Author Topic: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts  (Read 12309 times)

Offline redfrontier

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« on: March 04, 2010, 12:39:38 AM »
Hello all!

Long time listener first time poster  :-D, this one is important to me so I am doing all the research on it that I can before I make my final decision.

OK, here is the cake. I am 25 a military vet. (not trying to puff my chest around, just stating I have the GI Bill at my disposal for school). I am currently enrolled at a local FBO working on my Private Pilot about to do my first solo, and go to college part time.

My ultimate goal in life is to work in the tower, ground or local controller its all gravy. I just want to be in the tower, so my question to you is. Would it be wise to attend something like AdvancedATC where I can get a CTO and from what I understand also a faculty rating, or go to a full 2/4 year CTI school.

What has me at a crossroad is my age, 25 time to start making up my mind. But also I just want to work the tower, I live in the PDX area and have Green River C.C not too far away and AdvancedATC in all the way in GA.

So, for someone who just wants to stay in the tower and do nothing else, should I bother with CTI school or just shoot for the CTO cert and take it that way?

Are there any pro's/con's to either? Just want to throw in that working in a contract tower would be no problem for me, so I am looking at that as options as well.

Basically what I am trying to get at is if my goal is to only work in the tower (FAA or Contract) is a school like AdvancedATC a good route?

Sorry for the long post, and would like to say thank you in advance.

-Rob.



Offline atcman23

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 367
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 07:01:21 PM »
I wouldn't go through Advanced ATC.  It's very expensive at $50,000 a year and they make some false promises to you (like guaranteeing a job with the FAA).  Yeah it's quick at 12 months but it's a "new" concept (Link ATC in Texas is similar).  Personally, if you would like to save a little money yourself (I know you have the GI Bill) and learn a bit more, you are better off with a 2 year CTI school.  With Advanced ATC and Link, you would have to apply to the Off The Street application (you would get vets preference) but the FAA is not opening up any more public applications at this time.  Yeah you might get in with the CTO app but it's not a guarantee.  Same with the CTI app but they are basically doing hiring from the CTI, VRA, and CTO applications only. 

FAA likes the CTI applicants a bit better and they do also like hiring military vets too.  I would research the CTI schools as well and don't get too caught up in the Advanced ATC stuff right now.  $50K is a lot of money to throw around, whether or not you're paying for it.
Mark Spencer

Offline redfrontier

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 08:03:07 PM »
atcman23,

Thank you, I appreciate the valuable info. That was my concern, AdvancedATC is spendy and I just found out the Gi Bill does NOT cover it. In simple terms it raises a red flag, I guess the school does not meet the standards.

My main reason of bringing them into the mix was if I want to work in the tower why not go straight for it, although you do raise good points.

Looks like Green River C.C more and more, I am 25 so if I start fall/winter timeframe would that be pushing the age limit do you think?

Thanks!

Offline jarhead0863

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 08:21:06 PM »
redfrontier,

Seeing that you are 25, you still have 6 years until the FAA cutoff age so you will still have time for school. You best be would be for a 2 or 4 year CTI program. Right now I am at UND for CTI. Depending on what you are looking for in you college experience, that should determine if you go to a 2 or 4 year degree program. I have heard good things about CCBC (Community College of Beaver County) which is a 2 year program. I am at UND which is a 4 year program. Aside from the ATC and other aviation classes here, you actually have to take gen ed classes. Even though a 4 year program will be more, at the end of the day I will be happy to have a bachelors degree in hand, even if it is only good for ATC. If you do go the 4 year program, you would be cutting it close since you would be around 29 or 30. Depending on where the FAA is hiring at that time, you could get picked up very quick, or you might have to wait a year or two. I am not sure if you know or not, but if you go the CTI route, depending on what states you pick after you take the AT-SAT, it is not guaranteed that you will end up in a tower. You could end up in a center or tracon or an up/down facility.

IMO, I would say go for the 2 year CTI program. Given that you are 25, going for a 4 year CTI program might be cutting it close to the age cutoff. If you value having a bachelors degree more than an associates degree, then a 4 year program would be the best. I chose UND for a few reasons; I wanted to go to a 4 year program, UND is the top school for ATC, and all of the sims that we use are identical to the ones at the academy.

Good luck with your choice. If you have any more questions feel free to ask!

Offline redfrontier

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 12:10:32 AM »
redfrontier,

Seeing that you are 25, you still have 6 years until the FAA cutoff age so you will still have time for school. You best be would be for a 2 or 4 year CTI program. Right now I am at UND for CTI. Depending on what you are looking for in you college experience, that should determine if you go to a 2 or 4 year degree program. I have heard good things about CCBC (Community College of Beaver County) which is a 2 year program. I am at UND which is a 4 year program. Aside from the ATC and other aviation classes here, you actually have to take gen ed classes. Even though a 4 year program will be more, at the end of the day I will be happy to have a bachelors degree in hand, even if it is only good for ATC. If you do go the 4 year program, you would be cutting it close since you would be around 29 or 30. Depending on where the FAA is hiring at that time, you could get picked up very quick, or you might have to wait a year or two. I am not sure if you know or not, but if you go the CTI route, depending on what states you pick after you take the AT-SAT, it is not guaranteed that you will end up in a tower. You could end up in a center or tracon or an up/down facility.

IMO, I would say go for the 2 year CTI program. Given that you are 25, going for a 4 year CTI program might be cutting it close to the age cutoff. If you value having a bachelors degree more than an associates degree, then a 4 year program would be the best. I chose UND for a few reasons; I wanted to go to a 4 year program, UND is the top school for ATC, and all of the sims that we use are identical to the ones at the academy.

Good luck with your choice. If you have any more questions feel free to ask!

Thank You once again!

I am highly looking CCBC, I agree 4 years would be cutting it close. I can always get a paper I have been taking 2 Quarters of general classes here in a local Community College so I feel ok on the credits part.

I know we all can't pick and choose, to be honest if I cant work in a tower. I would like to work somewhere very hectic and busy JFK, ORD, ATL, LAX bring it on! Not to sound cocky but I do like to challenge myself. And be able to have the honor of saying I worked some of the busiest airspace in the world....OK back to reality, from the research I have done it will most likely be CCBC.

And most important of all I would like to thank everyone for their help, maybe one day I can be of service!

P.S. Good luck to you sir and you're endeavors!

Offline jarhead0863

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 01:05:12 AM »
Good luck with your choice of school. I have heard very good about CCBC. Once again, good luck and I hope to be controlling in 2 years just like yourself.

Offline atcman23

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 367
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 07:30:52 PM »
I am a 2008 CCBC graduate myself.  Very good school for ATC; the FAA has hired lots of controllers out of that school and it is well known.  If you have any questions about the school just let me know.
Mark Spencer

Offline jenchrysalis

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2010, 01:19:51 PM »
You've chosen that school so it seems that it has a good reputation on the country. I guess you might try to see some better opportunities for you in the whole school year.SEO Services
« Last Edit: March 24, 2010, 10:45:33 AM by jenchrysalis »

Offline RV1

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 104
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 10:50:21 PM »
"I know we all can't pick and choose, to be honest if I cant work in a tower. I would like to work somewhere very hectic and busy JFK, ORD, ATL, LAX bring it on! Not to sound cocky but I do like to challenge myself. And be able to have the honor of saying I worked some of the busiest airspace in the world...."

May I interject a smidgen of advice...  worry less about getting to a high level facility so that you can have the honor of ... etc. and do a few things first:   
1. Get hired! Jump through whatever hoops the FAA has at the time in order for you to get hired. There are many on this forum that would give their (fill in the blank) to be a controller. Your first goal is to get hired.

2. Get checked out in a lower level facility as a CPC (Certified Professional Controller) and get past your probation period, 1 year. At that point, you become a valuable entity to the FAA. At my facility, we get applications weekly from trainees that are washing out of higher level facilities and would rather work in a lower level facility than get fired! The washout rate at most higher level facilities is high, for good reasons.

3. Make sure that the facility that pushes the tin where you want to challenge yourself is where you want to spend the majority of your career. These facilities are hurting for people, so once and if you check out, you're there for a long time! Be sure you can afford to live and work there. You don't want to have two jobs to make a living. It's not all about humping tons of planes, it's also about quality of life, family and friends. I crank and dump planes 40 hours a week, but I have a real life outside of work. I am a controller, I serve my country in this manner, I am proud of my career choice, and humbly, I am very good at what I do. But I am just as proud and excited about my children and my family!

For all those looking to go down this path, the newly hired will be able to offer more current advice than us codgers. By the time we were done, out of every 10,000 applicants, 1 would make it as a controller. That ratio is much better now. The career path you have chosen is a worthy one, Obe. It's awesome how you get down on yourself when you end up with 4.5 miles,            when all you needed was 3.
Kick butt, take no names, they dont matter anyways

Offline mk882004

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2010, 10:50:59 PM »
Hey man, i also am a 2008 grad from CCBC it is an excellent school, you don't leave with a 4 year degree but if you are able to make it in ATC you won't need one, and the option to go back in the future and finish the last 2 years for the rest of your degree that option is always there, i work for the FAA now and i have to agree with the previous post, i strongly discourage you from trying to go straight to an ORD JFK ATL LAX DFW because those are the most difficult airports to get certified at in the country. Like he said get certified in a lower level facility, i'm at an 8, i would recommend an 8 or 9 to start 10 possibly but not much higher than that because the level of success thus far has been minimal, not saying you won't certify in a facility like that but it is much more difficult.

Being only 25 you will have a long career ahead of you there is nothing wrong with taking a year to certify in a lower level facility learn the basic rules of Air Traffic and how the FAA works. Controllers at lower level facilities are much more laid back and more willing to help. The learning environment at a lower level facility is also a big plus, people will let you work it more on your own because there are less airplanes and less chances to kill someone, at a busy facility you may not be cut lose near as much.

So i strongly recommend CCBC because of the hands on training there, also i strongly recommend trying for a lower level facility to start. In my opinion there is no reason to put a great career on the line because you want to challenge yourself right off the bat you'll have plenty of time to get to the big airports, good luck and let me know if i can answer any questions for you!

Offline NAplaya16-ATC

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 151
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2010, 12:20:23 AM »
Also a 2008 grad from CCBC, and its a great school!!!  Teachers are really cool, knowledgeable, and down to earth!   They prep you very well for actual real world ATC!!!

mk882004,

is that you matt??

 

Offline evilcuban

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Re: Options for ATC School, Would like a pro's thoughts
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 11:05:26 AM »
What RV1 says is good advice. Focus first on getting hired, get your certs, then worry about being a hero controller with loads of fans here.

It is my unfortunate luck that I figured out my calling possibly a few years too late in life.  At 28yo CTI isn't really an option for me, so I'm hoping to get picked up PUBNAT8 (passed on 7 even with a top-notch AT-SAT score).  You still have time, and I'd strongly recommend going CTI if you're serious about a career with the FAA.