CTI vs OTS?

n9088d

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I'm a newb here, and yesterday I made a post which I think would do better as its own thread. Since I posted under a somewhat unrelated thread the first time, allow me to copy and paste my original post here....

"Hi guys-

Time for me to ask the proverbial repetitive questions that all of us who are new to the controller hiring process wonder about. ;) I'm sorry if you guys are tired of hearing this. Rest assured, I have given a solid attempt at reading the postings of this forum and answering as many questions I could, but at the end of the day it's still nice to cut the crap and just ask someone.

Here's my situation...

I'm currently a CTI student. I just started the program and am scheduled to graduate next August (of 2009). I am a well established pilot. I've got over 8 and 1/2 years of flying experience and hold the following certificates and ratings: Commercial Pilot with Instrument Rating, CFII, AGI/IGI. I'm also a FAASTeam Representative (FAA Safety Team, see faasafety.gov if you're curious what the heck that is). I also exceed the work experience/education experience (combination of) requirements. I definitely qualify as an "off the street" applicant. I made the decision to get involved with a CTI program before I realized the FAA was taking most of their new hires "off the street." Here's my question... Do you guys think I should stay in the CTI program and graduate? Or should I leave the program and begin the hiring process now? I'd strongly prefer to NOT spend all the money for the CTI program (tuition and living expenses since the school I'm at is not in my home state), not to mention the added year before I'm possibly hired. From all the research I've been doing it's really looking like the better thing for me to do is get out of the CTI program and get a job now. Why spend all the time and money getting the CTI degree if I don't have to? I know it wouldn't hurt my chances, of course. But if I can get a job now I'd much prefer it. Does anyone have any light to shed on this?

Thanks a lot, guys. :rolleyes:"

...You guys know a heck of a lot more about the hiring process than I do since I'm just getting into this. Any expertise would be greatly appreciated. Is the CTI program a waste of time and money? It's looking that way, but I want to be 100% positive before I leave the program.

Thanks!
 

Kmaceri

Well-Known Member
The CTI program would be good since you will be ahead of the game, but with you work experience and pilot ratings you should be set. If you apply now you will be ahead as well, and who knows #### may happen next year when they put out a hiring freeze due to some odd reason.
 

hudson26

New Member
I'd definitely start the OTS process now. You won't be paid any more as a CTI grad versus OTS. Yes finishing what you start is important (to me anyway) but if you are confident that you are going to be doing this job as a career, are you really going care 10-20 years down the line if you have a little piece of paper hanging on your wall? I'd care more about the potential seniority and facility choices that are ripe for the picking - now. Later? Maybe, maybe not. Also if you have been flying for as long as you say, do you mind if I ask how old you are? If age is a factor, I'd also say you should apply ASAP (no pun, lol). Even if the suspend hiring for a year or two after you graduate CTI (no one is predicting this... but you've been in aviation long enough to know how quickly things can change)... that may create an issue.
 

jeffm1999

New Member
I would second the OTS method. Really, the only benefit of CTI from what I can tell is you skip the 5 week basic course at OKC, but you have to spend 40 credit hours in a college classroom and your tuition dollars in return for those 5 weeks. If it takes you a couple years to do the college, you may miss the biggest ATC hiring wave since 81-82 and getting in may be tough.

I say apply OTS and start taking the CTI classes. That way you have all of your bases covered, assuming you really want to be an ATC. If you are just taking a shot at ATC and are not really sure if its for you, then a CTI degree is probably going to be a waste in any other industry.

Just my .02. Your mileage may vary.
 

n9088d

New Member
Thank you for your replies, everyone. It's extremely helpful. To answer the age question... No worries, I'm 22. I started flying very young. I hope I didn't confuse anyone and make it sound like I've been a career pilot for 8 and 1/2 years. What I meant to say was... I've been accumulating flight experience (hours, training, certificates, ratings, etc.) for 8 and 1/2 years. I've been a professional flight instructor for the last 2+ years. But no worries, age is not a problem here. And regarding the other question... Yes, I absolutely am positive about pursuing ATC as a career. So no problems there either. I agree that staying in the CTI program just in case would be best, but the only problem is that it's not free. Not at all. This is costing me a lot of time and money, that's why if I don't absolutely need it I'd like to get out.

Anyone else have thoughts/opinions?
 

Freezer41

New Member
I've told my CTI buddies to apply OTS. About 25% of my graduating CTI class applied OTS while still in school. One got hired and was able to defer her Academy date until she was out of school.
 

n9088d

New Member
I've told my CTI buddies to apply OTS. About 25% of my graduating CTI class applied OTS while still in school. One got hired and was able to defer her Academy date until she was out of school.
Freezer-
That's good info. So you're a CTI grad? What's your advice as far as staying in or leaving the program? Like I said, I know staying in would be best for enhancing my chances a little bit more (not really all that much though it seems like), but is it worth it for all the time and money I'll have to put into it? It seems like I've got a good chance of getting an offer now.
 

Sunburn

Well-Known Member
I am a CTI student at MSAC in Walnut, Ca. I took all the CTI classes save the team skills one because I found out my units from my prior college would not transfer do to the college I had gone to, peanuts really. I have been working since I was 16 so I currently have six years work experience.

Anyways, enough background on me.

I will say that the CTI program is a great program, especially if you actually have a tower and/or radar (or at least a good simulator). However, money is money and if you just want to get it, OTS is the way to go. But, if I remember correctly (And if I am wrong ATLTRACON or someone in ATC will correct me, again) Higher education degrees help toward bids if you want to transfer to another facility, providing there is an offer for said facility etc etc.

Just my $.02 (Don't spend it all in one place now)
 

n9088d

New Member
I am a CTI student at MSAC in Walnut, Ca. I took all the CTI classes save the team skills one because I found out my units from my prior college would not transfer do to the college I had gone to, peanuts really. I have been working since I was 16 so I currently have six years work experience.

Anyways, enough background on me.

I will say that the CTI program is a great program, especially if you actually have a tower and/or radar (or at least a good simulator). However, money is money and if you just want to get it, OTS is the way to go. But, if I remember correctly (And if I am wrong ATLTRACON or someone in ATC will correct me, again) Higher education degrees help toward bids if you want to transfer to another facility, providing there is an offer for said facility etc etc.

Just my $.02 (Don't spend it all in one place now)

Oh really? That's good to know. I don't think I'll need to worry about that though, because I'm dead set on ZKC and it's looking like I'll get there without problem. I won't accept many other locations (unless they're close to home which is Kansas City). I couldn't imagine ever wanting to transfer from ZKC, but if many years down the road I did for whatever reason I'm sure I'd have the work performance record and seniority to get 'er done.
 

Freezer41

New Member
Freezer-
That's good info. So you're a CTI grad? What's your advice as far as staying in or leaving the program? Like I said, I know staying in would be best for enhancing my chances a little bit more (not really all that much though it seems like), but is it worth it for all the time and money I'll have to put into it? It seems like I've got a good chance of getting an offer now.
Yes I am. I had already been in school a year when the OTS announcements came out but I loved my classes and my teachers. I agree with sunburn that CTI is a good program if you have good simulators and a good faculty. If you can make a steady living flight instructing back home, drop out. I don't know how transferring facilities works but if you are at all interested in moving up to managerial positions in the FAA, this is where education becomes a factor.

In Selection Factor 5, you get points for the highest level attained. 1 Year College, 1, 2 Years College, 2, Associates Degree, 3. So you can see that you get 2 extra points for finishing out CTI assuming you only have 1 year of college. This may sound like a big difference but the education criteria only accounts for 10% of the overall selection factor. You get most of your points from work experience. # of years CPC at a certain level facility or other management jobs held.

My family wanted me to get a bachelors degree I used this to show them I did my research and would be better off getting my foot in the door with the FAA now rather than in 2 years
 

n9088d

New Member
Yes I am. I had already been in school a year when the OTS announcements came out but I loved my classes and my teachers. I agree with sunburn that CTI is a good program if you have good simulators and a good faculty. If you can make a steady living flight instructing back home, drop out. I don't know how transferring facilities works but if you are at all interested in moving up to managerial positions in the FAA, this is where education becomes a factor.

In Selection Factor 5, you get points for the highest level attained. 1 Year College, 1, 2 Years College, 2, Associates Degree, 3. So you can see that you get 2 extra points for finishing out CTI assuming you only have 1 year of college. This may sound like a big difference but the education criteria only accounts for 10% of the overall selection factor. You get most of your points from work experience. # of years CPC at a certain level facility or other management jobs held.

My family wanted me to get a bachelors degree I used this to show them I did my research and would be better off getting my foot in the door with the FAA now rather than in 2 years
Freezer-
Great info, very helpful. Thanks for your advice. Right now, not counting any of the CTI stuff whatsoever I have just under 2 years of college completed (full time) in non-ATC areas of study. I also have approximately 2 years of full time work experience in the combination of flight instructing and retail loss prevention middle manager. Plus all my pilot certifcation/ratings. I might add also that I have 3 hours of air traffic control coursework from Embry Riddle on my college record. ALSO... I am still planning on getting AT LEAST an Associate's degree (probably a bachelor's) from a college or university in a non-ATC area of study after I become a controller. So I suppose if for whatever reason I was ever interested in management (don't think I would be) I would have the education at a later time.

Judging from your guys' advice and comments I'm really thinking leaving the CTI program and applying OTS is the way to go. Thanks for the all the help.
 

Raydon

New Member
Here's what I'm doing.

Pursuing A.S. @ local community college.. once completed i'll be moving to Los Angeles to pursue the CTI program and blackmail my dad for cash to get my private pilot rating.

In the meantime, I have 7 applications in including the 3 latest pubnats and the AK/HI applications as well.

SO.. if I get the email and things work out via OTS, you can bet your ass I'll drop out of school to go to OKC - since.. well, that's what I'm going for any way.

either way I end up employed. :)

----as long as I pass the psych screening ;) :sarcasm:?

If you're a rated pilot and have a degree, I'd say you're golden.

get those aps in!
 

n9088d

New Member
Here's what I'm doing.

Pursuing A.S. @ local community college.. once completed i'll be moving to Los Angeles to pursue the CTI program and blackmail my dad for cash to get my private pilot rating.

In the meantime, I have 7 applications in including the 3 latest pubnats and the AK/HI applications as well.

SO.. if I get the email and things work out via OTS, you can bet your ass I'll drop out of school to go to OKC - since.. well, that's what I'm going for any way.

either way I end up employed. :)

----as long as I pass the psych screening ;) :sarcasm:?

If you're a rated pilot and have a degree, I'd say you're golden.

get those aps in!
Thanks! I didn't mention that I actually did make the submission deadline for PUBNAT6, so I'm off and running. The only question now is whether or not to leave CTI or not. ;) I think I'm pretty well convinced though. I'd just really hate to drop out then a year later still not have an offer and realize I need to go back into the CTI program. That would be very bad news. But I think the chances of that happening are extremely slim.
 

Flaflaflofly

Well-Known Member
I am doing the same thing as Raydon. I've applied to every Pubnat so far, and I plan to attend CTI next semester. I just finished with my A.S.. As soon as the FAA calls though, I am dropping what I am doing. I just wanted to do CTI to get a head start on the learning, get the feel for what the job entails, and as a back-up if I don't get picked up OTS.
 

Raydon

New Member
I am doing the same thing as Raydon. I've applied to every Pubnat so far, and I plan to attend CTI next semester. I just finished with my A.S.. As soon as the FAA calls though, I am dropping what I am doing. I just wanted to do CTI to get a head start on the learning, get the feel for what the job entails, and as a back-up if I don't get picked up OTS.
Ooh, maybe you could send us a copy of the course syllabus for the CTI program so we know what we'll be studying.. give us a head start per se.
 

n9088d

New Member
If you have your instrument rating and a degree then your golden.
I'm a CFII (instrument instructor), but I don't have a degree yet. I do have almost 2 years of full time college, but no degree. I also have about 2 years full time work experience. I'm encouraged at the responses I've gotten here and am feeling pretty confident that I'm safe on the OTS route.

Raydon-
Each CTI program is a little bit different, but they're all very similar because the FAA provides guidance and certain mandatory subject areas that must be covered in the course. In an AS program (2-year, where your first year is all gen-ed) you'll spend your 2nd year (your ATC year) first covering academic areas like aviation law, basic aviation knowledge, basic aviation weather, then move into principles of ATC including non-radar procedures. The 2nd semester (and 3rd if applicable) you'll probably be doing mostly lab work in an enroute simulator working radar scenarios, etc. Freezer, if you're still reading this thread and you have anything to add, feel free (if I left anything out).
 

Flaflaflofly

Well-Known Member
So I was talking to a guy who has been on the panels at OKC the past couple of times about my qualified score, and going to CTI. He told me that due to the large selection of well-qualified, it will be a while until qualified OTS applicants get hired. He did say that every CTI grad got picked up each time. He said that CTI is the way to go if you want to be guaranteed a job with the FAA.
Just thought I would add this little bit of info. to this thread..
 
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