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The FAA is opening a window to hire air traffic controllers

Allegiant Air's airplane tail and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport air traffic control tower can be seen from the new south terminal concourse on Jan. 24, 2024, in Mesa.
Cheryl Evans
Allegiant Air's airplane tail and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport air traffic control tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration has opened a short window for people to apply to be an air traffic controller.

The FAA is accepting applications Friday, April 19, through Monday, April 22, and it plans to hire about 1,800 air traffic controllers this year.

The demanding job takes a certain type of personality. Dawne Barrett is air traffic operations supervisor at the Minneapolis TRACON.

“A lot of people who say they like video games tend to be really good controllers. For those who like to do things the same way every time — those are the ones that I find get frustrated because our job is not the same way every time,” she explained.

Applicants must take a personality test. “You need to have a strong personality, and you’re not scared to make decisions. You’re willing to think three steps ahead, and sometimes that three steps ahead plan becomes plan B, plan C or plan D. So definitely willing to work on your feet and change the program when you need to. So, adaptability is definitely a good trait to have,” Barrett added.

Applicants must pass medical and security clearances, including drug testing and a federal background check.

Starting pay is around $60,000 a year and can go up to around $220,000 per year. To find out more, go to FAA.gov.

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Jerry Clayton can be reached at jerry@tpr.org or on Twitter at @jerryclayton.