  That’s a big win for taxpayers.

Applicants with an aviation or military background generally did very well.  In fact, about 65 percent of the new class has some combination of Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) education, military, or some specific aviation related work history or experience.  CTI school students received tentative offers of employment at a rate that was three times higher than the other applicants.

Air traffic control training at the FAA Academy at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, OK, consists of 17 weeks of in-depth, comprehensive classroom instruction and real-life simulation training for both the Terminal (Tower) and the En Route operations. Candidates must successfully complete training to continue employment as Air Traffic Control Specialists.

After graduating from the academy, trainees are assigned to a tower or En Route air traffic control facility and continue with three years of on-the-job training to achieve Certified Professional Controller status.  

We received useful feedback from the public and lawmakers on our interim hiring process that will prove helpful as we make further improvements to the process before the next round of hiring.  We will track the success of this class closely as we continue to evaluate our recruitment and applicant assessment process.  

We plan to issue a vacancy announcement each year, to keep pace with expected attrition and air traffic growth.  The FAA plans to hire more than 6,600 new controllers over the next five years.  I encourage all qualified persons to apply.  

Michael Huerta is Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Just took my ATSAT test today, not an easy test. Last test day is the 16th or 17th of July. Not sure on the timelines. Only 4 went to Boston today most probably went earlier

I'm heading to Boston to take the ATSAT, and am personally thrilled that they have opened up the hiring process to more off the street applicants. I had no option to go to college when I was younger, and no time now with a job and family to support, so this is a true blessing for both myself and my family. I didn't go through the CTI program but I've more than paid my dues and look forward to going through training with others from the working public.

I have to admit, I have friends who were affected by this change in policy. I'm a graduate of mtsu's aviation program and went the pilot route but all my friends in the Cti program got turned down. All of them had 90-99s on the at-sat and were told they were unqualified. As a pilot I've seen the degradation in service provided. Controllers snapping on frequencies and a general malasie that seems to be the norm. I hope they rethink this idea. And get back to hiring the people with true passion for the job and aviation.

This article is false. My son scored high on the ATSAT test. He was taken off the hiring list and told he had to re-apply for the ATT job. He can't pass the bio test which has nothing to do with air traffic control. The F.A.A. has wronged many kids all over the country. He followed the guidelines of the FAA and went through the college program only to have the hiring rules changed right after he graduated. Colleges are still promoting the program. I wrote to Mr Obama only to receive a cut and paste letter from the FAA saying my son probably didnt qualify. A bunch of B.S. How do you go from "highly qualified" to not. Thank you Mr President for promoting "diversity". I have no problem with who does the job as long as they are hired fairly and are equally qualified for the job. The F.A.A. pulled a totally dishonest way to get their group of unqualified uneducated diverse group into there system.

Hahahahaha blaming Obama? Get outta here.

Well well I was a part of this class and went to training, and I will tell all future prospective candidates to find another career. Do not even waste your time and if you think you will come on board think again. The training is rigged, and only those that know someone in the industry are getting a fair shot. Also 99% of the minorities are flunking out of training or being fired for no reason. When you are at training instructors spend a lot of time telling stories, and then at the last minute rush through training. If you like negativity then this is the place for you to backstab others, and play dirty. Even if you make it past training do you think you will pass once you get to your facility. Even dare to speak up about anything you are fired for whatever reason they can make up. Do yourself a favor and look for another career where you can have a better life and not deteriorate. Do some research and you will find many of the Air Traffic Controllers do not see their retirement at the end of the tunnel.

Is it that bad? My husband is going to Oklahoma in July. He is almost done his associates at Baltimore County college, aviation program. He is also in the Navy. How many actually pass? Did you finish? I didn't think it was that bad. I know a lot of Air controllers.

i want to become one


What they did in Feb. 2014 hiring morons who couldn't care less about aviation and had no schooling came back & bite them, not to mention all the money they wasted. March 2015 Bio test seemed like they realized CTI graduates with BS degrees in aviation and aviation experience are good hires afterall. Would you want a pilot or a Dr. or even a financial planner with only 17 weeks of training?

As a CTI student myself, I disagree with how the FAA has handled the hiring changes. The Bio-Q is ridiculous, and I feel for all of the CTI grads who had their AT-SAT scores thrown out. It's completely unfair. That said, I am tired of all of the fear-mongering. "The FAA is hiring unqualified people". "Would you want a (blank) with only 17 weeks of training?". These kind of remarks are misleading. First off, its not 17 weeks of training. That's only at the Academy. Once you get to your facility, you can expect another year to three years of training! Do you really expect they would have some noob controlling traffic right away? Second off, there are many steps one must get through before they even get a firm job offer. After the Bio-Q, there is the AT-SAT, medical and psych evals, and then the Academy. And then finally, the facility training I just mentioned. If a person doesn't have what it takes, they aren't going to make it. Just because someone went to CTI school doesn't mean they have what it takes to be a controller. On the other hand, a pilot, doctor, or financial planner very well could have the right skills to do the job. My dad was hired off the street, no aviation experience whatsoever, and he was one of a handful in his class who passed. Went on to work at a level 12 facility, and never crashed any planes. He's retired now. Complain if you will about the hiring practices being unfair, but do NOT try to scare the public into thinking that somehow the skies are going to be unsafe now.

I don't know if I can say anything that has not already been said. The facts in the above article are so misleading they turn my stomach. I just hope someone realizes that by not hiring the most trained and able candidates lives will be lost in an accident. My question is if they wanted to go into air traffic control, why could they not go get the training like so many others. Many of whom had to sacrifice and borrow money to get trained. I thought minorities could enroll in college and could get student loans like everyone else, so why did they get special treatment if they had the same opportunities as the others. They may have had a better credit score since they did not have the student loan dept. Please select the most qualified applicants no matter what race they are.

I would think the Feds would want to hire qualified candidates for ATC. The hiring process was to go to four year college to be CTI qualified. After spending $40,000, or more if you paid out of state tuition to finance your career. Only to find out you have to pass a Bio-quiz that has nothing to do with your career, expertise,internship or job experience in aviation. If you go to USA.gov and you are disabled,ethnic or vet you got a job.Don't get me wrong, everyone deserves a chance. Even the CTI people that worked 2 or 3 jobs to get thru college to get that degree to be hired. Forget skill and training those days are gone. Let me put it this way, a man gets hired off the street, makes it through the hiring bio BS, gets to the academy for training in OKC only to find out , oops this guy has a lisp (true story). Really???? this is your hring process??? who in the world came out with this BIO???? They should be FIRED!!!! Hello, Human resources, interviews!! What is going on with our GOVERNMENT??? Example 2, ATC I know have actually taken this test and you guessed it. Majority didn't pass. Hmmm, I would love to give this test to the idiot that came out with it. Glad we pay the salaries of these feds, and the training they go thru only to fail. Great job again feds, wasting tax payer dollars!

Veteran USMC Expeditionary Airfield Operstions lighting landing system catapults arresting gear Specialist four years of service I took test three times in 80s for ATC didn't get the job. Now my son Andy went to Embry Riddle University completed his Degree with Honors on at sat got a 99% and waited for the test in Feb 2014 only to find FAA changed the test. My son went to this school to achieve and he did like others that are being Prejudiced against because of a study done by 3 Drs over 30 years that they said woman aren't good for ATC wow good finding? Also this is a hiring process of FAA that is hiring minorities over achievers of degrees from top universities The head of DOT is a Blackman and has been told by President Obama Im sure to hire Minorities I'm sick of all this BS in this country This DOT Secretary is stupid Americs is now against the people that made this Country Great This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. Where we don't take people that achieve top grades on test but people that are minorities over them. I could go on but I'm sure no one cares what I say So Mr president who flies Your plane thanks for screwing my son and others that you praise for achieving ? not really I too was laid off from my Areospace 30 years experience job because of the budget sequester in 2011 so happy flying

This is all BS. 100% Bs. I graduated in 2011, scored 96 on my ATSAT. Have a 4 year CT I degree (which is worthless Thanks to our terrific government) and didn't pass the bio quiz. Not one graduate that I know passed the quiz. I'm 150k in debt now thanks to these @$$ holes. Nothing better than being 25 and being forced to live at home the rest of your life because your school didn't back you and your government helps only foreigners and not americans. God bless this terrible nation.

Nice job Mr. Huerta, diversifying the workforce at the expense of qualified applicants. I have worked air traffic control in the military for 8 years. Myself and every other veteran that I know of that has worked ATC, was disqualified by the Bio-Q. Glad you have your lawyers, using the Bio-Q effectively saved you from having to take in veterans preference for a federal job. You should be ashamed.......

Does anyone know the next time they will be having open to the public applications?

Wow - he sure did gloss over tons of information to make the FAA and himself look good. Save the taxpayers millions!?!?! He fails to mention about all the money wasted on test scores they threw out for no reason, the extra training the academy will have to do, oh and not to mention the test they had to create to for the amazing new hiring they did in February. My family made so many sacrifices for my husband to go to school to become an Air Traffic Controller and it was all for not. I know no one is ever guaranteed a job but the FAA took away the ability to even TRY for a job (the open hire was a joke). My husband has been told by two different airports that they would hire him because they need help and they know him and the job qualities he possesses and know he would be great. (He works at the one of the busiest airports in the world and interacts with the tower constantly) But because he didn't answer questions a certain way on a stupid test he cannot have a chance, even though he received a well qualified on his AT-SAT. Working hard and proving yourself does nothing in this field.

This is a bunch of BS. Huerta should be fired. Unqualified people are getting in and then failing out because they are not trained and can't handle it. It's a WASTE of tax dollars. Until there is a MAJOR tragedy and Joe Public finds out that unqualified people are being hired and the media gets a hold of it, then maybe we will see the old system reinstituted.

Keep a good eye on the experiment of the new hires who could care less about aviation & watch them wash. That saves taxpayer dollars? Oh boy.

We escaped a war to come to this country ONLY for my kid. After research for the best ATC school we came up with ERAU as his choice. We took out ALL student loans because we believed in the American Dream. After 5 years, he is still not selected....I wonder really why. This bio Questionnaire the FAA created asking questions that is ridicilous has my son struggling looking for a career and trying not to be homeless because we are his co-signers. We are threatened to have our paychecks garnished, his paychecks and maybe a lien on our mortgage because we cannot afford to re-pay $125,000 for 4 years at ERAU. FAA in 2009 told all CTI schools this is how we hire along with Veterans. We only wanted the best for our kid just like any other parent. We didnt have the opportunity to go to college because of war in our country. Would you put your children through a CTI school Mr Huerta?

So I'm sure we didn't waste any tax dollars on that 2013 AT-SAT that was administered for absolutely no reason right?

While Mr. Huerta 'could not be more excited', as a professional user of the NAS, I could not be more concerned. Moreover, as a taxpayer, I'm outraged. I recently learned through several CTI grads, who held at least a Pvt. Pilot Certificate, and scored in the high 90's on the ATC written, that they were deemed unqualified by the FAA. These individuals were required to take an additional written exam that asked questions such as, 'do you like your mother?', and 'what is your favorite color?". I decided to ask two ATC management folks I know about this hiring process. I was told those motivated and aspiring CTI grads, were found to 'have an unfair advantage' over others. What happened to hard work and applying oneself to reach a goal? Aviation is not a place for mediocrity, and wannabees. Would citizens boarding their next flight care to have their pilots selected in the same manner? Somewhere in the FAA, is an ATC committee 'glad handing' themselves and accepting an award, while continuing to preserve their moronic glare. After having accepted the burden of the 'public trust' you have failed to operate in our best interest. Shameful, indeed.

I bet they lower the standards at the academy so the failure rate is low and the program looks like a success!!

Surprisingly, under this new system they are failing approx 5 people out of every 18-person class. Some due to not having the skills, but others due to poor program management. The instructors have no idea what the students will be tested on, resulting in very unfair failings. People have failed due to being tested on things they were never instructed on, and although there is an appeal process, if the guy you are appealing to feels like being unreasonable, you will fail for something completely out of your control. Another waste of tax dollars to engineer a system where you can be top of the class academically and in simulators, but get presented a situation in which you were untrained for in the final and fail out. Absolutely idiotic.

Not to mention that the test taker did not receive any kind of score that you could use to compare. Who's to say that they didn't just pick the first 1600 that took the idiotic Biotest. I also would like to see the percentage of the 28,000 people that had some sort of Air Traffic experience. I bet it was a lot more than 65%, so I wish he would quit touting the 65% as a win for this test.

Many FAA controllers took the questionaire for their children and many failed to make the grade. That test was a waste as those in the industry already know. As a result you have a bunch of unqualifed CPC's already in the system that according to the test shouldn't be in the field. I've been doing this for 32 years, 1 center and 2 TRACONS (band 11 and 12) and I failed the test for my boys. Something wasn't right and you know it.

With over 30 years as a controller working the boards, not downstairs in the offices, I'd like to put my two cents in. The selection process should identify individuals that have the characteristics necessary to excel in the job. Not individuals with some sort of degree, that happen to have prior experience from somewhere, of a particular skin color, of a particular gender, or whatever minority status the politicians dream up. But an actual "screening" process that "weeds out" anyone and everyone that doesn't posess the required abilities, aptitudes, and personalities. Yes, I said personality. Would you want the controller working your mother's flight to freeze and cry when the airliner she's riding in is on a collision course with another aircraft. That's reality, I've seen it. As far as abilities/aptitudes, having prior aviation knowledge (CTI, military, etc.) does not mean any screening was done. Just because someone taught me to sound like a doctor, doesn't mean I'll make a good one. If these individuals have what it takes, they'll make the cut. We need to cut the cr*p and do what's need to get the best people into this job no matter who's feelings get hurt. Do I sound harsh? Yes. The truth sometimes hurts. Will it cost more than the current silliness. Yes. But, considering the consequences, I think it's worth every penny. What's it worth to you?

So .. you wanted to save some money and instead of a standardized test handing out an electronic 'bio questionaire ' ... and cut out 95% of candidates based on irrelevant questions like "which do you like: watching football or planting flowers". WOW -- I would guess MOST of your current workforce would fail that test as well. Silly test, Silly.

I would justy love to see the percentage of non minorities hired on this round! Ive heard it was "minority targeted". No wonder qualified candidates became non qualified really fast.

Is there any way to ever attempt to redress for past hiring discrepancies? Do we simply just let "bygones be bygones" and continue to watch the agency return to what its minority staffing levels were in the 50's & 60's?---or at some point point, are we honor-bound to try and read the governments minority hiring stats and make adjustments where necessary? Again, I ask for a solution---not just a listing of the problem!

I was wondering if anyone on here attended the CTI program?

Hi Jordan, I am actually currently a CTI student. This process really stung with CTI students across the nation because it basically caused an extreme watering down of our chances of getting in. We attend CTI schools specifically to learn how to be air traffic controllers. With this hiring process implemented, it removes the advantage we gain by going to school to be an air traffic controller...

Never received the opportunity to work in the FAA, to old when I retired from the USAF, terminal radar approach and tower experience. I see nothing has changed when an administrator talks about saving money. Blah, blah, blah, it's a lot of talk when it's the tax payer that pays. I would like to see the FAA run like a business. Bet Mr. Huerta would be looking for a job if this was the case. I would picked the most qualified candidates. Kudo's to the spinmeister. Nice spin on saving my tax dollars. A lot of military experience being pushed aside too! What a shame.

This totally makes since how 560 people with ZERO experience walked off with a job opportunity I, and many fellow ATC veterans have been working towards for 6 years. Keep blowing smoke and spinning everything to those who don't know better

What a great idea! Let's use a critical career field for an occupational psychology experiment! Looks like a certain someone with political science and public affairs degrees is working on his doctoral dissertation, courtesy of taxpayer funds and at the risk of public safety. This is what happens when we place politicians in charge of systems and services beyond their education, then they hold in contempt the very people who make them look good. Tragically, this administrator will move on to the next profitable venture long before the common sense naysayers are proven right, and someone else will have to clean up the mess.

What a bunch of hoey. 6600 controllers to replace the exiting work force? that does not begin to cover your expected loses, through quitting and retirement. You want to take Joe Nobody who know nothing about aviation and use them to replace a experienced workforce? Not to mention that it takes up to five times longer to train. Are you some kind of special stupid?

Glad to see art history majors getting selected over CTI grads.

CTI grads were NEVER promised a job ... sorry.

Glad to see CTI grads gettings selected over military/DoD controllers with over 10 years of experience.


What about the money already spent giving the AT-SAT to CTI students, whose scores were scrapped only so they could be re-tested? Was that also a big win for the taxpayers? Or the people who already passed the test, had their scores scrapped, and the new and improved system told them they were ineligible to take a test they had already passed? Was that too an improvement in the hiring process?

Qualified Persons???? REALLY???? My wife and I both work, and we saved for years to send our daughter to college. She's a 2013 CTI graduate (ATC), AT-SAT "well qualified", FAA Dispatch Certificate....she got a fantastic education at MTSU. Yet she, and others (including military veterans) didn't pass the new "Any one can apply" test....which had nothing to do with the true subject matter. Not only have we wasted her college fund, she's wasted years of her life. Not only is this a "Bad Political Stunt", but it's very dangerous for the thousands of Americans who fly every day and trust ATC to keep them safe. Answer this: Who would YOU want to give you vectors for an ILS in "Hard IFR" conditions at a Class B airport, a person with REAL ATC training or someone who really does not have a clue???? Controllers have more lives in their hands in one shift than doctors do in their entire careers.

Lies. This new hiring process costs taxpayers more by hiring anyone who took art class in high school rather than someone with aviation experience, or best yet, a CTI degree. Typically, there is an abbreviated training class in Oklahoma City for CTI grad, but since art class is more important, currently only the full 17 week course exists. Of course the FAA will not admit to this failure, so they will likely push these GED students through, where they will be responsible for the safety of your flights.

Well its good to know someone feels good about this process. Personally I feel terrible for the men and woman that invested thousands of dollars and/or fought for their county to have the door slammed in their face. For instance; Air Traffic Controller for over 20 years has certifications at 3 different military bases, is an Air Traffic Manager in the ANG, has been a CPC at a level 12 facility and was "Not Qualified" by this "fair" and "efficient" process. I wish the class of 2014 the best....I'll be standing by to help however I can.

Do CTI graduates that didn't get selected and had passed the AT-SAT get a refund for a degree that now is worth next to nothing?

"This next generation of air traffic controllers is special because this February, we instituted an interim hiring process that was open to all Americans. This allowed the FAA to recruit even more of the best, most qualified candidates to keep our skies as safe as possible from a pool of 28,000 applicants." LIES!!! This allowed the FAA to recruit UNQUALIFIED candidates from off the streets while hundreds of actual CTI students are drowning in debt from jobs that they were promised would only be available to people who took the time to actually go to school for it. The Biographical Assessment is bias and include questions like "how many sports did you play in high school?". QUESTIONS NOT RELEVANT TO AVIATION. Fellow CTI students keep writing to your congressmen and keep fighting for off the streets hires to go to school like the rest of us for the jobs we earned!

Mr. Huerta, I am honored to finally be a part of this group! After nearly three years of waiting from ERAU's graduation, this is an exciting time. I appreciate all of your efforts in running this well-oiled machine that is the Federal Aviation Administration. Very respectfully, Phillip Gable
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