Alternate path to becoming an Air Traffic Controller?

Question:I've seen the list of ATC schools across America, yet I was wondering if (assuming of course that I could complete the total requirements by, about, age 28) if I could finish up my anticipated degree at current university and then attend classes at an ATC campus and merely take the courses required by the ATC program (namely courses that wouldn't be offered at my current university) since (as many ATC schools list course schedule requirements) many lists included basic undergraduate courses (such as intro english/math) which I have already completed and gotten credit for.

Answers:
In general, if you have obtained your bachelor's degree and want to get another degree, you only need to take the "degree-specific courses."

I'd say a quick call to one of the schools you're considering would clear it all up, though. Here's the info for Purdue's Aviation Technology department, so you don't have to dig...

Abe L. Cross, Director of Development
College of Technology
Knoy Hall, Room 465
401 North Grant Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 494-4252
alcross@purdue.edu
www.purdue.edu/technology
You could go to the military, particularly the Army because they sign contracts, and be trained and experienced as an ATC while you are getting paid a salary. All branches of the service have ATCs, though being one in the Navy or Marines would be limiting. The Air National Guard has ATCs as well. Army ATCs handle cargo planes as well as fixed wing and heliciopters but you can get a contract from the Army for the training. If you can get a committment from the Air Force for ATC training and assignment than you would be an ATC handling high volumes of large planes at busy airports. Just a thought but of course you would be serving your country and might be asked to handle air traffic overseas as well. Air National Guard might be something to look into though.
Before you invest a lot of money and time in being an air traffic controller, you need to take a look at what will be happening to the industry in a few years.
The FAA is experimenting with opportunities to do away with alot of the air traffic control responsibilities and put more control in the pilots hands. And.when you think of it, it all makes sense.
Currently planes are controlled by radar on the ground. The radar blips are read by the air traffic controller, telemetry info linked to them and then the ATC verbally tells the pilot what to do. The problems in that system are inherent. There are sometimes too many planes for one person to keep track of and, the bigger problem is that radar from a ground station bouncing off a plane at altitude and being received can sometimes take as long as 12 seconds. During that time, that plane travelling 600 MPH has travelled nearly 2 miles
!
What they are beginning to do is to outfit each plane with a GPS receiver and transponder. The GPS updates every ONE second and then beams its location to everyone else in the air. Pilots will then be responsibile for maintaining adequate distance between planes - virtunally eliminating the need for ground radar.
There will still be a need for ATC's but far fewer than before.
Its still a decade or so away, but something you might want to think about before applying for that student loan.

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