Yeah do anything else but CTI school. It they’re interested in aviation do A&P or aviation management, but as a CTI grad who waited 3 years before getting to the academy id honestly say it was a waste.
The hiring process has gotten better as of this last bid. It is based on CTI or non-CTI and ATSA score.
The process is as follows:
1. CTI Best Qualified (90 or better)
2. Non-CTI Best
3. CTI Well Qualified (85 - 89.9)
4. Non-CTI Well
It is important to do as well as you can on the ATSA.
If you are looking for a CTI school look at Community College of Beaver County in Western PA.
It is the best. Ask anyone who has taught at the Academy.
If you can go to a CTI school that has ATC as a minor or an easy dual major where you get some other kind of aviation related education as a back up plan, that's a good idea. If not, then an associate degree is a good idea because you can get it over with cheaply and then transfer your credits to get something else as a bachelors. With the newest legislation, CTI does get a leg up again as long as you do well on the ATSA.
MTSU offers ATC as a minor.
Other schools offer associates.
There are 37 "approved CTI" schools, so call around and see what they offer and for what price. To be honest, you'll learn everything at the Academy, so if you want to do CTI for the hiring process, just do the cheapest, easiest, quickest option. The only guy in my class that didn't pass went to Beaver, the #1 and #2 people in the class went to MTSU, and everyone in between was a mix of military, CTI, and OTS. So just because it might help you get in (currently; the laws change constantly with this stuff) don't expect it to give you a guaranteed chance at passing the Academy.
If you have an interest in aviation I recommend you get a degree that is aviation related but isn’t ATC specific. Even if a CTI degree gives you a leg up to reach the academy, it doesn’t guarantee you a job. I’ve seen ERAU grads with 6 figures of debt because of an ATC Degree fail radar evals, and then have to go to the job market with a useless ATC degree. If you had a aviation management degree At least you could get a job at an airport or with an airline if ATC didn’t work out. Just my two cents. Based on the people I went to class with, CTI graduates didn’t have any advantage at the academy at all. 4 of the top 5 in my class weren’t CTI, and the OTS students had a higher pass rate in my class than CTI grads. Small sample size, but worth noting.