The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), facing a shortage of qualified air traffic controllers, is working to accelerate its training and hiring of new controllers through an Enhanced Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program.
“Hiring more air traffic controllers is a priority,” said FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker. “We need more entry points for controller candidates and this enhanced college controller training program is an additional avenue to get controllers into facilities sooner.”
The Enhanced AT-CTI program will bolster the current hiring pipeline by allowing the FAA to hire more candidates who can begin facility training immediately upon graduation.
The FAA is authorizing institutions in the AT-CTI program to provide the same thorough curriculum offered at the FAA Air Traffic Controller Academy. After graduating from one of the eligible schools, new hires can immediately begin localized training at an air traffic facility. These graduates still must pass the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA) exam and meet medical and security requirements.
Colleges will apply to join the Enhanced AT-CTI program in April 2024, and the FAA will then sign partnership agreements with the selected institutions that incorporate the new curriculum. The FAA has now surveyed which institutions in the AT-CTI program want to and can incorporate the new enhancements for the 2024-25 school year.
To ensure the highest quality of the Enhanced AT-CTI graduating students, the FAA has already provided guidance on academy criteria and coursework and will oversee all program requirements. These schools will follow all the technology, testing, oversight, and participation requirements of the new Enhanced AT-CTI program.
The current AT-CTI program is a non-funded partnership between select colleges and universities and the FAA, and is a valuable source of applicants for air traffic controller positions.
The Enhanced AT-CTI program is one of the many actions the FAA is taking to increase the number of controllers and improve training following the release of the National Airspace System Safety Review Team Report. This includes year-round hiring for experienced controllers from the military and private industry, filling every seat at the FAA Academy and finishing the deployment of upgraded tower simulator systems in 95 facilities by December 2025.