College & Community Relations

Air Traffic Controller program takes flight at Aims Community College

Submitted on: 07-09-2008

Aims Community College recently received approval from the state to launch a new Air Traffic Controller program starting this fall. Based in the college’s Aviation department, the new program will offer an Associate of Applied Sciences degree through a two-year program. The college expects to have room for up to 50 students per semester. “There is definitely a shortage of Air Traffic Controllers in our region and across the nation,” said Aims Aviation Department Chair Gina West, adding that the profession mandates retirement at age 56. “There is a lot of opportunity for employment right here in our region.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a controller in Colorado is $102,000 with a low of $57,000 and a high of $139,000. West said the Aims program will put students in a vantage seat when it comes to passing the Federal Aviation Administration’s rigorous ATC test. Based in Oklahoma City, the FAA’s ATC test is a 17-week long program, notorious for eliminating the weakest candidates, West said. “It is very difficult to pass the ATC test on the first try,” she said. “Our students will have an advantage over others in that they will already have a degree and extensive experience using the equipment.” Aims ATC students will be trained using the latest ATC simulators and taught by retired controllers. West said students who are good in math, 3-D visualization, work well under pressure and are good multi-taskers may be well-suited for this lucrative and prestigious career. Prospective students can contact Gina West, program chair, at 339-6373 or

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