Enlisting Tomorrow for 15Q (Air Traffic Control Operator) with the ARMY Reserve.

JMThompson

Newcomer
Sep 15, 2015
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Tooele, UT
Hey! So I need some help.. I have so many questions and hardly anyone has been able to give me answers.. SO ALL OF YOUR HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED!!!

Tomorrow I am enlisting in the ARMY Reserve for Air Traffic Control Operator - 15Q. I really, really wanted to go active duty but the job was not available at the time. I leave for BMT at Ft. Jackson, SC on January 4, 2016. I start AIT at Ft. Rucker, AL on March 18, 2016. My unit is located at Ft. Rucker as well.

So here's my biggest concern:
I want to make a career out of Air Traffic Control. But all of the training and ATC background I will have will be from what I learned in AIT. I'm very lost when it comes to figuring out what I'm going to do when I graduate AIT... Pathetic, I know. :(
I know obtaining my CTO is what I will need to pursue this career; Will I get that certification while I'm in AIT? Does Ft. Rucker even offer it? HOW DO I GET MY CTO???? Is there additional training I will need after I get out of AIT? If so, what is the training and experience I need get after I get out of AIT? After I get out of AIT, do I need to go to a technical college and receive additional training?

Does EVERYONE have to go through the FAA Academy/FAA Training to get their CTO? I'm neutral when it comes to working for the FAA in one of their towers, that'd be rad. But I'm also very interested in just working for a private contractor. How do I pursue working for a private contractor?

My recruiter has been extremely helpful, but there's just some things he can't answer. We've researched stuff up but both of us are kind of clueless on some things. I know I want to be an Air Traffic Controller. I just need your help pointing me in the right educational direction after I get out of BMT and AIT. Are there places that accept entry-level Air Traffic Controllers (like people that will have the training and experience I will have when I get out of BMT and AIT)?

Also, what about the workforce after I get out of BMT and AIT? Is it going to be tough for me? Where do I need to go and who do I need to talk to when it comes to finding the job possibilities? What qualifications, experience, and certifications do I need to obtain before I even look at the jobs? Will my AIT training be enough to find a job?


If you're reading this and went through a similar situation, could you please let me know how you pursued this?


Thank you darlings,
Maria Thompson


Ps. Sorry about the question overload.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
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Long Island
First of all congrats on enlisting. Secondly, prior experience isn't needed to get hired by the FAA, you can still apply to the GenPub bids regardless. To qualify for the experienced bids you will need a rating from a facility (AIT doesn't count) and build up at least 52 weeks experience. This can be hard to do in the Army even as active duty, I can't see it being easier in the Reserve. Army ATC is generally tactical and the ratings are not recognized by the FAA unlike the majority of Navy/Marine and all Air Force ATC facilities. If hired under prior experience and things remain as they are currently than no you will not go to the Academy. If you are hired on a GenPub bid then you will have to attend the Academy. The private contractors want experienced personnel, not a newbie fresh from tech school who hasn't worked real traffic. There's too many people with years of experience for them to bother with someone who hasn't proven themselves yet.
 

SSgt Young

StuckMic Marine Corps Liaison
Jan 21, 2010
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Arizona
My advice to you would be to do what you can at rucker to get some ratings. A CTO would be awesome, but arrival or approach ratings are just as good. Being a reservist, and an army one to boot will make this a difficult undertaking. Your best bet would be to get out of the reserve contract and join a different branch for atc if that is the job you want to make a career out of.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
4,388
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Best opportunity for ATC while not going active duty is the Air National Guard, although I've heard rumors even they are only taking prior-enlisted ATCers at this point.
 

mcook36

Junior Member
Jan 26, 2014
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NE that's not necisarrily true. I just met a guard air traffic controller from Meridian that enlisted just over a year ago.

I agree with NE and SSgt Young, Army ATC isn't the same as the FAA. I once worked with 4 reserve air traffic controllers from the Army and they were asking me very basic questions that I couldn't believe they didn't know. If you are really serious about being a controller get out of your contract and try and join the Air National Guard. Once you get to your base and start a training plan, you will be put on active duty for x amount of time which should be enough for you to get rated. If you decide to join the ANG just remember that ATC has a very high washout rate, so make sure you have a backup plan.
 

mcook36

Junior Member
Jan 26, 2014
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According to https://www.goang.com/Careers/Air-Traffic-Control/1C1X1 these ANG locations have openings for ATC.


Alexandria, LA would be the closest to you. It's only about 4-5 hrs away...
 

ElJay

Newcomer
Feb 6, 2017
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I leave for basic training this week and will be reporting to Rucker for AIT the last week of April. Any advice on what to push for to make myself competitive for an FAA announcement? I'm a part timer in the national guard.
 

nhstadt

Epic Member
Mar 24, 2011
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south "Murica
I leave for basic training this week and will be reporting to Rucker for AIT the last week of April. Any advice on what to push for to make myself competitive for an FAA announcement? I'm a part timer in the national guard.
Ypu kind of missed the golden age for getting a rating as an army guard or reserve controller (OIF, OEF deployments).


I mean I guess you can hope for Iran 2017/18 if you are into that
 

ElJay

Newcomer
Feb 6, 2017
2
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Ypu kind of missed the golden age for getting a rating as an army guard or reserve controller (OIF, OEF deployments).


I mean I guess you can hope for Iran 2017/18 if you are into that
Haha, I'll actually be continuing on to WOCS and flight school. I'm thinking about doing full time ATC when I'm finished and just get the flying out of my system during my guard drills.
 

SOBS

Rookie
Sep 22, 2008
25
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“Patience you must have.” Yoda

“An Air Traffic Controller must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm?” Yoda

Have fun in Basic and AIT. If your going to be a Pilot enjoy being an E-WOC. If your going to be ATC get your CTO is a must. With the new AR95-2 you shouldn't have to much problem getting into a fixed base.

May the Force be with you.