Huge Descision


Feb 21, 2009
I need some helpful input. I got out of the military about 1 year ago and an air traffic controller. I applied to the FAA and have turned down two offers due to the fact I could not relocate to these facilities. I have been selected for a facility within commuting distance. The ATM at this facility has "bent over backwards" to get me in there. From emails and calls and that to "important" people for me. Something I never received while in the military. And those of us that were/are in would understand that. I should be leaving to go to the academy in about a month. At the same time, the military facility that I used to work at has posted a couple of openenings and I have been told that I will be selected for one. The starting pay for the DOD job is obviously way higher. Here are some of the pros and cons that I have come up with. DOD = more money, less drive, no FAA academy, no training since i used to work there, my friends are there, sprout time. Here are some of the CONS for the DOD = TEMPORARY POSITION (supposed to be converted to permanent in time), I hated the it when I was there (could be that I hated the military so much, and it may be different this time around), they could have hired me once before but passed me up for whatever reason, dead end job (always just a line controller, no room for movement), training F#$#@!@ 3 levels. The pros and cons for the FAA job are common. Little money at first but will improve, training again (but could be interesting). I am really on the fence and know that the DOD would be a much easier and better paying job, but I just feel like working for someone that wants me to work for them. The DOD doensn't care. I am about to just flip a coin. Any input would help. Thanks for taking the time to read this long ass thread....


Jun 23, 2008
GFK...New England soon
The temporary position in the DoD is listed as temp, because you have to get rated and serve a probationary period. Sounds like you should have no problem getting your ratings again, and the probationary period is the same as the FAA...1 year. After that you would be a "permanent" hire. The DoD has a higher starting pay, but if/when the pay in the FAA gets fixed you might make more with them, depending on facility level vrs. your GS level. Not to mention possible mangement down the road if thats your thing. Did you hate working the traffic while in the military, or just the people in charge? You do get treated better as a GS then a military guy, and if you dont like your CCTLR or AOF, they will be PC'sing eventualy. Im sure you have heard FAA manegment stories, so I will leave it at that. 3 levels come with the job dude, sucks but thats why the DoD pays so well. As for "working for someone that wants you to work for them"...If you feel that way with the military I dont know if the FAA will make you feel any better.
In my case the location played the biggest role. Im a DoD civ. that lives 2,000 miles away from mine and my wifes family. It sucks when your 1 year old has never seen grandma. I love working for the DoD and if my family was closer I would stay here forever, but some things are more important than money / bosses / dress code. (some DoD facilities have no dress code...I wear jeans everyday.)


Senior Member
Feb 17, 2009
Don't feel bad for turning down an offer, despite the facility manager's claims to how hard he worked (chances are this guy wrote an email to somebody in the region or Oklahoma City saying you'd be a good fit for that particular facility and they said they'd put you there. Total input: 15 minutes). This is the same FAA management who will restrict your leave while you're a developmental, threaten your job at every opportunity while you're on probation, and remind you every day about how lucky you are to have a government job.

I don't have any experience with the DoD, but the FAA will NOT treat you in a respectful way. If you feel that way about the DoD, the FAA will not be any better. But, you could always try the FAA for a while, especially if you can go get a DoD job if the FAA doesn't work out.


Trusted Contributor
Aug 27, 2008
I wouldn't count the training portion in your thought process. Training is only a very small portion of your career. I wouldn't have accepted a center if I was worried about the length of training. I've got 3 years of training, but then I will be CPC for 27 years. I'm more worried about how the 27 years are gonna be, not the 3.

As far as DOD or FAA...being a DOD civilian is a whole other world compared to being in the military controller. My guard base has a lot of DOD civilians, and they love it.

It's a tough choice dude....good luck


Trusted Member
Jun 16, 2008
I would just go try something different....thats what changed my mind about choosing a center or a tower in the beginning , then later in the process I had a to choose between Indy center and ftworth center so I know kinda how you what you feel is will be the right choice. good luck man...thanks for serving none the less.


Senior Member
Jul 25, 2008
ColtsATC, got to meet your SW area manager at PV, Gary something. Seems like a nice guy. Big on phraseology. The three of us will be at ZID the week after next to start learning maps. I hear, from the manager training is frozen to t Eram. How many people in training do they have at ZID? Just your best guess.