Site search

Main menu:

About the FAA Academy

To be eligible for the air traffic control training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma an individual has three paths they can follow.  The first is for military trained ATCs who have a minimum of 52 weeks of air traffic control experience in a control facility.  The second way is for individuals with no prior air traffic control training experience and is the most difficult path.  The third way is to graduate from an Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program.  Graduates of an AT-CTI program have the option to bypass the first five weeks of training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City. The FAA also has special programs for experienced former military ATCs.  So, once you have been accepted into the FAA Academy, what can you expect?  We will cover this and more in this article.

The FAA Academy is a member of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools, an accredited training organization. The courses have been evaluated for college credits and may be eligible for transfer credits. 

If you have been selected to attend the Academy you will be expected to move to Oklahoma City, OK for the full training program. The initial training will consist of 12 weeks of training, during which you will learn the fundamentals of the airway system, FAA regulations, controller equipment, and aircraft performance characteristic, as well as other specialized tasks. After graduating from the FAA Academy, students are assigned to an air traffic control facility and are classified as “developmental controllers”. They will remain developmental controllers until they complete all the requirements to be certified for all of the air traffic control positions within a defined area of a given facility.  Students have the option to train in Terminal Control or En Route Control.  It takes new controllers with only minimal controller training, between 2 to 4 years to complete all the certification requirements to become a certified professional controller. Individuals with prior controller experience normally take less time to become fully certified.  Controllers who fail to complete any portion of the academy or on-the-job training are usually dismissed. 

The worksite for all students is the classroom or laboratory.  Normal school schedules are either 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or 3:30 p.m. to midnight. The Academy has a strict guideline for attendance and any unexplained absences will be reported and may result in dismissal from the Academy.  The training for the Air Traffic Control Specialist includes in-depth comprehensive courses for both the Terminal Controller and the En Route Controller.  The training starts with classroom instruction, moves quickly into real-life simulation instruction which included state of the art simulators and is taught by experienced instructors.

Students (recruits) are paid while they are in training and the pay increases once they are assigned to an air traffic control facility.  Recruits from the general public and AT-CTI graduates are paid $17,803 per year, and are also reimbursed for meals, lodging, and incidental expenses at a rate of $79.20 per day.  They also pay for the cost of travel to and from Oklahoma City, dependent upon the student’s official address.  The limit for lodging is $48.60 per day and students are required to pay the difference if it is more than $48.60.  Once a recruit has passed the classroom training and is assigned to a control facility they will receive $37,070 per year until their on-the-job training is complete.  Once a you become a fully certified, your air traffic controller annual salary will increase as your experience and seniority increases.

Write a comment