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Author Topic: Question for the CTI grads, students, prospects  (Read 13968 times)
digger
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« on: September 09, 2006, 10:10:41 AM »

I get the sense that there are a number of members or lurkers here on the board that have an interest in ATC as a career.

My question is, if you're a graduate, student, or are considering entering a CTI, (College Training Initiative), course of study, has the recent change in the work environment and pay scale caused you to have any second thoughts about a career as a controller with the FAA?
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IndyTower
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2006, 10:22:52 AM »

I can pretty easily say that for at least me and a good amount of my friends I graduated Purdue with, yes it has definatly made me reconsider.  I'm currently away from home and on a laptop which is annoying for me to type on so I'll go more into it in a few days.
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davolijj
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2006, 10:46:07 AM »

good question Digger... I'm sure there are quite a few lurking here.  I know alot of them post on the forums at www.atccti.com but UND also has a forum you may want to look at:

http://www.voy.com/137823/

All the people I know personally are already at the academy or their facility, so most of them are going to hang in there.  I've heard of a few who were on the waiting list for Beaver who asked to be removed after recent events.  I also heard about 2 students who just before graduation asked not to be put on the CTI list even though they met all the requirements.

It'd be great if some current or future CTIs could weigh in....


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JD
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2006, 11:07:29 AM »

I've also reconsidered, though I decided Im gonna take a chance. Since by the time Im wrapping up everything...hopefully the pay would start to rise. Im thinking and hoping that this contract won't last anymore than 3-4 years or less. So I'm still in this for the long run. The only thing that I thought of to keep me in going towards this career is that any other career is almost foreign to me.
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digger
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2006, 11:14:17 AM »

Thanks JD. I figured I'd hear from you on this. (BTW, I'm not sure what you're wearing to work today, but I'm sure it would inspire my confidence in your controlling skills.) smiley

I've heard that some people on the hiring list have declined job offers. That's a shame, having devoted all the timeand expense into it that they already have. I wondered how these things would impact not only those who've already entered or completed the programs, but the enrollmet rates of the programs themselves.

Six months ago, if one of my kids had expressed an interest in a career as a controller, I'd have said go for it. Today, I'd recommend anything else....

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Jason
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2006, 12:08:17 PM »

I get the sense that there are a number of members or lurkers here on the board that have an interest in ATC as a career.

My question is, if you're a graduate, student, or are considering entering a CTI, (College Training Initiative), course of study, has the recent change in the work environment and pay scale caused you to have any second thoughts about a career as a controller with the FAA?

Hi Digger,

I plan on enrolling in a CTI course of study in the near future.  The recent change in the work environment and pay scales has presented some issues and second thoughts in my mind; however you do have to weigh some of the benefits.  Hopefully, as Ed previously posted, the pay, workrules, work environment and other items in the contract will be changed for the better in the near future.  NATCA is fighting strong and I support them 100% of the way.  Another point of interest is going to be the the new DOT Secretary (former Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters was nominated last Tuesday by President Bush) and his/her perspective on the upsetting issues the FAA has knowingly created.

Unfortunately, at the moment, things don't look all that great; however the future does bring some promise to those who are already controllers, and future CTI students.  Hypothetically, if I were to get a call from the FAA tomorrow asking me to come work for them as a controller, it would take some serious thought to come to a decision.  At the current point in time, there are many other large opportunities in the aviation industry that offer better pay, schedule, workrules, and benefits, which would be quite hard to turn down to become a controller, in my views.  I will continue to support NATCA all the way and hope that Marion Blakey doesn't do any more upsetting damage to the industry and controller workforce than she already has.  I look forward to the turn-around of these issues, and a better contract for the controller workforce.

Thanks JD. I figured I'd hear from you on this. (BTW, I'm not sure what you're wearing to work today, but I'm sure it would inspire my confidence in your controlling skills.) smiley

I've heard that some people on the hiring list have declined job offers. That's a shame, having devoted all the timeand expense into it that they already have. I wondered how these things would impact not only those who've already entered or completed the programs, but the enrollmet rates of the programs themselves.

Six months ago, if one of my kids had expressed an interest in a career as a controller, I'd have said go for it. Today, I'd recommend anything else....

A friend of mine received a telephone call sometime at the end of last year asking him if he'd like to become a controller and was even offered a specific (nearby) facility.  It took some extensive thinking on his part, but he eventually turned it down.  He did invest a lot of money, hard work, and energy in hopes of becoming a controller, however there were too many overwhelming, uncertain issues at the time that made him turn down the offer.  I respect his decision, and I think I would have made the same choice.  In some cases, the FAA waits such a long time (years) to call CTI-graduates to become a controller, they have already established a family or a serious relationship which makes the decision even more difficult.

If the workrules, pay, environment, etc don't change for the better in the next few years, I will have serious second thoughts about the profession and will look towards obtaining a degree in another aspect of the aviation industry.  I hope this wont be the case, but time will tell.

Regards,
Jason

P.S. You posted a very good question, and I'm glad to see responses already.  I'm sure this will be a very long, but interesting thread of personal opinions that closely relate to the profession of which this website closely features.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2006, 12:11:40 PM by Jason » Logged
RayZor
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2006, 02:27:36 PM »

Too bad you can't make a living being a vatsim controller.
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digger
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 09:56:11 PM »

I thought maybe I'd bump this thread to the top, rather than starting a new one.

There's been a lot of discussion on this board recently about JFK.

I heard that today, JFK was supposed to get two new CTI controllers, and they didn't show up. It was said that FAA  Human Resources had known for some time that they wouldn't be there, but JFK only learned about it today, when they failed to report for work.    rolleyes
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 03:02:24 AM »

I'm really interested in reading more about this. I've recently been thinking of joining the air force reserve to become a controller, but have been debating it with myself alot. Does anyone have any opinions on controlling for the military and eventually going to work at a civilian airport?
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davolijj
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« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2006, 09:19:39 AM »

I'm really interested in reading more about this. I've recently been thinking of joining the air force reserve to become a controller, but have been debating it with myself alot. Does anyone have any opinions on controlling for the military and eventually going to work at a civilian airport?

I'm a CTI grad myself but I work with alot of VRA-hires with military experience.  I've found that the USMC controllers stand out as the best prepared for FAA carreers.  The airforce guys do okay too, but the jarheads just seem to have a better understanding of ATC concepts.
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JD
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2006, 08:17:55 PM »

After being accepted into Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach following High SChool for the Fall 2005 (Air Traffic Management) with 50% scholarship I had to turn it down, as I'm in the west coast and expenses were probably going to sky high, I"m still considering going in after I complete my Computer Science degree here in about 2-3 years. Not sure what school I'll look into but at the moment, but I still love ATC and the changes might not affect me.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2006, 08:23:23 PM by Glavata » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2006, 04:58:24 AM »

I wanna go CMH or ZZV...

better chance of ZZV. great topic. Thanks for the info.
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davolijj
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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2006, 11:01:41 PM »

I wanna go CMH or ZZV...

better chance of ZZV. great topic. Thanks for the info.

Actually better chance of CMH since there's no tower at Zanesville Municiple AP (ZZV).
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JD
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2006, 04:38:48 AM »

I wanna go CMH or ZZV...

better chance of ZZV. great topic. Thanks for the info.

Actually better chance of CMH since there's no tower at Zanesville Municiple AP (ZZV).

 cheesy
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NWA ARJ
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« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2006, 09:42:46 PM »

I am currently an ATC student at UND. I am in my last year and I will graduate in May of 2007. The new pay scales seem to suck but teachers at UND tell me that they wont be like that for long and they will eventually change for the better. I have decided to keep going with ATC as that is the only thing I know how to do. Hopefully when I graduate in May it wont take the FAA forever to hire me. Some of the UND grads I know had to wait a year or more before they got hired. Hopefully I will get a job in 6 months or less.
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« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2006, 11:20:16 AM »

Just remember that even though you start out lower as soon as you start getting ratings you pay increases.  I wouldn't consider it bad enough to forget about going FAA.
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digger
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2006, 05:50:31 PM »

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The new pay scales seem to suck but teachers at UND tell me that they wont be like that for long and they will eventually change for the better.


Quote
even though you start out lower as soon as you start getting ratings you pay increases. 


But the "pay bands" have changed, downwards.

NWA ARJ, Just so I'm clear on what you're saying--Do the teachers believe that the pay scales will change at some point, so that the wave of new controllers, who are going to replace the wave of retirees, can expect to do as well monetarily over the course of their careers, as the retirees have? Or are they just telling you that at some point the pay scale will no longer suck?
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IndyTower
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« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2006, 12:40:50 AM »

My prof at Purdue (who was a PATCO controller) always told us not to worry to much about the new contract, including the pay scale and everything else involved, as it would pretty much even out eventually and get back towards where it was.  Even with that said, there were some people I graduated with, including myself, decided not to pursue ATC, the primary reasons being our concern with the new pay scale and with concern about all the negative relations between the union and management and the resulting low morale.  On the other hand, pretty much all of us, including myself, have reconsidered.

I should also add that the new contract wasn't my primary reason for not wanting to pursue ATC.  The biggest factor for me was the environment in some of the facilities where there's so much animosity and tension between the controllers and management  Along with this, there's the historic equipment, equipment failures, odd working hours, not being able to go to family functions and see your wife (and kids at some point) as often as you'd like etc etc.  Though, after working in the industry some, I've learned that this just comes with the territory of working in the aviation industry.  It's something we all have a passion for, and we're willing to put up with the not so good to be able to enjoy the good.

Most my friends put their paperwork in months ago, ie chosing preferred states and employment history, with the realization that they could always turn down an offer if given one.  I chose not too, therefore forefiting being eligible in this round of hiring.  Three of my friends who I've talked to recently got tentative placement at RNO, SPI, and BTV.  After graduating from Purdue and getting a job in the industry, I decided I may as well put my paperwork in, though now wish I hadn't waited, as I'll have to wait longer.  Though eventually, it'll happen.

The one thing that all of us remember, and an advantage of a Bachelor's from Purdue, is that even if we take ATC jobs and decide it's not for us for one reason or another, we have a degee to fall back on that will get a wide range of different jobs in the industry.  I just took the opposite path as many of my peers and immediatly took a job in the industry instead of waiting tables or any other odd job while waiting for the FAA to call.  Though that's mostly because I thought I'd be staying with that company instead of pursuing ATC.  But like I said, we can always get out of ATC if we want because our degrees allow for it.

Sorry if this is long winded.  Those of you who've been around the site a while know how I can be.  Wink  I intended to write on this a couple of months ago, but my perspective on it has changed since then, as there have been a lot of changes in my life. 

One thing I know is that when I do get to a facility and if I do set up a feed, I won't do any adversiting of where I am or that I can be heard on the new feed, in fear of having posts about me like the guys on ground control at JFK.  Wink

Matt
« Last Edit: December 28, 2006, 12:49:23 AM by IndyTower » Logged
digger
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« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2006, 02:14:07 AM »

Quote
Sorry if this is long winded...
 

Quite the contrary. I appreciate the lengthy and well thought out reply.

Part of the reason I asked the question in the first place was that it seems, based on what I've heard, as if the FAA has underestimated the number of eligible individuals that are actually going to retire. If that's the case, then A: they're going to be shorter of staff, and sooner, than they'd projected, and B: their projections of how many new hires are going to be coming into the ranks might be equally innaccurate.

As for what the instructors have apparently been saying about things eventually returning to more or less the way they were in times past (like before the Imposed Work Rules), I hope for everyone's sake that they're correct, but I'm glad I'm not in the position of having to bet my college education and career on it. With all due respect, CTI instructors have a vested interest in keeping their students focused on the goal of becoming  controllers, and that might prejudice their opinion, whether intentionally or not.

It seems to me that if there is indeed an impending shortage of qualified controllers (and it seems there is no doubt of that), that to cut pay, and make working conditions less attractive, to lower the morale of the existing workforce, is NOT the way to attract a large pool of qualified applicants to replace those who will be departing.

I got the impression during all the back and forth, while the contract was still an open question, that the agency might be counting on the individuals' love of the profession itself to sustain adequate staffing, and to attract replacements, without regard to how poorly they might be treated on payday, and every working day, for that matter.

It's interesting to read the replies here, and guage how true that might be...
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davolijj
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2006, 10:55:43 AM »

...I got the impression during all the back and forth, while the contract was still an open question, that the agency might be counting on the individuals' love of the profession itself to sustain adequate staffing, and to attract replacements, without regard to how poorly they might be treated on payday, and every working day, for that matter.

You hit the nail on the head Digger.  In a speech at the FAA academy last May, Rick Day, VP of EnRoute and Oceanic Services, stated that the FAA is seeking candidates who have intrinsic motivations for the carreer.   Meaning they're looking for people who want the job because they love ATC.  He said extrinsic motivations like pay, benefits, and scheduling don't bring the kind of people they want.

I hate to break it to them but I'm pretty sure the number of candidates fitting the FAA's preference is not even large enough to staff one facility.  And even if a mojority of the CTI candidates had intrinsic motivations, the low morale and union/management relationship in today's FAA would quickly drive those people away.  I understand where they're coming from on this one, but it's 2007, and that philosophy just isn't realistic.
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JD
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« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2006, 12:25:04 PM »

No one has mentioned the very real chance that the whole ATC system may be privatized.  That throws a much different light on this topic.  What kind of a pay scale do you think they'll have then?

w0x0f
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RayZor
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« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2006, 09:22:41 PM »

So overall: would you, or would you not recommend a career in ATC?  I have been thinking about it, but the outlook is kind of grim it seems...
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digger
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« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2006, 10:08:01 PM »

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He said extrinsic motivations like pay, benefits, and scheduling don't bring the kind of people they want.

Since it appears the the emphasis of the FAA administration has shifted from moving taffic safely to moving traffic cheaply, I guess he's right that those things don't bring the kind of people they want...     rolleyes
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w0x0f
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2006, 12:13:14 PM »

So overall: would you, or would you not recommend a career in ATC?  I have been thinking about it, but the outlook is kind of grim it seems...

http://www.natca.net/newsletter/122906FAACoverLady.msp
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digger
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2006, 12:24:06 PM »

If the reality of it wasn't so sad, it would be laughable...
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