What Is The Air Traffic Controller Test Pass Rate?

Becoming an air traffic controller is considered one of the most difficult career paths due to the intense testing and training required. If you’re interested in this career, you probably want to know – what are my chances of passing the exams?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The latest data shows that the overall pass rate for the AT-SAT air traffic controller pre-employment test is around 30-40% on average. However, pass rates can vary significantly depending on the specific facility and amount of openings.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the latest stats and info around FAA air traffic controller test pass rates for the AT-SAT, CTI tests, academy training, and more. We’ll also provide tips to help improve your chances of passing.

AT-SAT Air Traffic Controller Exam

The AT-SAT (Air Traffic Skills Assessment) is an exam that aspiring air traffic controllers need to pass in order to qualify for employment in the field. This comprehensive test evaluates a candidate’s aptitude for air traffic control and assesses their ability to handle the demands of the job.

AT-SAT Overview and Format

The AT-SAT consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The exam is divided into several sections, each focusing on a specific skill set that is essential for air traffic controllers.

These sections cover areas such as situational awareness, decision-making, spatial orientation, and multitasking abilities.

During the exam, candidates are presented with realistic scenarios and are required to make quick and accurate decisions based on the information provided. The test is designed to simulate the high-pressure environment that air traffic controllers face on a daily basis.

AT-SAT Administration Process

The AT-SAT is typically administered at a designated testing center. Candidates must register for the exam and pay a fee to secure their spot. It is important to note that the AT-SAT is a competitive exam, meaning that candidates are ranked based on their performance relative to others who have taken the test.

Once a candidate successfully passes the AT-SAT, they may be invited to continue with the selection process, which often includes additional assessments such as a medical examination, background check, and interview.

AT-SAT Passing Scores

The passing score for the AT-SAT varies depending on the specific agency or organization that is administering the exam. While there is no universally set passing score, candidates are typically required to achieve a minimum score in each section of the exam.

It is essential to thoroughly prepare for the AT-SAT to increase the chances of reaching the required passing scores.

AT-SAT Pass Rates

The pass rate for the AT-SAT can vary from year to year and is influenced by several factors, including the number of applicants, the difficulty of the exam, and the level of competition. While there is no official data available on the pass rates for the AT-SAT, it is estimated that the pass rate ranges from 30% to 50%.

It is important for candidates to approach the AT-SAT with a solid understanding of the exam format, thorough preparation, and confidence in their abilities. Practicing with sample questions and seeking guidance from experienced air traffic controllers can greatly increase the chances of success on the exam.

For more information about the AT-SAT and the air traffic controller selection process, visit the official website of the Federal Aviation Administration: https://www.faa.gov/.

Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) Programs

The Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) programs are specialized training programs designed to prepare individuals for a career as an air traffic controller. These programs are offered by select colleges and universities in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Overview of CTI Programs

In CTI programs, students receive comprehensive training in air traffic control procedures, regulations, and technologies. They learn about airspace structure, communication techniques, weather analysis, and decision-making skills.

The curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the field of air traffic control.

CTI programs also offer hands-on training through simulators and internships, allowing students to gain practical experience in a controlled environment. This practical training helps students develop the necessary skills for real-world air traffic control scenarios.

CTI Application and Testing Process

The application process for CTI programs typically involves submitting an application, meeting certain eligibility requirements, and potentially going through an interview process. The specific requirements can vary depending on the institution offering the program.

Once accepted into a CTI program, students may be required to pass various exams and assessments to demonstrate their understanding of the material. These tests are designed to assess their knowledge and readiness for a career in air traffic control.

CTI Program Pass Rates

While there is no specific pass rate data available for CTI programs as a whole, it is important to note that the pass rate for the FAA’s air traffic controller selection process is typically low. The FAA employs a rigorous selection process to ensure that only the most qualified candidates are chosen for the position.

It is important for aspiring air traffic controllers to prepare thoroughly for the selection process, including studying the required material, practicing problem-solving skills, and familiarizing themselves with the air traffic control profession.

Additionally, staying up-to-date with current aviation regulations and technologies can also contribute to a higher likelihood of success.

For more information about the CTI programs and the air traffic controller selection process, you can visit the FAA’s official website: https://www.faa.gov/.

FAA Academy Air Traffic Controller Training

The FAA Academy is the premier training facility for aspiring air traffic controllers in the United States. It is located in Oklahoma City and is responsible for providing comprehensive training to ensure that controllers are well-equipped to handle the demands of their job.

Academy Training Overview

The training program at the FAA Academy is rigorous and comprehensive. It covers a wide range of subjects, including aviation regulations, communication procedures, radar operation, and emergency management.

The goal is to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to safely and efficiently manage air traffic.

During their time at the Academy, students undergo both classroom instruction and practical simulations. These simulations allow students to apply what they have learned in a realistic and controlled environment.

The training also includes hands-on experience in the FAA’s state-of-the-art air traffic control tower and radar facilities.

Academy Training Structure

The training program at the FAA Academy is divided into different phases, each building upon the knowledge and skills gained in the previous phase. The initial phase focuses on basic air traffic control concepts and procedures, while subsequent phases delve deeper into more complex topics.

Students are constantly evaluated throughout their training, with regular assessments and exams to ensure they are progressing and meeting the required standards. The instructors at the Academy are experienced air traffic controllers themselves, providing valuable insights and guidance to the students.

Academy Pass Rates

The pass rates for the air traffic controller test at the FAA Academy can vary depending on various factors, including the number of trainees, the difficulty of the test, and the overall performance of the cohort.

However, the FAA maintains a high standard for its air traffic controllers, ensuring that only those who meet the required criteria are certified.

It is important to note that the pass rates should not be the sole determining factor of the quality of training at the FAA Academy. The training provided at the Academy is rigorous and prepares students for the challenges they will face in their careers.

It is a combination of knowledge, skills, and practical experience that ultimately shapes a successful air traffic controller.

For more information on the FAA Academy and its training programs, you can visit their official website at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/air_traffic_services/ats_facilities/academy/.

Overall Pass Rates for Air Traffic Controllers

When it comes to becoming an air traffic controller, passing the required tests is a crucial step in the process. Understanding the pass rates can give aspiring controllers an idea of what to expect and how to better prepare themselves for success.

Let’s take a closer look at the overall pass rates for air traffic controllers.

Full Process Pass Rate Stats

The pass rate for the air traffic controller test can vary depending on several factors. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the overall pass rate for the full process is approximately 30%. This includes passing both the initial qualification test and the training program.

It’s important to note that the pass rate can differ based on individual performance, preparation, and the specific facility where one is applying. As the air traffic control field is highly demanding and requires precision and quick decision-making, the selection process is designed to ensure that only the most qualified candidates are chosen.

Pass Rates by Facility Type

The pass rates for air traffic controllers can also vary based on the type of facility they are applying to. There are three types of facilities: Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs), Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities, and Control Towers.

According to data from the FAA, the pass rates for ARTCCs tend to be higher compared to TRACON facilities and Control Towers. This can be attributed to the complexity of the tasks involved in each facility type.

ARTCCs handle en route air traffic control, while TRACON facilities and Control Towers focus on terminal control and airport operations, respectively.

While the pass rates may vary, it’s important to remember that the selection process is rigorous for all facility types. It requires candidates to demonstrate a strong understanding of air traffic control principles, communication skills, and the ability to handle high-pressure situations.

Success Rate Analysis and Key Takeaways

Although the pass rates for becoming an air traffic controller may seem relatively low, it’s essential to recognize that the selection process is designed to ensure the highest level of safety and efficiency in air traffic control operations.

The demanding nature of the job requires individuals who can handle immense responsibility and make split-second decisions that can save lives.

Key takeaways from the pass rate analysis include the importance of thorough preparation, staying up-to-date with industry regulations and procedures, and seeking guidance from experienced air traffic controllers.

Additionally, candidates should be prepared for multiple rounds of testing and interviews, as the selection process is highly competitive.

For more information on air traffic controller pass rates and the selection process, visit the official FAA website at www.faa.gov. This website provides valuable resources and guidance for those interested in pursuing a career in air traffic control.

Tips to Improve Your Passing Chances

If you’re considering a career as an air traffic controller, passing the Air Traffic Controller Test (AT-SAT) is a crucial step towards achieving your goal. The AT-SAT is a comprehensive exam that assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas related to air traffic control.

To increase your chances of passing the test, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:

Practice and Prepare for the AT-SAT

Like any other test, practice is key to success. Familiarize yourself with the format and content of the AT-SAT by taking practice exams and simulations. This will help you get comfortable with the types of questions you’ll encounter and the time constraints you’ll face.

Additionally, consider joining study groups or seeking guidance from experienced air traffic controllers to gain insights and tips for the test.

Consider a CTI Program

Completing a Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) program can significantly improve your chances of passing the AT-SAT. These programs are specifically designed to provide aspiring air traffic controllers with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the field.

CTI programs offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers relevant topics such as aviation regulations, airspace management, and communication protocols.

Master the Study Materials

The AT-SAT requires a solid understanding of various concepts related to air traffic control. Make sure to thoroughly review the study materials provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), such as the Air Traffic Control Handbook.

Pay close attention to topics such as aircraft separation, navigation aids, and standard procedures. Understanding these concepts will not only help you pass the test but also prepare you for the challenges of real-world air traffic control.

Aim for High Scores

While passing the AT-SAT is the primary goal, aiming for high scores can give you a competitive edge in the selection process. Air traffic control is a highly demanding profession, and employers often prioritize candidates with exceptional scores.

Strive to excel in each section of the test, as this demonstrates your competence and ability to handle the complex tasks associated with the job.

Apply Broadly

Lastly, to maximize your chances of success, it’s important to apply to multiple air traffic control facilities. The demand for air traffic controllers can vary across different regions, so casting a wide net increases your chances of receiving a job offer.

Research various airports, control centers, and approach control facilities to find the best opportunities for your career.

Remember, passing the AT-SAT requires dedication, preparation, and a strong understanding of the air traffic control field. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to improving your passing chances and embarking on an exciting career as an air traffic controller.


Becoming an air traffic controller certainly involves jumping through many difficult hoops with low pass rates at each stage. However, many competent candidates do successfully pass the AT-SAT, complete the academy, get certified, and go on to have rewarding careers directing aviation traffic.

If being an air traffic controller is your dream job, don’t let the low pass rates deter you. Come prepared to excel on the AT-SAT exam, be ready to work hard at the academy, and apply to positions broadly across the U.S. With diligent preparation, persistence through the process, and a little luck, you can beat the odds to land this challenging but highly prized career directing planes from the control tower.

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