*  Three years' general work experience, full- or part-time.

*  Bachelor's or higher-level education (one year of undergraduate study counts as equivalent of nine months' work experience).

*  Minimum hiring age of 18 or 16 if graduated or completed formal vocational training programme.

*  Maximum hiring age of 30, unless an ATC position has been held previously.

*  US citizenship.

*  Good spoken/written English.

*  Passing of rigorous medical examination, including vision, colour vision, hearing, cardiovascular, neurological and psychiatric standards.

*  Passing of security and background check.

*  Qualifying score on the FAA pre-employment test.

The FAA only recruits from approved post-secondary education programmes, unless the applicant is a current or former federal employee with ATC experience, such as retired military ATC personnel. Approved programmes are the Minneapolis Community & Technical College ATC programme and the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Programme, now available at institutions in 10 US states, as well as Puerto Rico.

However, as part of its mammoth 10-year hiring plan (see left), the FAA expects to be accepting applications from the general public between 2007 and 2014.

Source: Flight International