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Articles USA FAA - Pilot Training and MORE How To Become an FAA Air Traffic Controller - Pre-Employment Testing

How To Become an FAA Air Traffic Controller - Pre-Employment Testing

After you apply for a position, you may need to take a pre-employment test called Air Traffic Selection and Training (AT-SAT). Some applicants must take this eight-hour, computer-based exam that will tell us your aptitude to become a successful air traffic controller.

Questions about Pre-Employment Testing

Do all job applicants applying for an air traffic controller position take the pre-employment test?

No. Only general public applicants and students enrolled in the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program are required to take the pre-employment test. Applicants with prior air traffic control experience do not need to take the test. The FAA will test as many applicants as possible to meet its hiring goals.

When do I take the pre-employment test?

Our goal is to test applicants as quickly as possible. This will generally occur about 4-8 weeks after a vacancy announcement closes.

How will I be notified to take the pre-employment test?

Our Aviation Careers Division will tell you that your name has been referred for testing. An FAA contractor will contact you to provide specific test scheduling information, including the date, time and location of your test.

Can I reschedule the date of my pre-employment test?

Our contractor will work with you to establish a firm date for you to take the test. However, if you do not appear on or reschedule before your test date, you may be considered for future tests.

Can I choose the location of my pre-employment test?

In most cases, you will be able to choose one of the pre-established test locations that is convenient to you. Test sites are typically located in major U.S. cities or near AT-CTI schools.

Does FAA pay for my pre-employment test?


Does FAA pay for my pre-employment test travel expenses?

No. You must pay all your travel expenses to and from the pre-employment test site.

Does FAA provide any materials to prepare me for the test?


What is a passing score on the pre-employment test?

To pass, you must score 70 or above on the pre-employment test.

Can I retake the pre-employment test if I want to improve my score?

Yes. No matter what your score, you may retake the test one year after the first time you took the test. Your second test score will always replace your first score.

How long is my pre-employment test score valid?

Pre-employment test scores are valid for three years.

Special Note for AT-CTI Air Traffic Controller Applicants

  • All AT-CTI students in good standing in their programs will be given the FAA pre-employment test
  • Normally, you will be tested six months prior to your graduation date
  • Your pre-employment test scores are valid for three years from your AT-CTI program graduation date
  • If you fail the pre-employment test two times, you may not retake the test under the AT-CTI program


This article was published by Federal Aviation Administration. Please visit for current information - Reprinted with permission.

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