Career Changer-- Pilot to ATC


New Member
Well I looking for opinions on my change. I have done a pro's & con's some many times, and everytime they even out. Pilots really don't work that much unless its bad weather, but your always away from home. ATC is always home and you only work 8-10 hours per day(compared to airlines avg. 13 hrs RSV) I love talking on the radios so I know I will enjoy ATC, but I also love shooting an approach down to mins. Give me any input!


Well-Known Member
Do what you feel you need to do.

I actually did the reverse. I grew up from about age 12 spending weekends at either A80 or ZTL.

Well, yeah - going to do ATC for a living. Well, as you (I hope) know the controllers right now are working under imposed work rules. The FAA has failed to negotiate a contract in good faith, and have since decided to impose their last best offer (haha).

That was the last straw for me, especially when I realize I would be able to provide a much better QOL for my family if I ended up flying for a living.

40 years of 6 days on, 1 off, and 10 hour shifts was not what I was looking forward to . . .especially with a further 30% reduction in pay and adjustment in QOL/Work Rules/Benefits.

But hey - do what you gotta do.


New Member
Also balance the likelihood that IWR will end.
IWR has only been in place for the past 2 years, but for some reason ATCers are projecting this out for the next 30 years.

I'm considering a career change from the railroad to ATC, so this is also a troubling decision. I have to balance similar concerns that you might be thinking of. I'll share it with you all:

+Autonomous, I can work what I want w/o oversight
+Good seniority
+Reasonable pay (40 to 100/yr depending on assignment)
+Recession resistant, stable for next 50 years
+Difficult to get fired, union protected
+No yearly medicals
+Lots of variety in schedules, pay, crews, work, location
-Gone up to 3 days at a time
-Some assignments on-call 24/7
-Potentially dangerous working conditions
-Outdoor work in various weather conditions
-Not very 'prestigious', blue-collar labor
-Retirement requires 30 years of service AND 60 years of age

+Retirement is 25 years at ANY age
+Significant upward potential (moving to large facilities, tracon, etc)
+5-day shifts, planned schedule, no on-call service
+Not hazardous
+More intellectually/mentally rewarding
+Reasonably pretigious and well-respected
+Higher hourly pay at a larger terminal
+Fulfills a dream to do something aviation related
+Govt. healthcare benefits and TSP plan
-Yearly medical exam
-Possible future contracting of ATC services
-Currently subject to IWR and low morale
-Up to the whims of future politicians (presidents like to meddle with ATC)


Well-Known Member
I worked in the ATC field while serving in the Royal Air Force (I was an assistant controller). It was an enjoyable job but ultimately I found it frustrating watching others fly. If being away from home is the main factor here then I would recommend you check out Pt135 or corporate flying. The money may not be as good, but I'm home almost every night, fly well equipped aircraft and there is plenty of variety (we fly regular business charter, air ambulance and organ procurement). To me that is worth a lot. The negatives are that if I am not 'dutied out' there is always the potential for the phone to ring.


your social justice comic center
I checked into this. I was too old as they only hire under age 30. You are under 30 I assume. Are you already tired of the Airlines?


New Member
I'm tried of working my ass off. example today is the only day I have off during 13 days. avg. working day so far this week is 11 hours. I'm on rsv and from the looks of it I'm not going to hold a line anytime soon. My company works the dog dodo out of their employees. I'm love flying just want a better quality of life.