The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in February that it is “working to accelerate its training and hiring of air traffic controllers through the development of an Enhanced Air Traffic Collegiate Initiative (AT-CTI) program,” in light of the ongoing workforce shortage. This latest action builds on the FAA’s current AT-CTI program to help offset the 2,500-person shortfall of air traffic controllers in the US.

The FAA expedites the pathway for AT-CTI school graduates

Beginning in April, current AT-CTI institutions (including Vaughn) can apply to join the Enhanced AT-CTI program. The FAA will then make its selections and sign partnership agreements with those institutions that agree to—and are able to—incorporate the new enhancements to the curriculum for the 2024-2025 school year. This enhanced program ensures that graduates have the necessary skills to begin on-the-job training. Additionally, this program will allow graduates to bypass the once-required 16-week FAA Academy training in Oklahoma City and receive their training at their respective AT-CTI college or university.

To bolster this initiative even further, the FAA has taken steps to ensure the training of the highest quality of graduating students by providing guidance on the criteria and coursework of the enhanced program. The FAA will oversee all program requirements to ensure the institutions are following all of the technology, testing, oversight and participation requirements of the Enhanced AT-CTI program. Graduates, however, are still required to pass the Air Traffic Skills Assessment (ATSA) exam as well as the necessary medical and security requirements outlined in this list of questions and answers.

According to the announcement in February, FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker stated: “Hiring more air traffic controllers is a priority. 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.”

In addition to the changes to the AT-CTI program, the FAA noted the following efforts to make air traffic control training more accessible:

  • The announcement of a year-round hiring track for experienced controllers from the military and private industry.
  • The goal to fill every seat at the FAA Academy and increase classroom capacity beyond current limits.
  • Expanding the use of advanced training across the country. The agency has opened new facilities in Chicago, IL and San Diego, CA. Additional facilities in Nashua, NH and Phoenix, AZ will open in the spring.
  • Plans to finish the deployment of tower simulator systems in 95 facilities by December 2025. The FAA will deploy the first system—based in Austin, TX—by January 2024.
  • To strengthen our safety culture, reports from the Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service will be provided to the FAA administrator and Aviation Safety Associate administrator.

Why Vaughn is the best choice to become an air traffic controller

Is becoming an air traffic controller on your radar for the future? If so, this blog must have given you something to think about—not to mention motivation. As one of the original 13 institutions in the AT-CTI program, Vaughn is the premier choice for air traffic control training. Vaughn students qualify for air traffic controller jobs more quickly, thanks to the facilities, connections and experience offered to help them get certified. It is also worth noting that the FAA hires more of its candidates from AT-CTI institutions and the military. And air traffic controllers in the New York region are in particularly high demand, in part due to the fact that New York is a major travel hub.

Find out how Vaughn and the latest FAA expedited process could be your pathway to the control tower. Learn more about Vaughn’s air traffic control program and apply today!