The FAA is Hiring 1,400 Air Traffic Controllers — And Base Pay is $38K

Air traffic control jobs
Image from FAA/Facebook

Strange as this job is, I was pretty excited to hear this week that the Federal Aviation Administration is on a hiring spree for air traffic control specialists.

It’s not for my own sake. For some reason, my boyfriend has dreamed of being an air traffic controller since he was a kid. I think it has something to do with movies about airline pilots and NASA.

Persistent anxiety and a general aversion to full-time employment make him a terrible candidate — but you can’t fault someone for dreaming.

It does look like an exciting job, after all.

You’re “responsible for the safe, orderly, and expeditious movement of air traffic through the nation’s airspace.” If you’re keen on solid systems and good under pressure, it could be a great career for you.

Train to Be an Air Traffic Controller

The FAA is looking for more than 1,400 people to join a 13-month training program at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, CNN reports.

This is a full-time, paid “developmental” position where you’ll learn a range of duties, including:

  • controlling and separating live air traffic within designated airspace
  • highlights of Federal employment and familiarization with FAA organizational structure
  • familiarization with aircraft, the air traffic control system and the aviation industry

During training, you’ll receive a salary of $22,888-$28,626, plus per diem and cost of travel to Oklahoma City.

Once you complete training and other employment requirements, you’ll be offered a permanent appointment at an FAA facility around the country. Base salary is $38,193, plus locality pay depending on the cost of living in your assigned area.

Median pay for air traffic controllers is about $123,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so you may stand to see a big jump over that base pay!

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen, under 31 years old and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Three years of full-time work experience
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Combination of work experience and education (See the full job description for the formula.)
  • Previous air traffic control experience or training
  • See the job description for alternative qualifications if you don’t meet these.

To apply: Submit your application online by August 15.

Your Turn: What was your childhood dream job?

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post,, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).