FAA or Air Force Reserve a Better Option?


Junior Member
Dec 31, 2015
I very much want to get into ATC. I know there is the obvious one, FAA open bid which will hopefully be in first half of this year??
The other is through the air force reserves. Ive already started talking to them and they say they can get me into a slot in Minneapolis which i would like as its close to home and friends.
As i understand it, the AF reserves gets you all the qualifications and certifications i need to also work in civilian/DOD sector. So if I'm correct and what they are telling me is true... I would go through their training and work at whatever air field or base they have in Minneapolis one weekend a month as its only reserves, then through the USA jobs website i can apply for a full-time/salary position through the DOD? (i always see ATC postings about being only open to member of air force reserver or national guard).
Will there be a certain wait time before i can apply to a salaried position?? Will i have enough hours and experience to apply for these positions being only reserves??
If i can do all of this through the reserves, it seems like a better option?? seems easier to get into as i already have availability from them in MN, also seems like id have more of a choice as to where i apply for a full time position? and the positions are still regular salary like in FAA or civilian side, not active duty pay.
thoughts? thanks.


Jun 24, 2017
I'm looking in to the same thing as you. Since this was back in 2016 I'm guessing you might have figured out what your doing but I also had the same idea. I live in Florida and I was talking to the local air force recruiter and he was telling me that if I was interested in only getting into ATC for the air force through the air force military branch I would have a slim chance at just getting that specific job. He told me to call him back with about 10 to 20 more jobs that sounded interesting in the air force. So overall I was told that it wouldn't be a for sure thing but if anyone else knows other wise then this could really help me out too!


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2014
Anchorage, AK

Recruiters will say that you can't get a specific job all the time. However, you can indeed ensure you get an ATC position in the Air Force, so long as you meet the minimum requirements.

The Air Force Reserve is a reserve force and the positions they have are "permanent" positions. That said, there has to be an available ATC position at the AFR location you are wanting to be at. Active Duty however is different. You can get a guaranteed job when you enlist but you need to make sure prior to signing your enlistment documents that it says the career field. The reason most recruiters say they likelihood of getting an exact job is small is because it requires more work on the part of the recruiters end. It will take longer for you to get into an exact career field because basic training and tech school dates have to line up; whereas if you were to just pick from 20 jobs, it's easier for one of those 20 to line up faster.

Again though, with Reserves, you are applying for a position. So an ATC position needs to be open at the location you are wanting to work at (such as Homestead ARB outside of Miami or Patrick in Melbourne).


Senior Member
Sep 14, 2015
I don't think the AFR does ATC. I think only ANG has ATC units. Could be wrong though.
Correct. The USAFR does not have military ATC (1C1) positions as all of their controllers are civilians (GS-2152). However, for those interested, that is looking to change for FY22. AFRC is trying to POM for 1C1 (and 1C7, 1C8) ART and TR positions. I think I have the number of positions they are trying to get funded somewhere. If I can find them, I will post.