Back in the day, controller candidates were trained in a four-week basic orientation course, then given some archaic non-radar training that involved cognitive skills related to real-world ATC, and they were quickly screened on those skills.
Now there is the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative – aka AT-CTI, aka CTI Program. (More info here). The earnest wantobees attend a college that charges them tuition and the students buy a degree in air traffic control. There’s more than thirty colleges getting in on this. There are no standards for what this higher education contains, except that it must duplicate the four-week OKC basic orientation course. Four weeks, four years, close enough.
Let me say that three of the CTI schools do a great job. They’ve been at it for a long time, they know what they’re doing and they go well beyond the standards. Their graduates are in great demand in the field. UND, ERAU, and CCBC-BVI are exceptions.
There is no more early screening. No school is motivated to turn away a tuition-paying student enrolled in a new program. OKC doesn’t screen anymore. The screen happens in the real world with live traffic.
The CTI graduates spend years of their lives, and fortunes in tuition, to join the career field. If they don’t get hired, or if they don’t succeed, there’s not much else to do with that ATC degree except to pay off the student loans.
You’d think that somebody would tell these students and their parents about Staffed Virtual Towers, Automated Virtual Towers, Staffed NextGen Towers, Automated NextGen Towers, and the resulting changes in their chosen profession.
There’s people paying for college now, in over thirty schools, who’ll be displaced by splitting towers, combining approach controls, contracting towers, and remoting and automating towers. There’s a lack of integrity in this.
Their option will be to go work for lower-paying contractors. Once again, we’re building a workforce for our competitors.