Pay Differences

JE13017

Newcomer
Aug 3, 2018
8
0
1
I've seen a lot of talk about En Route paying a lot better than Tower. I guess I never really noticed a huge difference but what is the difference in pay between something like a level 9 tower and an En Route facility? I never took pay into consideration when deciding which one I want to pursue but is the pay enough of a difference to where I should consider it?
 

Purplelobj

Epic Member
Jan 29, 2014
1,646
19
38
According to this website: Air Traffic Control

CPC at a level 9 starts at $105k while CPC at a level 12 starts at $134k. Keep in mind coming from the Academy as terminal you will be offered facilities level 7 and below. Enroute you will be offered levels 10-12 (I don't believe there are any nine centers). While you will train significantly longer enroute you will be making more money to do it.

You'd also have to factor in locality and CIP if you want exact salaries for a brand new CPC.
 

MikleBrady

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2013
284
0
16
Basically if you get enroute, and make it thru the academy, and CPC, you get $50k more a year than someone who was lucky/good enough to get a Level 7 tower out of the academy and CPC

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

odotsal

Rookie
Jan 28, 2015
50
0
6
Pay can vary greatly. It will also be commensurate to your workload. There are only 22 or so Centers so you better like big metro areas. Terminal facilities are all over so you have greater potential to be where you desire.

I leave you with this: In my area the lowest facility is a 4 and the highest are 12s. You can work a couple dozen planes or less (literally) and make ~$65K before CIP, Sunday pay, night diff, holiday, and OT. On the other end, you can make ~$141K before the extras but you’re going to work your ass off, especially at the TRACON that’s 30% understaffed working 3,400+ ops a day. Find your happy medium.
 

bub89y2k

Rookie
Jan 23, 2014
44
1
8
An example of different pay levels for CPC in the DFW area..

KADS Addison & KAFW Fort Forth Alliance tower level 5 - $68,230-$92,110
KDAL Dallas-Love level 8 - $92,062-$123,285
*Fictional level 9* - $101,727-137,030
KDFW Dallas-Ft Worth Tower & D10 DFW Approach & ZFW Fort Worth Center- $129,284-$174,534

Huge pay differences where you could conceivably be living in the area between Dallas & Fort Worth.

Based on pay alone, I'd go to ZFW right away, as even a D1 developmental gets paid $66,993 which you will get to within 3-6 months out of the academy. If you get put into the tower option, get certified ASAP and transfer to the center.

Spreadsheet of pay can be downloaded on the FAA website https://www.faa.gov/jobs/working_here/benefits/

Click "pay" then scroll down to "Air Traffic Specialized Pay Plan (ATSPP) Pay Tables "

Very few people get a "choice" though, only in rare instances I've read on here that people get offered the option due to class date changes or agency mishaps.
 

lowapproach

Epic Member
Oct 29, 2010
1,316
33
48
WV
When you get your pay raises, they are within your pay band. If you get a presidential pay raise of 1% at the beginning of the year and you're a D2, you don't keep that extra 1% when you promote to D3; you go to the bottom of the band awaiting the next pay raise. If you work 10 years at an ATC-8 tower receiving 1% raises every year and check out at an ATC-12 center in year 12, you will be making less money than the guy who started at the ATC-12 center 4 years ago and checked out a year before you did. Every year counts towards your retirement calculation - for now, FERS annuities are 1.7% for the first 20 years and 1% for every year after, multiplied by your highest three years of base salary.

Your base salary also has a lot of impact on your retirement savings account, the TSP. Obviously, it's easier to put aside the contribution limit of $18,000 in 2015 if you're making $100,000 than if you're making $60,000. Your employer matching is based on your salary as well - you get dollar for dollar equal to 3% of your pay, and 50 cents per dollar for the next 2% of your pay, provided you put in at least 5% of your salary every pay period. Those extra few dollars a paycheck in matching can add up a lot over the course of a 25-year career.

Places like A80 and N90 move the airplanes that the airlines care about, and if you don't already know it, the FAA works for the airlines and everyone else gets served as an afterthought. Busier facilities where it is hard to certify tend to serve locations important to the airlines - NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, etc. The slower and less relevant to the NAS you are, the less overtime you will see.
tl;dr = it's potentially a lot of money. Almost anywhere you work in the FAA, though, you will probably be among your locality's best-paid workers, and there aren't nearly as many centers as towers if you have your heart set on a very narrow set of locations. Even if you start out in a center or a tower, you don't have to finish your career in one.
 

ChefBryardee

Rookie
Jul 5, 2018
34
0
6
Fort Worth
Does prior experience matter at all in regards to what non-center level facilities you may get to pick from? As in possibly getting something above a level 7? According to the latest facility placement chart, I know they have at least one slot reserved for a prior experience controller at Potomac TRACON where I'm really trying to go.
 

JayTango

Junior Member
Feb 21, 2016
110
0
16
Does prior experience matter at all in regards to what non-center level facilities you may get to pick from? As in possibly getting something above a level 7? According to the latest facility placement chart, I know they have at least one slot reserved for a prior experience controller at Potomac TRACON where I'm really trying to go.
From what I have seen based off of the facility lists offered to prior experience it depends on the type (Tower vs. RADAR). If you were military I would base it off the lists that your co-workers received that had made the jump to the FAA. Not in terms of the locations but the types and levels offered.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
4,388
68
48
Long Island
Does prior experience matter at all in regards to what non-center level facilities you may get to pick from? As in possibly getting something above a level 7? According to the latest facility placement chart, I know they have at least one slot reserved for a prior experience controller at Potomac TRACON where I'm really trying to go.
from what I’ve seen it depends on what Base your experience was at and how recently. Certain bases, assuming you were AF, such as Tyndall, Eglin, Nellis, Grand Forks, Columbus, and a couple others are getting offered level 10-12’s. Other bases, level 7-9, and others (mostly tower only people) 4-7.
 

ChefBryardee

Rookie
Jul 5, 2018
34
0
6
Fort Worth
from what I’ve seen it depends on what Base your experience was at and how recently. Certain bases, assuming you were AF, such as Tyndall, Eglin, Nellis, Grand Forks, Columbus, and a couple others are getting offered level 10-12’s. Other bases, level 7-9, and others (mostly tower only people) 4-7.
I'm at Fort Worth JRB. We're tower and RATCF. Approach control is at DFW so I have radar but not approach control experience.
 

JE13017

Newcomer
Aug 3, 2018
8
0
1
According to this website: Air Traffic Control

CPC at a level 9 starts at $105k while CPC at a level 12 starts at $134k. Keep in mind coming from the Academy as terminal you will be offered facilities level 7 and below. Enroute you will be offered levels 10-12 (I don't believe there are any nine centers). While you will train significantly longer enroute you will be making more money to do it.

You'd also have to factor in locality and CIP if you want exact salaries for a brand new CPC.
Thanks for the info! Any idea about how long or how much experience it takes to get from a level 7 tower to a 9-12? (assuming you're a solid controller)?
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
1,563
22
38
Thanks for the info! Any idea about how long or how much experience it takes to get from a level 7 tower to a 9-12? (assuming you're a solid controller)?
You don't even have to be a solid controller. You can certify in a level 7 tower in 6-12 months. Shouldn't take longer than that, but it's possible. Then if everything works out with staffing numbers you can be transferred out in 4-6 months at best....but it may take 5+ years.
 

Jax

Senior Analyst
Nov 17, 2010
869
32
28
N90-EWR
Thanks for the info! Any idea about how long or how much experience it takes to get from a level 7 tower to a 9-12? (assuming you're a solid controller)?

There's a bit of "luck" involved with this. Some people go straight to level 12's, while others take many years to get there. I wish there was a concrete answer but there are way too many variables, as well as inconsistencies with how the FAA handles things from one region to the next, and even facility by facility.
 

odotsal

Rookie
Jan 28, 2015
50
0
6
Here’s an answer. Certify at your lower level what ever. If you really want the pay then you can apply to N90 or C90. They’re number 1 & 2 on the priority list respectively. If they want you, your facility has to let you go.
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
1,563
22
38
as well as inconsistencies with how the FAA handles things from one region to the next, and even facility by facility.
Not since January 2016. CPC movement is all spreadsheet and numbers driven on a nationwide basis now.