How FAA ATC Pay Works in General

Genot

Trusted Contributor
Feb 7, 2010
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A Dark Dark Room
Seeing as many questions are referring to how do you know what you make, what do you make, what is D whatever, how many years to band max, what does this acronym mean etc I thought I'd try and explain it all in one handy thread. Just know I don't claim to be an expert in all of this, your specific situation may vary, I'm not about to delve in to save pay, prior experience etc. If this never gets a comment that is fine, but those with knowledge to correct me feel free to help me make this a useful post.

Your pay is comprised of two major components as a controller. BASIC pay and BASE pay. Basic pay (and I can't find a table at the moment) is pay without locality. Base is your pay rate plus locality. Currently locality for the "rest of US" is 14.16%. If you see a pay scale referencing including locality, that is what it is based on. Some areas earn more, none earn less. If you want to know what areas make more locality, you're as capable of googling "us locality" as me. What is locality? Locality is not a cost of living adjustment. Locality in simple terms is this. Generic job X pays Y, our Basic pay for generic job X is this, what percentage do we need to add to make a government job competitive? A real world example is Houston has the highest locality. That isn't because a house in Houston costs more than a house in LA or NYC, but because with the oil industry the salaries are inflated in the jobs the federal government is hiring for. Your base is also what your high three retirement pension is based on.

Next. D1,D2,D3,CPC, what do they mean? They're stages in training. At a big complex facility it takes time to certify. D!/D2/D3 more or less correspond to 25%/50%/75% of the way through training. It is not an exact science, but its an incentive. You're training on many different positions, certify on enough and you get a raise. Lower level facilities may not have all of these because you're more or less training on all positions at the same time or it is certify in tower then radar. A CPC is certified to work any position in their facility and fully checked out. Someone mentioned what do the letters mean with the columns and rows. CDFGH going up and DEFGHIJKL going across. Those are HR pay codes. An HH is a CPC at a level 8. You'll notice going up the is in front and going across its behind. An LH is a 12 CPC. If you see the blue CCF, that is combined control facility. They're special in a sense. Out there in the islands are ARTCC/TRACON/Tower facilities. There are a couple and they warrant slightly amended pay.

What do all these differentials and acronyms mean? Holiday pay. You will either be scheduled holidays or work a "day in lieu". For example, Thanksgiving is always Thursday. If you're off Thursday on your days off, well, you don't work. You will be given a holiday in lieu of which will be determined by the contract. As of now, if the holiday falls on your last day off, it will be your last day worked prior to the holiday, if it falls on your first day off, it will be your first day back working after the holiday. Holidays and holidays in lieu of worked are paid at double time, or on a seniority basis you can take a free day off at your normal pay rate. Overtime is paid at an extra 50%.

CIP or controller incentive pay is location based. It can be as much as 10%, but most facilities don't receive it. Sunday pay is an extra 25% for your time worked during Sunday. CIC or controller in charge pay is 10% paid while acting as a watch supe. Night differential is paid at 10% for working the hours between 6pm and 6am. OJTI or on the job training instructor is paid at 10% for that time actually plugged in with a trainee. I've never had hazard pay, but that is a thing as well.

An OK rule of thumb to what will I make in the FAA as a controller when certified is this (provided you work Sundays and holidays and 8 hour days). Take your base and write it down separately. Figure up 5% extra for Sunday pay (25% at 5 days a week divided is 5%) wright that down in the margin. Divide CPC pay by 26 to get a per paycheck gross. Add a paycheck and a half (13 federal holidays at double time are an extra 13 days pay) plus others 10% diffs making up another two days pay. Write that paycheck and a half in the margin and add the three numbers together.
 

TFar

Newcomer
May 14, 2012
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So I was looking at the 2014 pay scale and I put in my facility(which in the facility list says level 5) but using the pay calculator says its a 7, how do I find out for sure which level it is? Then how do I determine what my D1 pay will be? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

RobertB

Senior Analyst
Aug 18, 2008
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So I was looking at the 2014 pay scale and I put in my facility(which in the facility list says level 5) but using the pay calculator says its a 7, how do I find out for sure which level it is? Then how do I determine what my D1 pay will be? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
It looks like FWA was dropped to a level 5 in 2011/2012. You may not have a D1. Your first pay raise may come when you reach D2 (50% done).
 

TFar

Newcomer
May 14, 2012
9
0
1
PA
So any clue where I would start out at pay wise? I'm a military controller picked up on the VRA bid.