FAA to hire 1,400 air traffic control trainees

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking new air traffic controllers.

Faced with what their union calls a severe shortage of workers, the agency is looking for more than 1,400 people to undergo a 13-month training program at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City.

The number of workers in the field hit a 27-year low in 2015, and it has continued to decline this year, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. In June, the union warned that the shortage could result in “system inefficiencies, delays, and a reduction in air traffic services for the flying public.”

An FAA spokesman said Monday that the organization is now “back on track” to meet its hiring goals, which was held up by a hiring freeze due to lack of funding.

The spokesman said previous hiring rounds have attracted more than 20,000 applications for the 1,000 or so available positions.

The new trainees will receive salaries ranging from $22,888 to $28,626, and those that are offered a permanent position as an air traffic controller after completing the program will make a starting salary of $38,193 per year, according to the jobs listing.

The spokesman said a “significant” number of the trainees usually end up with jobs.

From there, the gig can offer attractive pay raises. The FAA says the median salary for air traffic controllers is about $123,000.

The FAA said it will accept applications through Aug. 15. New hires must be under the age of 31, pass a medical exam, pass “pre-employment tests,” and be willing to relocate to an FAA facility based on need.