switching to ATC...a few questions


Nov 15, 2009
I realize that this has been discussed before but I wanted to pose a few questions that I didn't really find answers to. Hopefully I can get some feedback from some ATC'ers and from some ATC'ers who were formerly pilots.

My background...I graduated with a B.S. from a university with a major in aviation focusing on flight. I did NOT get my CTI cert. which I now regret. Currently, I fly a mid-size corporate jet. I am looking to make the change for a better quality of life b/c now I am on call 24/7/365 and its wearing on me. Last month I was home 3 nights, which has been typical lately to have a night, maybe two at home per week. To be quite honest, it has sucked the joy out of flying for me. To be competitive for any jobs now you need 5000 more hours than I have and several more type ratings and I am just not wanting to put in the years to get there, sacrificing family life, etc. That is why I am wanting to make the switch. I still am an aviation enthusiast and want to stay in the field.

So my questions are these: Do I pursue the CTI certification now or wait for the next OTS hiring for ATC (keeping in mind, I could only do this online and not go to an actual class)? If I should pursue my CTI, where can I accomplish this online? Does someone with my experience have a little better chance at getting hired OTS than most? Do I stand a better chance at getting hired if I get the CTI cert? If I apply during the next PUBNAT, how long till I will hear something? Is ATC hiring similar to corporate pilots in that it depends on who you know? I guess I am just looking for someone to point me in the right direction. I appreciate any help or advice I could get.


Retired FAA, NATCA Member
Apr 3, 2009
Nashville TN
If you have the CTI certificate it might improve you chances of being hired because it will let you bid on CTI vacancies, and off the street vacancies. With your qualifications you might want to look at FSDO (flight standards district office jobs) and maybe even Flight Check jobs with the FAA.

I've seen previous post that mention that some colleges will take what you already have and require you to take a few specific classes then give you the CTI degree, but you will have to check around.

Being a controller isn't all roses either, most facilities are 24/7 so you will work rotating shifts and rotating days off, so you will still miss out on a lot of family events.

Now if you are interested, Blackwater hires pilots to fly freight over here in Afghanistan, the money for pilots is really good, and I hear that most of the guys fly for a month or two, then take a month off.