Pilot -> ATC. Where to start?

CRJDriver

Well-Known Member
With the recent spike in oil prices and the many reductions in capacity and cutbacks, it has become increasingly difficult for all of us in the aviation world. Right now, I am scheduled to be furloughed in the next month or two (~January) and am taking this time to explore other employment opportunities, specifically ATC.

I would like to stay in the aviation world, but would also like to have some sort of a "life" in the next few years. I have no idea where to begin and what the process is to become an Air Traffic Controller. I did look through the FAA web site a bit, but did not get much information.

So, a few questions for you guys...

1) Where do I start and what is the process?
2) How long is training?
3) Can you pick where you want to work? (Location and Tower, TRACON, etc.). For instance, how hard would it be to get Denver Tower?
4) What is the pay these days? Someone told me yesterday that pay should go up again soon?

Sorry for all the questions, but I would appreciate any help or info you guys on give me.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 

ATCtower

New Member
With the recent spike in oil prices and the many reductions in capacity and cutbacks, it has become increasingly difficult for all of us in the aviation world. Right now, I am scheduled to be furloughed in the next month or two (~January) and am taking this time to explore other employment opportunities, specifically ATC.

I would like to stay in the aviation world, but would also like to have some sort of a "life" in the next few years. I have no idea where to begin and what the process is to become an Air Traffic Controller. I did look through the FAA web site a bit, but did not get much information.

So, a few questions for you guys...

1) Where do I start and what is the process?
2) How long is training?
3) Can you pick where you want to work? (Location and Tower, TRACON, etc.). For instance, how hard would it be to get Denver Tower?
4) What is the pay these days? Someone told me yesterday that pay should go up again soon?

Sorry for all the questions, but I would appreciate any help or info you guys on give me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let me start by saying go Donkeys!!!!

That being said, you will not be able to go from furloughed to another paycheck shortly. Unless you already went to a CTI school and got your CTI certification, you will need to apply to a PUBNAT (public hiring) most people off these are running about 8-12months before they get to OKC for training, some not even that quick. Check all ATC forums and the FAA's website for them to post a new PUBNAT, they did I believe 6-7 this last year.

OKC training for off the street hires (non-CTI) is 5 weeks of basic ATC you are required to go through even with previous aviation experience. After the 5 weeks of basics, you will be in OKC training for between 6 and 13 weeks depending on the facility you are assigned to. If you do have a CTI certificate you get to skip the 5 weeks of basics. Beyond OKC you go straight to your facility and real training begins there. Depending on where you get (particular facility and type of facility) the on the job training (OJT) ranges anywhere from 6 months to 5-7 years before you make Certified Professional Controller.

As OTS, they allow you to REQUEST 2 states you would like to work and REQUEST terminal or enroute. They are only that, REQUESTS. I have a friend who wanted Atlanta or Dallas center and was given Anchorage tower. As for Denver, there are a ton of contacts you need to get through (this is my facility of choice as well). All you can do is prove your credentials to important people and keep on it. Denver is not easy to get into at this point, but I know if you were interested in Denver Tracon, they are really hurting for people...

Obama certainly wont hurt our pay the way bush did, but in OKC you are paid $8.50/hr plus $80 per diem. Out of OKC you will be paid $33,100+ locality until you get 25% through your training, then you get a raise, then again at 50%, 75% and 100% (CPC). And obviously, the higher level facility you go to, the higher you are paid along the way and as a CPC. The minimum you get at ASE (level 5 tower) is only like 40k, the minimum you would get at ORD ATCT (level 12 tower) is around 80k...

I hope this helps and I am truly sad to hear you are getting furloughed, this is a great deal of why I went from working on my ATP to going to a CTI school for ATC... If you really enjoy flying and want to keep on that track for some time, the last I heard was that InternationalJet Corp is still taking pilots, especially those with some time under their belts. I dont think they are "based" out of APA, but I do know they have a HUGE base there. Let me know if you have any other questions and I will do my best to answer them for ya or chat with people I know to find the answer...
 

bippoptl

Well-Known Member
1) Where do I start and what is the process?
you need to go to jobs.faa.gov and look for Public Announcements. the next one will say PUBNAT7 in it, and no one knows when that is going to come out. if you continue to check this forum i will guarantee the minute it does someone will write about it here.
2) How long is training?
the length of training depends on if you get chosen for a Tower, Tracon, or En Route. En Route are the longest with 87 class room days, then Tower with 62 class room days, and then TRACON with only 52 class room days. (and those numbers include the 25 days of Basics for Non-CTI people)
3) Can you pick where you want to work? (Location and Tower, TRACON, etc.). For instance, how hard would it be to get Denver Tower?
they send you an Email to submitt your Geo Preferences. you are allowed to choose only 2 states, and you can choose Terminal Only (Tower and TRACON), or En Route Only (Center), or BOTH. you are allowed to specify specific counties in a Comments section. some people list facilities they would like to go to in order, but no one knows if they actually take that into consideration.
4) What is the pay these days? Someone told me yesterday that pay should go up again soon?
starting pay for an ATC Trainee right now is $33,100 + Locality pay. for example, i am going to ZNY, a level 12 in NY. the locality pay is 26.36%. so my starting pay is $41,825. as of today, at my facility, if i were JUST fully checked out, the pay is $78,200 + 26.36% = $98,813.52. But also remember that when i actually do check out the pay will probably be higher, or atleast the Locality Pay will be.


Hope this helps
 

nathanw

New Member
With the recent spike in oil prices and the many reductions in capacity and cutbacks, it has become increasingly difficult for all of us in the aviation world. Right now, I am scheduled to be furloughed in the next month or two (~January) and am taking this time to explore other employment opportunities, specifically ATC.

I would like to stay in the aviation world, but would also like to have some sort of a "life" in the next few years. I have no idea where to begin and what the process is to become an Air Traffic Controller. I did look through the FAA web site a bit, but did not get much information.

So, a few questions for you guys...

1) Where do I start and what is the process?
2) How long is training?
3) Can you pick where you want to work? (Location and Tower, TRACON, etc.). For instance, how hard would it be to get Denver Tower?
4) What is the pay these days? Someone told me yesterday that pay should go up again soon?

Sorry for all the questions, but I would appreciate any help or info you guys on give me.

Happy Thanksgiving!
How old are you? If you've already turned 31 it's too late. If you've less than 6 months before your 31st birthday it's probably too late. After you turn 31 they will not hire you.
 

CRJDriver

Well-Known Member
Thanks for tall the answers guys! I should have majored or minored in ATC when I was at UND. So, I guess I have to wait until they open it up again to the Public. I'm just exploring other career opportunities at this point...

Thanks for the help!

How old are you? If you've already turned 31 it's too late. If you've less than 6 months before your 31st birthday it's probably too late. After you turn 31 they will not hire you.
I'm only in my mid-20s.
 

ufgators

Well-Known Member
Has anyone heard when the next PUBNAT is? I'm guessing sometime early 2009.

<-----another pilot looking to go ATC.
 

Vaid

New Member
With the recent spike in oil prices and the many reductions in capacity and cutbacks, it has become increasingly difficult for all of us in the aviation world. Right now, I am scheduled to be furloughed in the next month or two (~January) and am taking this time to explore other employment opportunities, specifically ATC.

I would like to stay in the aviation world, but would also like to have some sort of a "life" in the next few years. I have no idea where to begin and what the process is to become an Air Traffic Controller. I did look through the FAA web site a bit, but did not get much information.

So, a few questions for you guys...

1) Where do I start and what is the process?
2) How long is training?
3) Can you pick where you want to work? (Location and Tower, TRACON, etc.). For instance, how hard would it be to get Denver Tower?
4) What is the pay these days? Someone told me yesterday that pay should go up again soon?

Sorry for all the questions, but I would appreciate any help or info you guys on give me.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Do I know you? lol,
I knew this was coming....
I'm half way done with the hiring process, pm me if you have any Qs.
 

turd jay

Well-Known Member
I too (as well as several pilots at my 135 airline) am in thinking about the ATC route. Specifically I am hoping for Portland, any word as to the staffing levels there, what the pay is like for that area as well?

Anyone heard when the next public application will be up? What things do they consider as far as hiring? I am still young, almost done with my degree, work for a 135 operation, and have a strong desire.

Thanks!
 

Cheezypoof

Well-Known Member
I too (as well as several pilots at my 135 airline) am in thinking about the ATC route. Specifically I am hoping for Portland, any word as to the staffing levels there, what the pay is like for that area as well?

Anyone heard when the next public application will be up? What things do they consider as far as hiring? I am still young, almost done with my degree, work for a 135 operation, and have a strong desire.

Thanks!
Here's a 2008 pay scale, all values should increase for 2009.
https://employees.faa.gov/employee_services/pay_perf/pay/media/ATSPP_pay_bands_no_locality.xls

Here is a list of the 2008 Locality Pay Rates:

Atlanta 17.30%
Boston 22.51%
Buffalo 15.37%
Chicago 23.16%
Cincinnati 17.77%
Cleveland 17.11%
Columbus 15.80%
Dallas 18.74%
Dayton 15.26%
Denver 21.03%
Detroit 22.53%
Hartford 23.97%
Houston 27.39%
Huntsville 14.23%
Indianapolis 13.51%
Los Angeles 25.26%
Miami 19.11%
Milwaukee 16.73%
Minneapolis 19.43%
New York 26.36%
Philadelphia 20.14%
Phoenix 14.74%
Pittsburgh 14.93%
Portland 18.72%
Raleigh 16.82%
Richmond 15.40%
Sacramento 20.25%
San Diego 22.00%
San Francisco 32.53%
Seattle 19.75%
Washington 20.89%

Rest of U.S. 13.18%

If you don't see the city you will be working in or near, then you are in the "Rest of U.S." group.

Once again the locality pay should change with 2009.
 

RobertB

Well-Known Member
4) What is the pay these days? Someone told me yesterday that pay should go up again soon?
starting pay for an ATC Trainee right now is $33,100 + Locality pay. for example, i am going to ZNY, a level 12 in NY. the locality pay is 26.36%. so my starting pay is $41,825. as of today, at my facility, if i were JUST fully checked out, the pay is $78,200 + 26.36% = $98,813.52. But also remember that when i actually do check out the pay will probably be higher, or atleast the Locality Pay will be.
Then add in another 15-20% for holidays, night differential, etc. So your "realistic pay" would be roughly $120,000 before taxes for ZNY...

For comparision sake, I got chosen for a level 8 tower with a 13.18% locality pay. The minimum I will make, as of right now, if I am fully-certified, is $62,475.36 before taxes. The more "realistic pay" is somewhere around roughly $70,000 before taxes since it is only an 18 hour facility.
 

BE58 Driver

New Member
If you have questions about making the transition from pilot to ATC feel free to PM me. I did that exact thing. The other posts are right about it taking a while to get hired. I applied for almost 18 months before hearing anything. It just so happened that my furlough date and eventual date in OKC were within one month of each other.
 
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