Academy

Frequently asked questions about FAA academy

How long is the academy?

It depends on what track you are and whether you take basics or not.

  • Basics: 25 days
  • Initial Tower: 37 days
  • Initial En Route: 60 days
  • RTF: 25 days
  • TSEW: 21 days
  • TETRA: 20 days

What is per diem?

Per diem is an extra, untaxed pay to account for government related travel. The 2020 rate $101.60/day: $63 for housing, $38.60 M&IE.

For new hires: As of 1 June 2019, housing per diem will be paid directly to the housing provider. You do not have the option to keep it.

What is the pay at the academy?

Salary is $25,500 to $31,900. Combined with M&IE per diem (annualized $14,089), the annualized salary at the academy is $39,589-$45,989 (2020).

Academy pay is based on the GS pay scale with Washington DC locality. FG-2152-xx is the FAA's pay grade for this position.

Where can I find the class schedule for the academy?

The FAA maintains a course catalog, here is each class' specific list:

  • Basics - Terminal (50043)
  • Basics - EnRoute (50143)
  • Basics - TRACON (50043001)
  • Initial Tower Cab (50046)
  • Initial EnRoute (50148001)
  • RTF (50034001)
  • TSEW (50056001)
  • TETRA (50070001)

Go to the course catalog page and look for the course numbers listed above.

What is the work schedule?

Monday - Friday. Class times vary depending on shifts, which you will rotate on (weekly). Shifts are 7a - 3:30p, 3:30p - 11:30p. Occasionally there are mid-shifts, but this only happens when MMAC is running at capacity.

Do we get holidays off?

The academy is closed on federal holidays.

Where can I find housing at the academy?

Please see our list of providers in the resources section.

The FAA also has some housing FAQ.

As of mid-2018, the FAA will no longer pay per diem for AirBnB rentals.

How are you graded?

You must complete each course at the academy with at least a 70% to pass. At the end of your track's class (enroute or terminal), facility selection takes place in order of highest-to-lowest score rank in class.

The grading is broken down by the following:

Terminal
5 Block tests - 1% each.
End of course test - 5%.
Two Ground Control simulator evaluations - 15% each.
Two Local Control simulator evaluations - 30% each.
Enroute
Map test - 2%
Aircraft characteristics - 4%
Knowledge test 1 - 4%
Knowledge test 2 - 5%
Checklist test - 5%
Two non-RADAR problems - 7% each
Three D-Side problems - 22% each

What is the pass rate?

Year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
En Route 64% 50% 62% 77% 69%
Terminal 78% 53% 68% 78% 85%
TRACON N/A N/A N/A N/A 44%

To date, TRACON classes are for N90 only.

What about Basics?

Not everyone is required to attend basics. Prior experience hires and CTI graduates (hired under open bid pool 1) will not have to attend. However, you may have the option of voluntarily attending.

Basics is 25 days long. There are 5 block tests, and an end of course test where a 70% is required to pass. Please see the Overview of Basics thread for a summary of what to expect.

What is the dress code?

Neat, clean and will reflect a professional learning environment. Examples include casual slacks (e.g. khakis, cords), dress slacks, dresses, skirts, blouses, dress shirts, casual shirts with collars or banded/turtle necks and/or sweaters. Jeans will be permitted as long as they are not torn, frayed, patched or have holes of any kind. Shoes shall be neat and clean.

How much time do I get to report to my facility?

Dependant on the distance from the academy to your duty station. Each facility card on the site lists the alloted travel days. You also get 64 hours of change-of-station leave, which you may take prior to reporting to the facility upon approval from your facility's manager.

Change of station may be used anytime within two years of being assigned to a new facility.

How do I select my facility?

After passing evaluations, each class is given a list of facilities to choose from. The facilities are drawn from the priority placement lists, and number of slots offered will be match the number of graduating students. The selection order is based on your class ranking (highest score first).

OCONUS locations are sometimes offered as alternatives to the selection list. They will only be available if they are in the top 250 slots on the placement list.

TERMINAL: Assignments are level 7 or below facilities. Infrequently, Level 8 facilities may be offered.

Academy Student Services

New students should visit the Academy Student Services page for more information to frequently asked questions.

COVID Changes

The standard flow of hiring and training has been greatly impacted, and changes frequently. Currently, the process is to be onboarded virtually and complete basics class on-line. After that, you enter a queue to attend MMAC. There has normally been a requirement to attend zoom study sessions during this time. Eventually, a class date will be offered.

Pay begins the day of onboarding, regardless of how long the wait for the next portion of training to begin. It does not include per diem, only the base rate.

Online Basics Course & Pre-course

Because of COVID19, the basics course is being conducted entirely online. The FAA sends an iPad prior to class beginning and course materials will be accessible through that.

The course is 18 days, 9a - 5:30p Central, although this can be adjusted based on the time zones of the students (as a class, not individually). Grading criteria is no different from the in-person course. After passing basics, a two week course for the initial terminal/enroute training begins. This coursework is not part of the graded in-person course at MMAC. In the time between completing the online work and starting at MMAC, there are zoom meetings/reviews, and some pre-course work. For classes with multiple times, attendance at one or the other (of both if you choose to) is required. An outline of the entire online schedule (central time zone):

  • Basics (18 days): 9:00am - 5:30pm
  • Proof of Concept (11 days): 10:00am - 2:30pm
  • Virtual Initial Tower/Enroute (31 days): 8:00am - 11:00am or 11:30am - 2:30pm; plus 5 hours of self-study.
  • Rolling Review (Until you receive academy date): 8:00am - 11:00am or 11:30am - 2:30pm; plus 5 hours of self-study.

The FAA previously attempted to move basics from in-person to online and had poor results. However, there is no known information the FAA intends to return to in-person classes in the near future, if at all. (This is only applicable to basics.)

This has been the structure of the online class, but since it is new, it has been evolving. The most recent pertinent discussion can be found at virtual on-boarding and online basics thread.

Updated 16-Oct-2020

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