Federal Aviation Administration Jobs
Jobs with the FAA run the range from safety inspectors to air traffic controllers to program managers, computer programmers and administrative assistants. With nearly 50,000 employees, there are many possibilities in dozens of different locations across the country. For current FAA job listings, see the JobMonkey Job Center. At the time of this writing, one of the most critical FAA job needs is Air Traffic Controller.
Air Traffic Controller Jobs
Most of the flying public never sees or thinks much about Air Traffic Controllers, but these people are vital to the safety of the aviation system. They not only provide directions to pilots at the airport for taking off and landing, they also help keep planes at a safe separation from one another during their entire flight, and orchestrate the complex dance of movements that keep aviation the safest mode of travel. They use a combination of flight plans, visual observations, and radar to keep the system running safely and efficiently. Most controllers work either in enroute stations (where they use radar to observe the planes and provide guidance) or in towers at airports. Airport traffic controllers get the planes safely on and off the ground, and help them taxi to the appropriate gate.
Air Traffic Controllers jobs come with good benefits. First, the pay (around $110,000) and benefits are very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also predicting a 10% increase in demand for this position. This demand is actually not a result of the expected increase in air traffic (advanced computer systems are helping fewer controllers handle more flights) but is a result of the expected retirement of a large chunk of current air traffic controllers over the next decade. Air Traffic Controllers also have the ability to work nearly anywhere in the world, from major cities to rural enclaves. Every major city has an airport that requires round-the-clock air traffic control, and in between every major city, enroute stations are managing thousands of flight through their airspace.
On the downside, however, Air Traffic Control is a very stressful job. Each day, air controllers guide more than 87,000 flights in the skies in the USA.
Another potential downside is that controllers do not change locations very often: each tower or enroute station has its own complex procedures, so even though you may become highly skilled in one location, moving to a new location would mean starting all over again.
FAA Employment Requirements
The basic FAA requirements for Air Traffic Controllers are:
- Complete an FAA-approved education program
- Pass a pre-employment test
- Receive a school recommendation
- Meet the basic qualification requirements in accordance with Federal law
- Achieve a qualifying score on the FAA-authorized pre-employment test
- Pass a medical exam
- Undergo drug screening
- Obtain a security clearance