The FAA has considered itself to be highly budget-constrained for years, and in 1997 found a way to reduce its training costs — encouraging college air traffic control programs so that they could hire new controllers that were effectively already trained.
There’s a wait list of over 3000 air traffic control college graduates in line for FAA positions.
The FAA is killing off that wait list and, according to transportation researcher Bob Poole in the February Air Traffic Control Reform News will be announcing plans to ‘hire off the street’ with a requirement only of a high school degree or three years of work experience.
This is apparently a move driven by the FAA’s HR department to improve diversity.
But it would mean less qualified candidates, it would mean higher training costs, and it would mean that students who invested in degrees that had been encouraged by the FAA will find those investments devalued.
Air traffic control graduates will still be able to re-apply for these positions, of course, alongside folks without a high school diploma or specialized training.
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