Basic training soon as ATC: advice please?

Connor_Af13

Newcomer
Jan 14, 2013
4
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1
North Carolina, USA
Hello. I'm a 19 year old guy who is soon leaving Air Force Basic Training. I scored well on my ASVAB and eventually accepted the opportunity to become an Air Traffic Controller as my job in the Air Force on a 6-year contract.

I have done a decent amount of research on ATC in general from both a civilian and military perspective, but I still have some questions that I'd very much appreciate those with an ATC/military background to help answer.

As far as basic training goes, I know what to expect. After that I will leave for technical school, which will be in Missouri. For those who went military ATC route, what should I expect from tech school? IE: average day, free time (if any), class schedule/difficulty, and other basics.

After tech school I believe I move on to OJT (on the job training), and after I complete that I will receive the FAA certification (the same one that you get from graduating from an FAA school/civilian route??).

Now, I'm not doing this job for money. The main reason for going through the Air Force is I believe it will do me some good (had a difficult childhood to say the least) as well as an opportunity to serve my country and get a college degree without piling up the student loans. I understand that the Air Force will pay me based on my rank, not the job I am doing. So depending on if I reenlist or not it'll be based on my experience and dedication to the ATC job, correct?

MY MAIN QUESTION: Say I do not reenlist. If I wanted to pursue an ATC job outside of the Air Force using my job experience. I already am familiar that no new ATC jobs are created, and the only openings come from people retiring from the field. How would I go about applying for that job? Do they contact me knowing my Air Force experience?
Also, on the thought of pay, I've read multiple places that the average income is 6-figures, but that income is for 20 year vets in the ATC field. So how much would I make starting out????

Please take the the time to give me your opinions/answers/advice. I greatly appreciate all and any responses.

Reply on the forums or you can email me at CWolkomir@yahoo.com
thank you in advance :)
 

JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
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ZLA CPC
Let me be first to say you don't realize it yet but you have set yourself up for huge success.

Some advise being prior AF ATC with 9 years now a civilian.

Take everything one step at a time. Your path is already laid out. Worry about Basic training. After you pass that, then focus on Tech school which is in Mississipi at Keesler AFB, Biloxi.

Then when you get to your first base the real fun begins. This will be the time to buckle down. Play the game! You will hear this from everyone. Once you get checked out (Rated) this is the time to develop. KEEP learning. Don't be that guy that Checks out and thinks he knows it all. Those turn out the worst controllers.

If you end up going Radar and have the opportunity to go tower DO IT... or vise versa..

If you obtain a CTO this opens alot of avenues in the civilian side if you decide to separate. So keep that in mind.

All in all I did 9 years enjoyed every bit even the bad. My story as I made rank they tried to push me into administrative positions and I found myself only talking to planes a few hours a month.

I now talk to planes every day I work and I love it. Paperwork was never my thing.
 

Connor_Af13

Newcomer
Jan 14, 2013
4
0
1
North Carolina, USA
Let me be first to say you don't realize it yet but you have set yourself up for huge success.

Some advise being prior AF ATC with 9 years now a civilian.

Take everything one step at a time. Your path is already laid out. Worry about Basic training. After you pass that, then focus on Tech school which is in Mississipi at Keesler AFB, Biloxi.

Then when you get to your first base the real fun begins. This will be the time to buckle down. Play the game! You will hear this from everyone. Once you get checked out (Rated) this is the time to develop. KEEP learning. Don't be that guy that Checks out and thinks he knows it all. Those turn out the worst controllers.

If you end up going Radar and have the opportunity to go tower DO IT... or vise versa..

If you obtain a CTO this opens alot of avenues in the civilian side if you decide to separate. So keep that in mind.

All in all I did 9 years enjoyed every bit even the bad. My story as I made rank they tried to push me into administrative positions and I found myself only talking to planes a few hours a month.

I now talk to planes every day I work and I love it. Paperwork was never my thing.
Thank you for the response! I agree with taking it one step at a time, so that my focus is at it's peak.
A couple things. How did you get into ATC once you became a civilian? You mentioned if offered to take radar/tower that I should accept, why? Also what is a CTO?
 

echocharlie

Newcomer
Jan 15, 2013
13
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1
Illinois
I'm wondering the same thing. I've done a lot of the research but the details are hard to pin point on the hiring process.

I too joined the Air force recently and landed the job ATC (My BMT date is May 14th, 2013) You have a massive advantage compared to me though. I'm 24 years old so basically working for the FAA is out of the question (I'll be 30 when I get out, with only 2 months till I'm 31). I've also read here on stuckmic that getting a job with the DoD is practically impossible. Im still going to try it though lol So, it looks like only contracting jobs for me. As far as contracting jobs go I've read mixed things. Some people seem to love their job while others do not.

When are you leaving for BMT?

-- sorry if this post is chopy, I am at work lol
 

JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
1,384
7
38
ZLA CPC
Thank you for the response! I agree with taking it one step at a time, so that my focus is at it's peak.
A couple things. How did you get into ATC once you became a civilian? You mentioned if offered to take radar/tower that I should accept, why? Also what is a CTO?
Let me ask your last question first..

CTO = Certified Tower Operator

You will not get to chose if you go to a Tower facility or a Radar facility after Tech school. You just have to go to whatever they give you. When you get Fully qualified at a TOWER you get a CTO. If you go RADAR then you get a RAPC = Radar Approach Certified.

Now this leads me to my next point.. when you separate from the military if thats what you decided to do there are ZERO RADAR Contract jobs in the USA. So if you ONLY have radar experience your only option to get a civilian job is in the FAA.

If you obtain a CTO while in the military you can go to work for 1 of the 3 major companies and they are RVA (Robinson Aviation), Midwest, Serco.

So in short having a CTO opens up more employment chances. To get on with one of the companies you just go to their website , upload a resume and thats about it.

The point I was trying to make is once you get to your Facility either say it's a Tower and you obtain your CTO, if the opportunity arises to transfer to a Radar Position TAKE IT. Your goal should be to have a CTO and a RAPC.
 

charliemike256

Newcomer
Jan 22, 2013
10
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1
I'm not sure if I can say anything helpful, but I'm also heading to basic VERY soon, then Keesler for ATC. So what's up. Hahah
 

john

Rookie
Feb 1, 2011
25
0
1
As JoshATC has said you have set yourself up very well. I am an Army Controller for the National Guard and have been hired by the FAA as well. (Just waiting to get the Final Offer) I suggest at your age to finish your 4 6 or 8 years and then you can make application to the FAA or the other Contract agencies at that point. As of now the FAA hires twice a year (March and October). As a military controller you apply through a process known as VRA. (not sure what exactly this stands for) The process is all done online through USAjobs. This might all change though as you serve your contract. My suggestion as JoshATC said is never turn down any training or school opportunity the military offers you. The more well rounded you are the better chance of getting promoted and that means more $$$. While you are in you will have plenty of time to look into the FAA process and how all that will play out for you.

Good Luck at Basic!
 

LimaAlpha

Senior Member
May 13, 2010
180
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16
A lot can change in 6 years. The best advice I can give is get through BMT/Tech School, get rated, and never pass up an opportunity to train. Keep a positive attitude and don't piss anyone off until you have a leg to stand on.
 

jeremy1113

Newcomer
Mar 20, 2013
4
0
1
Hi, I am also in the same position, I signed up as a ATC (Air Force) and will be going to basic May 28. My question is if there are any books out there that I can read to give me a jump start on the materials I will need to learn over at tech school.