How Easy is It to Get Picked Up by Contract Towers?

ColdAilment

Senior Member
May 26, 2012
275
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Spent a little while searching for it, and I came up with nothing. Looking for the link to where all the contract tower companies are and their websites to apply at them.

Also, just how easy is it to get picked up? I'm still active duty in the Navy, how far out I should start applying for these positions? Currently 8 months from my EAOS, should I apply now? A few months from now? A few months before I get out?

Thanks in advance.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
4,388
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Long Island
i've heard you shouldn't apply til your able to relocate within the month, so you're probably a little early. As for websites, google Midwest, SERCO, and RVA. I think there might be one or 2 more but I can't think of any others.
 

Ram_Tough

Trusted Contributor
Jul 5, 2010
638
9
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What NE said. Be willing to relocate to where no one else wants to go and you can get picked up fairly quickly, just remember, theres some pretty desolate/shitty parts of this country that have FCT's. I did 2 years with Midwest, good, easy-going company to work for, pay is good, benefits are are par with the rest of the private sector. Just do your job and go home, pretty much. Quite the change of pace after 5 years of Active USMC, you'll fell similar after your time in the Navy too.

The 3 FCT providers are:

Midwest Midwest Air Traffic Control
Robinson Aviation (RVA) RVA Robinson Aviation - Home
SERCO Services Serco. Bringing service to life

Theres some other companies who have various Army and Guard contracts for towers on small military bases, they usually post their openings more mainstream sights like monster, career builder.com, etc.

Since youre 8 months out you'd be stupid not to apply to the FAA opening next week, perfect time fram to make a smooth transition it seems.
 

ATCMarine84

Trusted Member
Aug 23, 2009
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Home of the Packers!!
Cold ailment, 3 months out pick up the phone for contract towers. Apply for the FAA bid now and still pick up te phone and talk to the contract tower guys and network. I applied for the FAA when I still had 13 months in the corps left. Had my TOL with 9 months left and still wasn't in OKC til 7 months after I got out. I talked to Midwest and they said to start talking to them when I got to 3 months left from my EAS. I got offered STC the week before I got out and worked there til my class date. That's from experience so I'd follow that timeline. Just don't tell the contract guys you are selected if that is the case at the time.
 

navyatc13

Rookie
Apr 22, 2012
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Is MidWest more open to hire than RVA? I have applied to everything for RVA no hits yet. I've been calling also. I started last year in Feb.
 

ColdAilment

Senior Member
May 26, 2012
275
2
18
What NE said. Be willing to relocate to where no one else wants to go and you can get picked up fairly quickly, just remember, theres some pretty desolate/shitty parts of this country that have FCT's. I did 2 years with Midwest, good, easy-going company to work for, pay is good, benefits are are par with the rest of the private sector. Just do your job and go home, pretty much. Quite the change of pace after 5 years of Active USMC, you'll fell similar after your time in the Navy too.

The 3 FCT providers are:

Midwest Midwest Air Traffic Control
Robinson Aviation (RVA) RVA Robinson Aviation - Home
SERCO Services Serco. Bringing service to life

Theres some other companies who have various Army and Guard contracts for towers on small military bases, they usually post their openings more mainstream sights like monster, career builder.com, etc.

Since youre 8 months out you'd be stupid not to apply to the FAA opening next week, perfect time fram to make a smooth transition it seems.
Great! Thank you for the help. I most definitely am applying for the FAA bid on the 10th. Have my resume saved and ready to go o USAjobs.gov. Just a few additional questions if I may ask...

Do contract towers absolutely require 2 years minimum experience with a CTO? I'll have 5 years ATC experience, but 16 months experience with a CTO under my belt by my EAOS. Just wondering about that.

Secondly, I have heard through the grapevine that in most contract towers you are given roughly 1 month to qualify on every position, how true is that?

Thirdly, do contract towers require you to have a DD-214 or Statement of Service Letter? Obviously since I am still in I won't have a DD-214, but I don't have the Statement of Service Letter either. Is it easy to get that Statement of Service Letter? I've only asked 2 people at work so far, but they don't really have any idea. One said go to Legal, the other said you have to route a chit and request it from the Commanding Officer. I wouldn't think it'd be that big of a deal....

LASTLY, for this FAA bid opening up next Monday. To apply, is it just one big opening on USAjobs.gov? Or do you apply at certain FAA airport listings they have on the website? Would I be better off or would it be easier to just apply at the FAA website?
 

ATCMarine84

Trusted Member
Aug 23, 2009
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Home of the Packers!!
Is MidWest more open to hire than RVA? I have applied to everything for RVA no hits yet. I've been calling also. I started last year in Feb.
Hey Navy,

When i was getting out I applied for a lot of RVA and Serco and didn't get a hit. I called Serco one time and they told me they wanted me to have worked for civilian traffic like cessna's blah blah blah and basically told me no because of it. Midwest was much more willing to talk to me and get me in the door. After I had talked to Serco my buddy got out of the Marines and Serco hired him for some place in Nor Cal so who knows. In my experience Midwest was a lot better and a lot more willing to talk to you about getting hired.
 

ColdAilment

Senior Member
May 26, 2012
275
2
18
Hey Navy,

When i was getting out I applied for a lot of RVA and Serco and didn't get a hit. I called Serco one time and they told me they wanted me to have worked for civilian traffic like cessna's blah blah blah and basically told me no because of it. Midwest was much more willing to talk to me and get me in the door. After I had talked to Serco my buddy got out of the Marines and Serco hired him for some place in Nor Cal so who knows. In my experience Midwest was a lot better and a lot more willing to talk to you about getting hired.
Lol, because working Cessna's is more difficult than working jets. What a load of crap.

Do you know what regions Midwest ATC operates in? If it's the midwest or the southeast then I'm game! Basically my home. I'm glad to hear that they are a lot easier to work with.
 

navyatc13

Rookie
Apr 22, 2012
34
0
6
Hey Navy,

When i was getting out I applied for a lot of RVA and Serco and didn't get a hit. I called Serco one time and they told me they wanted me to have worked for civilian traffic like cessna's blah blah blah and basically told me no because of it. Midwest was much more willing to talk to me and get me in the door. After I had talked to Serco my buddy got out of the Marines and Serco hired him for some place in Nor Cal so who knows. In my experience Midwest was a lot better and a lot more willing to talk to you about getting hired.
Same with me. I actually visited the tower for a serco and RVA job. Sounds like hit and miss. Thanks for the midwest info i'll give them a call.
 

davidcase

Newcomer
Jun 13, 2013
19
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1
36
Diego Garcia, BIOT
www
Cold, we're in similar situations at the moment. I was able to call my PSD and have them draft up a statement of service. It's currently attached to my USAjobs account as a place holder for my dd214. It's a pretty simple document that just has your name, date you joined, projected EAOS and projecting honorable discharge. USAjobs says something about 120 days out but I know all these new guys that are just now getting picked up on that last VRA wernt 120 days out when they applied.
A PS2 signed mine but your command might do it a little different.
 

cgabriel7110

Junior Member
Jan 17, 2014
105
0
16
Earth
Hey Navy,

When i was getting out I applied for a lot of RVA and Serco and didn't get a hit. I called Serco one time and they told me they wanted me to have worked for civilian traffic like cessna's blah blah blah and basically told me no because of it. Midwest was much more willing to talk to me and get me in the door. After I had talked to Serco my buddy got out of the Marines and Serco hired him for some place in Nor Cal so who knows. In my experience Midwest was a lot better and a lot more willing to talk to you about getting hired.
Do I know you? I work up at KMER in NorCal. Worked KNFG for 4 years. And to answer OPs post. Wait till your about a month out. Or until your on terminal. I applied when I was on terminal and started work about 3 weeks later. They wont take you until you have a dd214. Keep that in mind. I had to scan and email a copy of mine in.
 

RVG86

Junior Member
Mar 19, 2012
132
3
18
Having worked F 15's.... then a well respected GA airport... I'd say it just depends. working a heavy pattern of Cessna's on a multiple runway configuration while weaving them in and out of jet traffic can be more complex.
Truth. It gets pretty silly when you have A-10s doing the overhead, followed by a Cessna, followed by a king air, followed by another A-10 who wants to do a low approach, followed by a gulstream. I can say without a doubt my contract tower traffic here is more complex than the last DoD facility I was at.
 

kriscodyjames

Newcomer
Aug 15, 2013
1
0
1
New Mexico
I'm at a RVA facility and have worked a few other contracts as well. The issue with getting picked up is not that you're qualifications aren't par with what they're looking for its that there are no slots available. Within RVA at this moment there may be less than 5 slots across the company. But that does not mean not to apply. RVA keeps applications for up to 2 years and does use those for interviews. Best advice is to reapply to RVA every 4 months if the application has a more resent date on it they'll take it a little more seriously. And the Cessna thing that's just whom ever that facility's manager is being picky. Everyone at my facility and nearly everyone within RVA is prior military, you'll learn the differences in GA and military aircraft quickly enough, and a side note Cessna makes Jets as well.
 

ColdAilment

Senior Member
May 26, 2012
275
2
18
Cold, we're in similar situations at the moment. I was able to call my PSD and have them draft up a statement of service. It's currently attached to my USAjobs account as a place holder for my dd214. It's a pretty simple document that just has your name, date you joined, projected EAOS and projecting honorable discharge. USAjobs says something about 120 days out but I know all these new guys that are just now getting picked up on that last VRA wernt 120 days out when they applied.
A PS2 signed mine but your command might do it a little different.
I just talked with Admin at my base today. They were able to write up a Statement of Service Letter today no problem. I've got it now with the Admin Officer's Signature and mine.

I have my USAjobs.gov account and a resume uploaded, where exactly did you upload a copy of your Statement of Service letter to? I'm still kind of new with this account and don't fully understand all of its ins and outs. I also have scanned copies of my CTO and Pink Card, should those also be uploaded? Or only upload those for the application itself?
 

cgabriel7110

Junior Member
Jan 17, 2014
105
0
16
Earth
For SERCO, As long as you have a CTO, and heartbeat, and are able to start work within about a month of the announcement coming out, you'll have a job if they select you based upon your resume. When a posting comes out, its usually out for about 7-10 days. HR collects the resumes and apps, sends them to the tower for the ATM to review. He/She selects their top 3 and send them back to HR and they usually make the final decision on who to hire. My advice if your still on active duty and you want to job: save your leave and take terminal. Be willing to go anywhere. Diligently check those websites and if you see somewhere that sparks your intreset give the ATM a call and let him know who you are and express your interest. Apply for the job and cross those fingers. I applied when I was on 59 days of terminal leave to about 10 places. A week later I had 4 interviews and 2 job offers. I picked the one I wanted and started about 3 weeks later. The entire process took less than 30 days. Typically they want you ASAP and will not hold the position longer than 2 weeks for you because they can simply take someone who is ready to work immediately. Hope that clears it up a little bit for you.
 

DontCallMeShirley

Senior Analyst
Mar 31, 2012
838
22
18
Pushing Tin SUCKS
For SERCO, As long as you have a CTO, and heartbeat, and are able to start work within about a month of the announcement coming out, you'll have a job if they select you based upon your resume. When a posting comes out, its usually out for about 7-10 days. HR collects the resumes and apps, sends them to the tower for the ATM to review. He/She selects their top 3 and send them back to HR and they usually make the final decision on who to hire. My advice if your still on active duty and you want to job: save your leave and take terminal. Be willing to go anywhere. Diligently check those websites and if you see somewhere that sparks your intreset give the ATM a call and let him know who you are and express your interest. Apply for the job and cross those fingers. I applied when I was on 59 days of terminal leave to about 10 places. A week later I had 4 interviews and 2 job offers. I picked the one I wanted and started about 3 weeks later. The entire process took less than 30 days. Typically they want you ASAP and will not hold the position longer than 2 weeks for you because they can simply take someone who is ready to work immediately. Hope that clears it up a little bit for you.
I live for these success stories! A buddy and I were talking about contract work today, and it's nice to have a glimmer of hope. We just want to keep working traffic, doesn't matter for who.

For anyone who doesn't know, this is the FAR that Serco cites when putting out openings:

"Each applicant for a facility rating at any air traffic control tower must have satisfactorily served—
(a) As an air traffic control tower operator at that control tower without a facility rating for at least 6 months; or


(b) As an air traffic control tower operator with a facility rating at a different control tower for at least 6 months before the date he applies for the rating.

However, an applicant who is a member of an Armed Force of the United States meets the requirements of this section if he has satisfactorily served as an air traffic control tower operator for at least 6 months.



[Doc. No. 1179, 27 FR 7973, Aug. 10, 1962, as amended by Amdt. 65–19, 36 FR 21280, Nov. 5, 1971]"


^ Pretty common sense.
 
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navyatc13

Rookie
Apr 22, 2012
34
0
6
I'm at a RVA facility and have worked a few other contracts as well. The issue with getting picked up is not that you're qualifications aren't par with what they're looking for its that there are no slots available. Within RVA at this moment there may be less than 5 slots across the company. But that does not mean not to apply. RVA keeps applications for up to 2 years and does use those for interviews. Best advice is to reapply to RVA every 4 months if the application has a more resent date on it they'll take it a little more seriously. And the Cessna thing that's just whom ever that facility's manager is being picky. Everyone at my facility and nearly everyone within RVA is prior military, you'll learn the differences in GA and military aircraft quickly enough, and a side note Cessna makes Jets as well.
Thanks for info. I have been applying since term leave a year ago and no hits. Ive even visited a few towers, not sure if it is because im on one coast trying to get to the other.
 

ColdAilment

Senior Member
May 26, 2012
275
2
18
For SERCO, As long as you have a CTO, and heartbeat, and are able to start work within about a month of the announcement coming out, you'll have a job if they select you based upon your resume. When a posting comes out, its usually out for about 7-10 days. HR collects the resumes and apps, sends them to the tower for the ATM to review. He/She selects their top 3 and send them back to HR and they usually make the final decision on who to hire. My advice if your still on active duty and you want to job: save your leave and take terminal. Be willing to go anywhere. Diligently check those websites and if you see somewhere that sparks your intreset give the ATM a call and let him know who you are and express your interest. Apply for the job and cross those fingers. I applied when I was on 59 days of terminal leave to about 10 places. A week later I had 4 interviews and 2 job offers. I picked the one I wanted and started about 3 weeks later. The entire process took less than 30 days. Typically they want you ASAP and will not hold the position longer than 2 weeks for you because they can simply take someone who is ready to work immediately. Hope that clears it up a little bit for you.
That is awesome! Stories like this make me feel like I'll end up okay even if I do miss out on this upcoming FAA bid. Just had a few questions, as I am closing in on my EAOS.

- If I'm not accepted or hired by any of these agencies, I'm not sure how far out I need to start planning my move. I hear the military will pay to move you back to your home of record. Well, I'll have about 40 or so days of Terminal Leave to take. Just wondering how I'll be able to juggle whether or not they need to move me back to my home of record or how I hold off and tell them I'm planning on getting a job somewhere else soon. How did you juggle it?

- Is it true that in most contract towers you only have 30 days to qualify on all the positions?

- I'm sure this has been covered in other threads, but due to the sake of convenience since this is my thread and we're in the midst of this conversation, what is the pay like? If you aren't able to discuss exact figures, give me a ballpark estimate?

- Also, what area of the country does SERCO operate in? Seems like most people are suggesting that midwest ATC is easier to get into, but I'll take whatever. I'm not picky. I'd prefer to not end up in the middle of nowhere, but I figure that there can't be much worse than Mississippi.
 

DontCallMeShirley

Senior Analyst
Mar 31, 2012
838
22
18
Pushing Tin SUCKS
Also, what area of the country does SERCO operate in? Seems like most people are suggesting that midwest ATC is easier to get into, but I'll take whatever. I'm not picky. I'd prefer to not end up in the middle of nowhere, but I figure that there can't be much worse than Mississippi.
I know Serco has positions open all the way from Missouri, to Washington, and across the ocean in Saipan right now. Decent variety.
 

cgabriel7110

Junior Member
Jan 17, 2014
105
0
16
Earth
That is awesome! Stories like this make me feel like I'll end up okay even if I do miss out on this upcoming FAA bid. Just had a few questions, as I am closing in on my EAOS.

- If I'm not accepted or hired by any of these agencies, I'm not sure how far out I need to start planning my move. I hear the military will pay to move you back to your home of record. Well, I'll have about 40 or so days of Terminal Leave to take. Just wondering how I'll be able to juggle whether or not they need to move me back to my home of record or how I hold off and tell them I'm planning on getting a job somewhere else soon. How did you juggle it?

- Is it true that in most contract towers you only have 30 days to qualify on all the positions?

- I'm sure this has been covered in other threads, but due to the sake of convenience since this is my thread and we're in the midst of this conversation, what is the pay like? If you aren't able to discuss exact figures, give me a ballpark estimate?

- Also, what area of the country does SERCO operate in? Seems like most people are suggesting that midwest ATC is easier to get into, but I'll take whatever. I'm not picky. I'd prefer to not end up in the middle of nowhere, but I figure that there can't be much worse than Mississippi.
If you have 40 days of terminal leave, I would suggest about a month out from the day you start terminal you start shopping around with Serco, Midwest and RVA. I remember the announcement I applied to and was offered the job came out at the end of my terminal and I was starting to get nervous. I ended up finishing terminal leave on June 15th and starting work with SERCO on the 17th...

As far as your moving situation goes, the military should pay for you to move to your home of record or less.... IE if you are stationed in San Diego and your home of recod is Denver CO, they will pay UP TO or less the distance of Denver CO. So, lets say you got a job in Salt Lake City which is about half way, your fine... they will cover it. Moving always sucks, just be sure to get all your ducks in a row and do your research before you get out... MAKE A PLAN lol.

-Yes you have about 30-40 days to be fully rated. You already know how to talk to airplanes so it shouldnt be that difficult. Dont sweat it.

-Im not sure what Midwest and RVA hourly wage is, but I will say they are all fairly comparable. You should expect about $30/hour at just about any contract tower.

-Like the other guy said, SERCO is pretty much anything west of the Mississippi River. Midwest is pretty much the "midwest" and the east coast ( I think), and RVA is in the southern states and Texas.

Good luck !