Aims Aviation
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Air Traffic Controller Option

Associate of Applied Science Degree

The Air Traffic Controller Option is designed for those seeking a career as an air traffic controller. Our recently awarded Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) AT-CTI designation prepares students for air traffic controller careers.

How to become an air traffic controller

  • Successfully complete an air traffic controller degree program
  • Pass the Air Traffic Controller aptitude test
  • Apply to the FAA
  • When accepted, attend the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, OK
  • Pass the required courses at the Academy
  • Report to your assigned ATC facility, where your training continues in an operational environment. Training is conducted in stages and consists of a combination of classroom, simulation, and on-the-job training that leads to becoming a fully certified air traffic controller

Life style and qualifications

An air traffic controller must consider the lifestyle and FAA qualifications when choosing a career path.

  • ATC is a 24/7 operation
  • Generally, shifts are rotational
  • Usually controllers will remain at their facility for their entire career; a limited number of controllers are permitted to change facilities per year
  • Controllers are closely monitored and all transmissions are taped
  • Applicants must be United State citizens
  • Applicants must be no more than 30 years of age at the time of hiring by the FAA
  • Extensive background checks are conducted prior to an employment offer
  • Must be able to read, speak, and understand the English language (meet International Civil Aviation Organization level 4 standards)
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain a second class medical certificate (must meet or exceed standards for vision, hearing, cardiovascular, neurological, psychiatric, and psychological exams. Diabetes and substance abuse/dependency will be reviewed and extensively investigated)
  • Current FAA regulations require controllers to retire from controlling aircraft at age 56


Salary range* (per month)

Starting pay for ATC recruits* (at FAA academy) Salary

AT-CTI graduates


Veterans Appointments


Retired military controllers

At facility  

Based on class of facility and seniority

$4,750 - 11,580


Longmont Center

$12,300 - 14,350

*Note: Plus per diem while at the FAA academy


Course of Study

Estimated Costs

  In District Out-of-District WUE Out-of-State

College tuition and fees:

$ 5,453

$ 8,147



Lab Fees:





Approximate total costs for program:

$ 9,673

$ 12,367

$ 15,993

$ 33,235

*Costs subject to change at any time.
*Flight costs based on FAA minimum flight hours.  Individual students may require additional flight hours.
*Costs may vary with choice of electives.
*Estimated costs based as of Fall 2014