Phoenix Arizona


FAA sanctions air traffic controller program at ASU by quotes

FAA sanctions air traffic controller program at ASU

MESA, Ariz. – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave Arizona State University’s thumbs up on Oct. 16 to receive the Air Traffic Controller Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) designation for its new air traffic controller degree program. The designation as a CTI program is highly coveted and only select institutions are awarded such status.

The FAA works with schools and universities all over the country as part of the CTI, which designates an institution as an FAA partner. Such a designation gives preferential hiring to students who successfully complete the degree program.

ASU’s program is unique in that it was designed by current and former air traffic controllers and faculty members. Students graduating from the program will have a combination of academics, theory and practical application, said Michael Pearson, clinical associate professor in the Department of Aeronautical Management Technology and an air traffic controller at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“The program has been specifically designed to greatly reduce the time required for ASU students to enter the workforce and obtain full performance level (FPL) status,” said Pearson. “The first graduating class of CTI students is expected  by spring 2009.”

The FAA estimates that over the next 10 years, more than 17,000 air traffic controllers (ATC) will be needed to replace retiring ATCs.

Mandatory retirement is part of the profession. And many of the ATCs hired by the Federal Aviation Administration in the early 1980s are coming up on retirement.

To help meet the expected demand, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the Air Traffic Management bachelor’s degree in June 2006. As a new program, the  aeronautical department in the College of Technology and Innovation continues to develop relationships with the aeronautical industry as well as professionals in the ATC field.

“The CTI program is evolving, and it is likely in the near future that it may be possible for graduates of these programs to move faster through the FAA training than they have in the past,” said Richard Charles, chair and professor of the Department of Aeronautical Management Technology. “Graduates would still be considered trainees but they will be able to go to actual employment sites quicker.”

The program is tailored for traditional age students and those wanting a career change. Applicants for ATC jobs must be hired prior to reaching their 31st birthday due to federal law.

Students like Matt Bell, a junior in the program, started out as a professional flight student and is almost finished with his pilot ratings, but decided to switch his major. As part of the program, he is gaining first-hand experience through a three-semester internship in the air traffic control tower at Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s the only program in the country that offers an extensive internship as part of the curriculum, he said.

“Seven students are currently working in the tower or in the radar area,” said Bell. “As a tower intern, I’m learning the operation at Sky Harbor to become a controller, as well as doing other support functions like creating training materials and working with the simulators. At any other institution, I would not have this opportunity.”

If this internship program is successful, the FAA may use it as a model and implement it at other CTI designated colleges and universities.

“The CTI designation is a tremendous opportunity for our program, and the ancillary opportunities beyond the training of air traffic controllers are only limited by our own performance,” said Pearson.

For information about the program at ASU, visit www.poly.asu.edu/aviation or call (480) 727-1021.

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ASU’s Polytechnic campus, located in southeast Mesa, offers bachelor and graduate degree programs, unparalleled by other Arizona state universities, through the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness, the School of Applied Arts and Sciences, the College of Technology and Innovation, and the School of Educational Innovation and Teacher Preparation. Visit us online at http://www.poly.asu.edu.

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1 Comment so far
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would like more info on the school please

Comment by omar




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