High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

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  1. #1
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    High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Hello everyone. This is my first post on this forum.
    I am a High school senior wanting to pursue a career in Air Traffic Control. I met my Air Force recruiter for the first time today and he told me that the needs of the Air Force comes first and cannot simply guarantee me an ATC job in the Air Force. He told me that he rarely sees ATC slots (one or two slots every 4~ months), and even if he does see a slot open up, he cannot guarantee that he'll get it for me. I do understand that being job-locked, especially in the Air Force, is very looked down upon, but I can only see myself doing this as a career. I am planning to contact a Navy recruiter but I don't know if they guarantee jobs. I am not planning to contact Army or Marine recruiters because I have read many times on this forum that it is hard to get qualifications that will transfer over to the FAA. What should my next step be? The AF recruiter told me to contact him again mid- January (early December as of this post) if I had changed my mind or if he sees an opening by then. Should I ask my recruiter every month if an ATC slot had opened up? Do I tell the Navy recruiter I already went to an AF recruiter? My recruiter also mentioned that there is a separate ATC qualification test that I have to schedule and take and that ATC will not show up on the list the job counselor shows me. Is this true? Thank you very much for your time.

  2. #2
    NovemberEcho's Avatar
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Having a guaranteed job isn’t looked down at all. I went in with ATC guaranteed in my contract and know a lot of other who did as well. Enlisting without a guaranteed job is dumb imo if you’re trying to get something specific out of it. That was back in 2008 so maybe things have changed but I doubt it. Your recruiter is jerking you around because he wants his quota now and not have to wait. Have you taken the ASVAB yet? Iirc if you scored above a 93(?) you could get almost any job you wanted guaranteed.

    Also, stay away from the Navy recruiter. You are most likely to get FAA qualifications through AF and Marines. Navy there’s a good chance you wind up on a ship which won’t count. Thirdly, you don’t need prior experience to get hired by the FAA. You will need a college degree or 3 years of progressing work history, but it doesn’t have to be ATC. That said I don’t regret my time in the AF.

  3. #3
    NovemberEcho's Avatar
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Oh yeah, go find another recruiter who is willing to work with you.

  4. #4
    atcbrownie's Avatar
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    I told my recruiter in 2002 to put atc 5 times. The only way I am enlisting is with atc guaranteed. Here I am 16 years later at a level 12 tracon after my 6 year atc enlistment was up.

    Don't let them push you around. They don't outrank you until after you are in. Don't be intimidated. This is your career and your needs/wants come before the air Force needs until you are in.

  5. #5
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Srsly, don’t just sign up for those “open general” slots. You’ll get stuck with finance or security forces... idk how it’s done these days, but when I went in I told the recruiter I’d go through the process and said I’ll consider all jobs. So I was in the DEP for 6 months before getting ATC and between then I was offered security forces and civil engineering (which isn’t as great as it sounds) a couple of times. Then one day he hit me with, “I got this job and it’ll pay 6 figures, but it leaves tomorrow...” I asked what it was and did a google search and took it. I knew I’d never make 6 figures in the military lol but I jumped on it ASAP. So if it’s the same process I went though go through the process. Take the ASVAB, the ATC test they have now, and MEPS for your physical. Just be in your recruiters ass each meeting about wanting to be ATC and if it comes up and even if it leaves that night you will jump on it.

    If you jnow anyone that is in the AF or retired to go with you that can help. Good luck man.

  6. #6
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Should I fill out my dream sheet and go through the process and decline the jobs that open up until ATC comes up? Can I wait until a spot opens up? Unfortunately here in Hawaii, there's only one active duty air force recruiting station...

  7. #7
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Just wait for an open ATC position. If you go open contract then you could get stuck in Security Forces or something extremely mundane.

  8. #8
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Quote Originally Posted by reiwad19 View Post
    Should I fill out my dream sheet and go through the process and decline the jobs that open up until ATC comes up? Can I wait until a spot opens up? Unfortunately here in Hawaii, there's only one active duty air force recruiting station...
    Yes, just keep declining the other jobs until ATC comes up.

  9. #9
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    When I was looking to get into ATC, I first went to the Air Force Recruiter. I asked for ATC and they told me that they can't guarantee ATC, but can guarantee something in Aviation. I said no shit and walked next door to the Navy Recruiter. They guaranteed me ATC. I joined and in my almost 6 years, never went to a ship and got my CTO. Granted that was almost 15 years ago and I have heard rumors that the navy eliminated the shore stations for ATC in favor of contractors, but don't know for sure. Maybe someone else can speak to that. However, never sign a contract that doesn't guarantee you a job, going open is the worst thing you can do.

  10. #10
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    What does it mean to get ATC guaranteed in writing? Does the recruiter give you a piece of paper to take with you to MEPS to show the jobs counselor that I only want that job? If my recruiter calls me saying that an ATC slot opened up, how is it guaranteed to show up on the jobs list at MEPS. Or is this process only after I’m in the DEP?

  11. #11
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Quote Originally Posted by reiwad19 View Post
    What does it mean to get ATC guaranteed in writing? Does the recruiter give you a piece of paper to take with you to MEPS to show the jobs counselor that I only want that job? If my recruiter calls me saying that an ATC slot opened up, how is it guaranteed to show up on the jobs list at MEPS. Or is this process only after I’m in the DEP?
    As long as it’s the same from 2012, you are in the DEP with how many ever others and your recruiter will have a list of jobs with ship dates. How it should work is he/she will go through the jobs and offer them to the folks that want the specific jobs and have been waiting the longest. What it means to have ATC in writing is to not agree to ship out on a date without ATC on your contract. You can be in the DEPwith no commitment to any ONE job just don’t sign anything unless it says ATC. Which is now 6 years minimum for the AF.

    Unrelated, my recruiter was one of those that would have sex with the female recruits and I learned in 2016 that he had been kicked out. Lol

  12. #12
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Thank you everyone,
    My plan for the next time I talk to my recruiter is to make it clear to him that atc is the only job I want. understanding that the needs of the Air Force is first so I will wait until the Air Force needs a passionate candidate like me. I will request to take the ASVAB and the ATC qualification test to make sure I’m qualified and let him know that I will sign ASAP and is willing to leave the day after graduation if atc is guaranteed. If he says there’s no way to guarantee, I’ll go thru the process but only list ATC on my dream sheet or list ATC on all of the dream sheet slots and work it out with the job counselor. if all else fails, I’ll ask him to point me in the direction of the navy office. I don’t think talking to a different recruiter in the same recruiting squadron is a thing.. but I’m hoping that my recruiter is a decent guy bc he let me take the color test and said I’ll probably pass. Just told me there’s nothing he can do right now and the applicants who are more flexible will be moved before me. If there are other facts I should equip myself with, please let me know.

  13. #13
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    The applicants that are more flexible will be moved in front of you for other jobs not atc.

  14. #14
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    Re: High School Senior Stuck in the Enlistment Process

    Be patient and wait for atc slot to open. I waited 9 months for mine. Don't give in and do some other job just to get in quicker. Atc is worth the wait from the air force

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