Assessing Prior Experience in the Selection of Air Traffic Control Specialists
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Assessing Prior Experience in the Selection of Air Traffic Control Specialists

Filetype[PDF-949.85 KB]

  • English

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      Qualification standards published by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) describe the minimum experience or education that individuals must have to qualify for specific positions within the federal government (OPM, 2009). These standards are developed and revised in conjunction with the appropriate federal agency. The purpose of the current research project was to evaluate the OPM qualification standard for the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Series 2152 and provide recommendations for renewing the standard for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) human resources personnel. In addition to general and specialized experience and education requirements, the ATC Series 2152 qualification standard includes seven alternate requirements for use in qualifying applicants for selection by the FAA as air traffic control specialists (ATCSs). These alternate requirements reflect prior, relevant experiences of the applicants seen as adequate to qualify them for selection. In Study 1, biographical questionnaire data were used to assess the relationship between five of the seven alternate requirements and performance of prospective ATCSs in training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Having prior experience in ATC, holding a prior instrument flight rating, and having a pilot’s license all had a positive relationship with FAA Academy training performance and, with slight modifications, were recommended for retention as alternate requirements. The relationship between having experience as a dispatcher for an air carrier and FAA Academy training performance was not significant. However, the alternate requirement was recommended for retention due to the small number of ATCSs having experience in air-carrier dispatch. There was also no relationship found between having experience as a navigator/bombardier in the Armed Forces and FAA Academy training performance, and a recommendation was made to eliminate it as an alternate requirement. The remaining alternate requirements were addressed in Study 2, using a more qualitative approach of interviews and document review. For one alternate requirement, an update to the name of the military job referenced in the requirement was proposed. The final alternate requirement, which reflected an obsolete pay scale and testing procedures, was recommended for elimination. Based on results of Studies 1 and 2, suggestions were made for additional data collection to validate and extend the current standard to ensure that only those applicants most likely to succeed as ATCSs are selected. Periodic review of the OPM 2152 qualification standard is necessary as the role of the ATCS and the experiences of the populations being targeted for recruitment continue to evolve.
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