FAA ATC Trainee Openings... Where are they?


Well-Known Member
So I'm a commercial pilot working towards a career with the airlines but have a few ATC friends that keep telling me to reconsider. After seriously comparing the two careers I might just try for an ATC slot, but my question is this: how often do openings come up for "off the street" applicants? I noticed there are no current openings for non FAA employees at this time. I also keep hearing about a big ATC shortage... is there really a shortage? And how competitive would an applicant with commercial aviation experience be?


Well-Known Member
I don't believe you'll see any more off the street openings (well for the next twenty years or so at least). They had 8 of them and people from the last opening some two plus years ago are still trickling in to facilities. The current CTI graduate and former military controllers will likely be enough to fill remaining positions if I were to speculate. Especially now that there were 13 CTI schools at the start of the hiring with work rules and pay not conducive to military controllers jumping ship and now there are over 30 CTI schools and working conditions that are much more enticing to military controller. At this point I'd say even for CTI graduates, getting the job is a 50/50 proposition at best.

Yes there is a big ATC shortage, however when the entirety of your profession consists of around 15,000 people, actually getting enough qualified bodies in line isn't such a large hurdle.


Well-Known Member
I agree with genot the only way you'll get hired now is CTI or Military. OTS has always been a crap shoot anyway....... I got lucky and applied right at the beginning of the OTS announcements in '07 before the pubnat announcements started. Everything went relatively quick for me, but most others not. There is also no rhyme or reason to who they hire either...I literally feel like my name was picked from a hat and basically I won the lottery.:)

On a side note if they do another OTS announcement, a bachelor's degree or prior military(non-atc) does help put you at the front of the pack. At ZID I know of only one other OTS hire that came in with no college or military backgrounds. To me that is no coincidence, but you can take that for what it's worth......


Aeronautics Geek
I applied to 3 of the PUBNAT's, never got an interview after any of the testing. The word was on the last one, some 30,000 applied and I think those that got selected were in the single digits. Anyone confirm?


Ward of the Guberment
the FFA never wanted the OTS per the 1998 hireing plan , it was just a fluke in 2006 because of what you know who did to us in the White Book. all openings will go first to the VRAs or CTIs on the list, any OTSs will be offered a job only if there are no VFA/CTIs on the list. the FFA has a couple thousand of OTSs on that list so they are not gonna open it up so if your not all ready on the OTS list you Sheet out of luck.on the semi bright my peeps at Chicago center told me that starting in 2013 ZAU will be haveing around 40 mandatory retirement( age 56) each year for the next rew years .so for the VFR/CTI there may be some movement within the near year around the country.