Prior to my graduation in June 1985, I went and enlisted in the United States Navy. I had a guaranteed school, Air Traffic Control. I graduated top of my class in a course that 1/3 of all who started failed to complete the entire school. Then it was off to my first command and a trip to the local Air Force base for on the job training. It was in the actual positions in the control tower that I thrived. Although many felt that it could be a stressful job, I found it relaxing. Each day was different. Sometimes things were a little slow; but then you would be slammed with back to back traffic in and out bound. Occasionally, an emergency was thrown in for a little flare. I became strong enough to start training others and eventually even doing the final examinations of others.

Of course that time is behind me now, but I still talk about those days often. I really think the training I received and the seven years worth of practice, prepared me to be the mom of three children, to homeschool them even with their health and special needs issues, while juggling a military life (through my husband) and my own career. I learned to take things in stride and quickly prioritize what needs to be “landed” first. I can handle emergencies calmly while others around me panic. In addition, if need be, I can change my plans mid-step, rearrange for an unexpected “arrival” or “departure”, and still keep things moving smoothly.

So, I am very happy to announce that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced an open enrollment. This is something the FAA SELDOM offers. What this means is they are accepting applications for air traffic control school. It is open to all 18 to 31 year olds who have a high school diploma. They do accept college credit as well, which is fantastic since many of our 16 year olds are already taking classes at the local Community College.

Don’t let my statistic of those who fail to complete the course scare you off. When the military offers the same school that civilian community does, they tend to shorten it considerably. The course I took was 16 weeks versus a year long course through the FAA (of course that was back in 1985/86 time frame). So, the civilian course, though still a very nice course, will not be as intense as the military version.

So, have I peaked your interest? If so, even if you are at the least bit interested, please visit You can submit an application and decide further down the road, as this is the government and the likelihood is it will take a little (or a lot) of time before they will get back with you.

So, wind, southeast at five miles per hour, check wheels down, you are cleared to land.

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Written by:
Susan Harris News Editor

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