New to stuckmic and looking for advice

trj1393

Newcomer
Dec 27, 2012
7
0
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Hello!
I have found myself reading tons of late night posts here over the past couple weeks. I have been considering becoming an ATC and had a ton of questions, but first a little more about me; I am currently enrolled in a local community college where I'm taking classes (slowly but surely) to get an associates degree in IT. I'm finding it hard to stick to a traditional style school while working 40 hour weeks at my current job. I have always been interested in becoming an ATC and until a talk with my dad, I thought it just to be a dream. He suggested I apply to an ATC-CTI program and just see what happens. With my 20th cake day in two weeks I figured now is probably the right time to make that move. Should I finish my associates in IT before applying to an ATC-CTI program? Are there any online schools (vaughn...?)
Really any advice/info on someone who knows little to nothing about where to even begin would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Tyler
 

smitty16s

Trusted Member
Jan 23, 2009
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IMHO the best way, if you have any inclination to serve your country at all, is go ATC in the Air Force. Get paid to train and do your best to be a tower controller so you have more options when you get out.
 

trj1393

Newcomer
Dec 27, 2012
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I thought about doing exactly that but my father who was a proud marine told me he wouldn't recommend military as it is not at all like what it was when he was active.A buddy of mine just got out of the military and he told me he had a less than pleasurable experince. I have heard that the military doesn't always provide you with all the requirements needed to be picked up by the FAA. Finally I can't imagine signing up for 6 years to find out maybe ATC isn't my gig and I should stick with IT...although I like the idea of serving/getting payed/receiving experience.
 

h4xit

Trusted Contributor
Dec 9, 2010
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If you want to do it, get into cti now and finish quickly. You won't find the schooling to be any less "traditional" or whatever. I am almost through my program while working 40+ a week and it certainly took organization and sanity as well. The military thing seems to be an option and many people endorse it. Either way, most controllers I have spoken with have all reminded me that the job is worth the effort.
 

trj1393

Newcomer
Dec 27, 2012
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1
If you want to do it, get into cti now and finish quickly. You won't find the schooling to be any less "traditional" or whatever. I am almost through my program while working 40+ a week and it certainly took organization and sanity as well. The military thing seems to be an option and many people endorse it. Either way, most controllers I have spoken with have all reminded me that the job is worth the effort.
Are there any online CTI programs? How long is the program and does it require a degree?
 

Jbhogen00

Rookie
Jul 18, 2011
71
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6
Oklahoma City
Nothing is guaranteed for CTI's. if anything military have more of a hint at a guarantee than CTI's with the FAA. If I had to do it all over again, I would go to a 2-year community college that offers CTI with a Adecel simulator and double major in something that went towards a well paying desk job like IT. Also, not trying to be an a-hole, but just because you want to do it doesn't necessarily mean you can do it or you'll pass through all the flaming hoops that FAA will put in front of you. There are military controllers with a lot of experience that get to the Academy and wash out before they even make it to their post. So if I were you, stick with IT, do CTI as a side gig (since you're not interested in the military option). While you're in your IT job if you're still interested in ATC and think* you could do the job from your school sim scenarios, apply to the FAA while your in a well-paying IT job. It makes the average wait time of 18 months after being selected a lot easier.

However, if you decide to only do IT, kiss ATC goodbye because there's a substantial amount of CTI's waiting to be selected. If you decide only to do CTI, take away any guarantee that you will have of getting a well-paying job within a year or two after graduating. Again, I'm not trying to be a big downer, I'm just giving the current reality of applying to the FAA.
 

trj1393

Newcomer
Dec 27, 2012
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Nothing is guaranteed for CTI's. if anything military have more of a hint at a guarantee than CTI's with the FAA. If I had to do it all over again, I would go to a 2-year community college that offers CTI with a Adecel simulator and double major in something that went towards a well paying desk job like IT. Also, not trying to be an a-hole, but just because you want to do it doesn't necessarily mean you can do it or you'll pass through all the flaming hoops that FAA will put in front of you. There are military controllers with a lot of experience that get to the Academy and wash out before they even make it to their post. So if I were you, stick with IT, do CTI as a side gig (since you're not interested in the military option) and while you're in your IT job if you're still interested in ATC and think* you could do the job from your school sim scenarios, apply to the FAA while your in a well-paying IT job.
I understand nothing is a guarantee and there are lots of hoops to jump through which is why I figured if it was something I at least wanted to attempt the sooner I take action the better. That's why I started this thread, I'm simply looking for advice on how to possibly begin. My thoughts were to start asap and while waiting after completing a CTI program finish my IT degree.

thanks
Tyler
 

Jbhogen00

Rookie
Jul 18, 2011
71
0
6
Oklahoma City
I understand nothing is a guarantee and there are lots of hoops to jump through which is why I figured if it was something I at least wanted to attempt the sooner I take action the better. That's why I started this thread, I'm simply looking for advice on how to possibly begin. My thoughts were to start asap and while waiting after completing a CTI program finish my IT degree.

thanks
Tyler
That's another way to do it, which ever way you want. It's good that you are only 19 now. Hopefully things will work out for you in the future concerning the FAA and good luck! Just remember, the FAA seems to wait until you have lost all hope and right before you've hit rock bottom they like to hit you with good news. That's my own personal experience though and I was lucky enough to be selected on my first panel. So I can't say I've had it bad like some people waiting 2-5 years from applying to actually becoming an employee.
 

h4xit

Trusted Contributor
Dec 9, 2010
688
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This is true. No there are no online cti programs. Most of them would kick you out with a AA, some have bachelors. You could continue your IT stuff if you wanted to while doing CTI. And yeah, ATC is about your aptitude to do it.
 

lowapproach

Epic Member
Oct 29, 2010
1,316
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WV
Get your CTI degree. Any CTI degree will do, so I recommend a 2-year program over a 4-year program. What you need from CTI is an AT-SAT score and a CTI number that you will put on your application. What you're taught is irrelevant. Cheaper and faster is best.

I would suggest looking into a National Guard or Reserves position of some sort, that will guarantee you air traffic control training. The nice thing about the National Guard or Reserves is that you can put in for VRA while still serving out your commitment, provided that you haven't been called to active duty. The active duty option isn't bad, it just means that you will be unable to apply to any announcements until you are in your last year of your service commitment (and stop-loss is always a possibility too).
 

maxshuty

Senior Member
Jan 20, 2009
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I would not recommend an online CTI program, they have been talking for a long time of ranking schools and if an online degree would be near the bottom. I would have found it impossible to go to my school and also work 40 hours.
Finish your IT degree so you can hopefully find some other job to work while your waiting to start as an air traffic controller for 3 years or more unless you're lucky. (I'm nearing my second year now, and if I got hired now I probably wouldn't start for another year.) like said if you really wanna do it I would go the Air Force route if I could do it again but you don't seem to want to do that. Good luck
 

flybyfive

Senior Member
Jul 23, 2011
246
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Vaughn university has an online learning degree, but you need an associates in business in order to do it. They also require you to be on campus for 120 or so hours of sims, and another 40 for the capstone course.

Careful about the Guard or reserves. Air Guard (if you can find an opening) is the way to go. They train their airmen either tower or radar. Army Guard, is hit and miss. They do a lot of tactical atc, which means jack to the FAA
 
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NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
4,388
68
48
Long Island
I'm in the AF and must say it was the best thing I've done. Yeah, you have to deal with all the petty military bs, but I got good training (while being paid rather than paying) and have been working planes for almost 5 years now. Keep in mind also this is NOT your dad's military. A lot has changed, and there is no comparison between the lifestyle of a Marine and an Airman. And on the plus side, although this is certainly the exception and not the rule, I got picked up on my first panel 15 months before I get out of the AF. And in reference to the Guard for ATC, all the Guard controllers I went to tech school with got their ratings in the year after but haven't worked traffic since. All they do is sims or drills. The only reason I would recommend Guard is if you are able to apply for the FAA right after, otherwise I don't think it's a good way to go for ATC.
 

trj1393

Newcomer
Dec 27, 2012
7
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1
can someone fill me in more on air national guard vs AF? I'm not completly oppsoed to military, just hesitant.
 

flyin_sooner

Trusted Contributor
Mar 23, 2010
630
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I am going to ask. What do you really want to do. You can ask half the people on here and they will say regardless of the way you decide to get in it is a frustrating and generally pretty lengthy process. Are you committed to waiting it out. I know for me it is going to be worth the wait but you have to find that out for yourself. If you decide that ATC is really the way you want to go I would recommend going to a two year cti school and get done as fast as possible. If you already have college credits you may be able to get done in less than 2. Then once you finish with the cti program finish up your IT work. Most likely it is going to be at least a little bit of a wait and it is always a great idea to have a back up plan. Not everyone can do this job. Good luck to you whichever way you decide to go. One other thing to consider is 2 years in cti vs 6 in the military means if things go as they have over the past several years then approximately 8 more panels to potentially get picked up before you age out by going cti.
 

trj1393

Newcomer
Dec 27, 2012
7
0
1
I am going to ask. What do you really want to do. You can ask half the people on here and they will say regardless of the way you decide to get in it is a frustrating and generally pretty lengthy process. Are you committed to waiting it out. I know for me it is going to be worth the wait but you have to find that out for yourself. If you decide that ATC is really the way you want to go I would recommend going to a two year cti school and get done as fast as possible. If you already have college credits you may be able to get done in less than 2. Then once you finish with the cti program finish up your IT work. Most likely it is going to be at least a little bit of a wait and it is always a great idea to have a back up plan. Not everyone can do this job. Good luck to you whichever way you decide to go. One other thing to consider is 2 years in cti vs 6 in the military means if things go as they have over the past several years then approximately 8 more panels to potentially get picked up before you age out by going cti.
from what I understood on the FAA's website if you have ATC experience in the military the 31y/o age cap doesn't apply anymore (i thought you have some experience by 31 your good and if you are 31+ with no experience you have missed the boat.) am I correct?
 

rooster

Trusted Contributor
Sep 6, 2009
715
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Western Hemipshere
from what I understood on the FAA's website if you have ATC experience in the military the 31y/o age cap doesn't apply anymore (i thought you have some experience by 31 your good and if you are 31+ with no experience you have missed the boat.) am I correct?
Mostly incorrect. The only way you can get in after your 31st birthday is to have occupied a series 2152 federal postion PRIOR to your 31st birthday. That only extends your eligablity to the age of 36. There is also REINCPC...but that is a different discussion.