FAA Launches Campaign to Encourage Air Traffic Controller Applications from Women, Minorities

Application window open July 30–Aug. 2

WASHINGTON – Ahead of an upcoming open application window to become an air traffic control specialist, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has launched a week-long campaign to encourage more applications from women, minorities, and individuals from underrepresented communities. The campaign will feature current air traffic controllers and FAA leaders sharing their stories in media interviews, on social media, during Instagram Live conversations, and on other platforms. The FAA will also engage with diverse organizations to get the word out and has created a digital toolkit for groups to use. 

“I have the greatest job in the world, and there is absolutely nothing else in the world I would rather be doing. Since I was 17, I wanted to be an air traffic controller. I am surrounded by so many people who have a similar passion for aviation and service to our country and who make even the toughest days rewarding,” said Jeffrey Vincent, who began his career at the FAA as an air traffic controller and now serves as the vice president of Air Traffic Services. “I hope sharing my story during this campaign will encourage others to know that they can achieve what I have achieved, and I strongly encourage them to apply during this period.”

“Being an air traffic controller is not only important, but it’s also an interesting and dynamic career,” said Teri L. Bristol, the chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. “Air travelers and the public rely on these safety professionals to oversee thousands of aircraft that travel in our national airspace system every day. Air traffic control becomes more exciting every day as innovative uses for airspace, such as drones and commercial space vehicles, become ever more prevalent.”

Each year, the FAA has a short window for any eligible U.S. citizen to apply to the open announcement.

The FAA’s controller workforce reached 14,242 in fiscal 2020. The FAA hired 920 new controllers in fiscal year 2020, and the FAA plans to hire more than 4,300 controllers over the next five years. The FAA provides a robust training program to new controllers that includes air traffic basic training and training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Okla. Following graduation from the FAA Academy, and based on staffing needs, air traffic control trainees are assigned to an FAA facility for additional training. A certified professional controller can attain a six-figure salary and receive a comprehensive federal benefits package.

“Having individuals with diverse backgrounds helps us find ways to continue enhancing aviation safety and efficiency. I hope more people will pursue the opportunity to become an air traffic controller as a result of this effort,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

“When it comes to achieving the FAA’s safety mission, diversity is critical. Having people with varied backgrounds and different perspectives makes us more innovative, stronger, and safer as an agency,” said Deputy FAA Administrator Bradley Mims. “I encourage people to apply so we can achieve our goal.”

The application window is open to all eligible U.S. citizens July 30–Aug. 2, 2021.

Members of the media wishing to interview FAA leaders or current air traffic controllers about their careers should email their request to pressoffice@faa.gov.