I need some help

chellelynn83

New Member
I am having a hard time making this final career decision....
I just graduated from college a year ago and am an elementary school teacher. I love teaching and the hours are amazing (summers off). I currently do not have a teaching job for this year and am subbing. I went to the PEPC and received a TOL. At first I was sure I would switch to ATC, because it is a secure job and the pay is good, but now thinking about the schedule change and drastic career change I am getting apprehensive. If anyone can answer some of my questions it would be greatly appreciated.
1. How long after you are certified will it take to reach the maximum pay?
2. How long if ever could it take to get a Saturday Sunday weekend?
3. Do Holidays like Christmas get rotated or if it falls on your day you just work it?
4. How flexible is the schedule if you need days off (I don't have kids but are planning to have them soon? and am worried that If they are sick or school things if it will be a problem.
5. Do managers have a normal mon-fri schedule? and Is it hard to get a managers position?
6. What is the wash out rate once you get to a facility? (i would be at a level 6.
7. Is it easy to transfer to another facility near by if you want?
8. What are the major complaints about the job?

Please be nice I know it sounds like i am ungrateful for the opportunity, but i really want to make an informed decision and without having any atc experience or knowing anyone its hard to make the decision. Any advice or comments are helpful.
 

Shyu

Well-Known Member
1. Depends on how you work and your raise during each year.
2. During most of the on the job training you will be off on weekends.
3. Someone has to work it.
4. I dunno
5. I dunno
6. Depends on the facility, level 6 should be no problem, but yet it depends on your trainer and how hard you work.
7. Depends on the staffing at your facility, but it shouldn't be to hard to transfer.
8. I dunno

Anymore questions ask in pm or somewhere else where there aren't too many forum trolls and all they do is post ignorant and unimportant comments like atcmonitor, stuckmic, ect. Jetcareers has some good Q&A, but it is getting quiet slow and bogged down.
 

chellelynn83

New Member
Thanks for your help. You said that in training schedules are normally pretty good, but what about once im checked out. How hard it it to get a sat/sun weekend. I appreciate your honesty and saying you don't know to a couple of my questions. I have seen some people ask questions and it seemed like some people were trying to guess and answer.
 

Svirf

New Member
Are you able to get a tour of the tower you will be going to? If you can, I would do that and ask a few of those questions while your on the tour or just give them a call and try to find out. I felt a lot better about going in this direction after I toured the facility I will be working at.

There are some basic rules in place, but it seems to me (from these forums and the facilities I have toured) that each place has its own feel and could either be more rigid or less rigid on how things operate.
 

Shyu

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your help. You said that in training schedules are normally pretty good, but what about once im checked out. How hard it it to get a sat/sun weekend. I appreciate your honesty and saying you don't know to a couple of my questions. I have seen some people ask questions and it seemed like some people were trying to guess and answer.
No problem, and I agree that you should tour the facility to really get a feel of it, ask them about the washout rate and anything else you have questions with. I am visiting ZTL tomorrow and I am quiet excited about it.

The schedule is rotating and is bidded, the bids are ordered by seniority so you being new will be last-ish. But you can always hope the people in front of you don't want weekends off.
 

ATLTRACON

MODERATOR
I am having a hard time making this final career decision....
I just graduated from college a year ago and am an elementary school teacher. I love teaching and the hours are amazing (summers off). I currently do not have a teaching job for this year and am subbing. I went to the PEPC and received a TOL. At first I was sure I would switch to ATC, because it is a secure job and the pay is good, but now thinking about the schedule change and drastic career change I am getting apprehensive. If anyone can answer some of my questions it would be greatly appreciated.
1. How long after you are certified will it take to reach the maximum pay?many many years
2. How long if ever could it take to get a Saturday Sunday weekend?even longer..these are taken by the most senior usually
3. Do Holidays like Christmas get rotated or if it falls on your day you just work it?I worked the first 19 Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays
4. How flexible is the schedule if you need days off (I don't have kids but are planning to have them soon? and am worried that If they are sick or school things if it will be a problem.The FAA considers your family a nuisance. Better have an extremely understanding wife...Lindsay you listening?
5. Do managers have a normal mon-fri schedule? and Is it hard to get a managers position?WOW..wrong question to be asking in front of other controllers
6. What is the wash out rate once you get to a facility? (i would be at a level 6. idk about a 6, but at ATL TRACON we have had about a 75-80% washout rate...I don't say 100% yet cause after 2+ years they are still only checked out on one or two postiions...and they are the easiest in the facility.
7. Is it easy to transfer to another facility near by if you want? absolutely not
8. What are the major complaints about the job? 6 day work weeks..10 hour days..no family life for the most part..militaristic/draconian management and work rules....Lindsay you still listening?

Please be nice I know it sounds like i am ungrateful for the opportunity, but i really want to make an informed decision and without having any atc experience or knowing anyone its hard to make the decision. Any advice or comments are helpful.
 

chellelynn83

New Member
Thank you Altracon for replying. I actually tried to send you an instant message to ask you those questions because I think that you give honest and informed answers. Im just wondering what you do like about the job and why you have continued to do it? Would you get into it again if you were me? Thanks again for your reply.
 

LawnGnome

Well-Known Member
I am having a hard time making this final career decision....
I just graduated from college a year ago and am an elementary school teacher. I love teaching and the hours are amazing (summers off). I currently do not have a teaching job for this year and am subbing. I went to the PEPC and received a TOL. At first I was sure I would switch to ATC, because it is a secure job and the pay is good, but now thinking about the schedule change and drastic career change I am getting apprehensive. If anyone can answer some of my questions it would be greatly appreciated.
1. How long after you are certified will it take to reach the maximum pay? The maximum of the pay band is hard to come by....probably won't happen...you get your 3-4% pay raise each year you are in....so it adds up after a while, but you probably will never make it to the maximum of the pay band for your level facility....the pay will probably change before that happens.
2. How long if ever could it take to get a Saturday Sunday weekend? you could actually get a saturday sunday weekend off the whole time while you are in training...you will generally be lined up on the same days off as your primary or secondary instructor (i know a handful of controllers that did this as new hires)....if they are a senior instructor and have sat. sun. off...then you will...once you check out you will probably be put on the least desirable days off which are usually tues wed, or wed thurs.
3. Do Holidays like Christmas get rotated or if it falls on your day you just work it?they don't get rotated...if it falls on your day you work it...the most senior people in the facility bid on these days for their annual leave so you probably won't get it for leave either....you can always request it off as far in advance as possible....after they grant annual leave, whoever the next person on the list, regardless of seniority that has requested that day off, they will give it to if they have enough staffing. at my facility, the christmas and thanksgiving are slow....a lot of people like working holidays because they make extra money...i don't like working holidays...i would rather take the day off so I put in for holiday leave on every holiday...that means...I still get paid for that day, and I don't have to take annual leave...it's like a free day off.
4. How flexible is the schedule if you need days off (I don't have kids but are planning to have them soon? and am worried that If they are sick or school things if it will be a problem. Depends on staffing at your facility. I can basically take any day off I want....specially if it involves family or personal sick leave. We can basically get leave any day off we want....but at facilities that are understaffed it will be harder to come by.
5. Do managers have a normal mon-fri schedule? and Is it hard to get a managers position? the staff jobs generally are mon-fri....supervisors work with the crews...the most senior sup gets the best days off...I don't knock wanting to become a supervisor or manager...a lot of people do...if you want to be one, work hard and suck up a little...most people think that only the worst controllers move up to become supervisors....not true....i think they just don't like management in general and have seen a few bad supervisors in the past...there are far more...and i mean far more horrible controllers among the ranks of controllers than there are horrible supervisors among the ranks of supervisors.
6. What is the wash out rate once you get to a facility? (i would be at a level 6. i wouldn't worry about washing out...don't let that thought cross your mind...do your job, pay attention, take all the tips and advice you can, don't argue with your trainers, don't act like you know more than them, have a personality, mingle outside of work...you should be fine.
7. Is it easy to transfer to another facility near by if you want?a lot of facilities try and recruit within the same "hub." A hub is usually a group of airports close by that are all essentially tied together...there also would be a hub manager over the entire hub...the area i'm in generally likes to take controllers within the hub if they can work it out...it's easier paperwork for them as you are staying within the hub...if you are at an understaffed facility, it will be harder to move around...but it would be harder to move somewhere outside the hub that inside the hub if you are at an understaffed place.
8. What are the major complaints about the job?it varies...generally, working holidays and shift work....understaffed facilities will work 6 days a week a lot...some even work 6 days a week and 10 hour days. some facilities there are managers that are out to get controllers...other facilities are great. you'll figure out what you like and don't like real fast. we have great benefits...even with the pay cut, we make great money....ask anyone that isn't a controller if what you make is crappy money and see what they tell you.

best thing to do is get in, form your own opinion...i was shocked when i joined the faa...after everything i heard about the faa, i thought it was going to be miserable....then i find out for myself it's a great place to work...obviously i would like certain things to be better, but i'm sure that will never change....things can always be better.

Please be nice I know it sounds like i am ungrateful for the opportunity, but i really want to make an informed decision and without having any atc experience or knowing anyone its hard to make the decision. Any advice or comments are helpful.
 

Wyopoke79

New Member
I am having a hard time making this final career decision....
I just graduated from college a year ago and am an elementary school teacher. I love teaching and the hours are amazing (summers off). I currently do not have a teaching job for this year and am subbing.


I earned my degree in teaching as well.... Woo! The problem with going to school to be a teacher is....you don't get to teach for real until student teaching at the end..... I thought I liked kids... Thus the career change.
 

jeffm1999

New Member
Thanks for the insights ATL & LawnGnome.... very helpful information to everyone going through this application process and career change descision-making process.

Goes to show you how different the career can be for different folks at different facilities...
 
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