Terminal vs. Enroute

Piker

New Member
  • I'm an OTS applicant. Assuming I graduate from the academy and become certified, will I be effectively limited to smaller Terminal facilities? In other words, what are the major factors that cause are some people to work at level 4 terminals and others at level 10 terminals?
  • It's my understanding that all Enroute centers are level 10 or above. After graduating from the academy/becoming certified, does an OTS academy graduate have a realistic chance at getting a job at this level?
  • Where is the FAA more short staffed (Terminal or Enroute)?
  • Are there negative repercussions to stating a preference?
  • Which career path has more burnout?
  • How does the "up or out" policy affect each area?
  • While its possible to switch careers, it's essentially the same as starting over. Does anyone have any experience with this?
  • Dumb question: Will the Enroute career survive next-generation ATC technology? The job responsibilities in Enroute seem straightforward when compared to Terminal. Am I way off base here?

I know these questions are a little jumbled--if you have thoughts on one or all of them, please respond. I find it odd that the FAA wants a career preference so early in the process. Thanks.
 

BAG1953

New Member
  • I'm an OTS applicant. Assuming I graduate from the academy and become certified, will I be effectively limited to smaller Terminal facilities? In other words, what are the major factors that cause are some people to work at level 4 terminals and others at level 10 terminals?
Don't know how the assignment process works today since I was hired many years ago. However, you WANT to start at a low level terminal (no higher than ATC 9). Once you are checked out, it will be fairly easy to move up.

  • It's my understanding that all Enroute centers are level 10 or above. After graduating from the academy/becoming certified, does an OTS academy graduate have a realistic chance at getting a job at this level?
Yes. Many OTS trainees are being sent to high level facilities, including centers.

  • Where is the FAA more short staffed (Terminal or Enroute)?
Generally, the higher the facility level, the shorter staffed it is.

  • Are there negative repercussions to stating a preference?
Probably not. Do not be surprised, however, if the FAA ignores your preferences completely. Also, as a general rule of thumb, if you are assigned enroute, you will probably be there for a very long time, probably your whole career.

  • Which career path has more burnout?
Are you talking enroute vs. terminal? I would say terminal.

  • How does the "up or out" policy affect each area?
A while back, if a developmental did not cut it at a higher level facility (which was pretty rare), he would be sent to a lower level facility. The trainees that have washed out from my facility have been simply fired.

  • While its possible to switch careers, it's essentially the same as starting over. Does anyone have any experience with this?
Can't help you here.

  • Dumb question: Will the Enroute career survive next-generation ATC technology? The job responsibilities seems so much "easier" in Enroute vs. Terminal. Am I way off base here?
You are indeed off base. Both entail a great amount of work and responsibility. Any yes, enroute will survive, I will bet you lots of money. Remember, this is the federal government we are talking about here.

I know these questions are a little jumbled--if you have thoughts on one or all of them, please respond. I find it odd that the FAA wants a career preference so early in the process. Thanks.
 

Piker

New Member
Bag,

Thanks for responding. Let me ask a couple more questions that show my newbie-ness.

I don't really understand what happens after you get the first job. Say I get certified and work in Terminal or Enroute. After a few years, how do I apply to move up the chain? I currently work in a career where I can point to a concrete body of work as justification to get promoted. Is this the same in ATC--do I point to a qualitative history of my ATC work when I want to move up? Or is the promotion process more focused on how many hours I've worked and whether I have a good recommendation from my supervisor?

Also, can you elaborate on why you think Center work will be around for a while? I don't doubt you. I don't have as good a concept of Enroute as I do of Terminal.
 

w00Pilot

New Member
Just to emphasize what Bag said.. You'll hear over and over again, it's alot easier to move from terminal to enroute than vice versa. Keep in mind, working en route you're going to be in a dark building for 8 hrs, then be released into the light, so to speak. Where as a terminal position you will be looking out the window at the passing planes (unless you get a TRACON slot like i did).
 
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