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Author Topic: Which area of ATC is better? Terminal or en Route?  (Read 5771 times)
juice12
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« on: August 14, 2008, 12:15:25 AM »

Hi
I recently applied for ATC just off a suggestion from a friend. I was selected to take the test and scored very well  cool. I have now been asked to choose which area of ATC I would prefer to go into, Terminal or en Route. I really have no clue. I've heard that this career can be pretty stressful and wpold really like to choose the one that is the least stressful of the two. I would really like to hear an opinion from someone who's been through or around both and may have some insight. Help, please! Also, I heard that I should choose Indiana and Alaska as my state choices because they need the most help. Any opinions on this would be helpful. Thnx

-Juice
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cessna157
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2008, 08:47:03 AM »

That's like comparing a kiwi with a banana.  Yes, they're both fruit from a tree, but that's just about where the similarities end.
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mk
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008, 10:33:04 AM »

en route take up to 5 years to train and get fully checked out.  terminal takes about 2years now. 

DO NOT select a place to work based upon "expected" hiring numbers.  if you don't want to live where you are going to select, then don't select that state.  if you don't enjoy where you live, it is not going to help the frustrations you encounter at work.

and as far as the AT-SAT...my friend only successfully controlled 7 of the 53 planes to their "destination" and he scored a 96...

aparently, 70% of the score is based on the last 100 Qs...psychological..

it's good to hear a story from someone who is actually getting picked up from the streets, but make sure you WANT to do this job...the faa doesn't need anyone else showing up for a paycheck, free coffee, and someone to play fantasy football with.
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BigSky
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2008, 12:32:11 PM »

Somewhat of a harsh "welcome" there but some correct sentiments.

I took the test a little while ago and managed a 100 even though I know I missed many questions in the letter factory. I think I did well on the rest of the test and was interested to hear 70% of the score comes from the last section of the test.

I would interested to hear what you got on the test, juice.

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-Colin
clincher404
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2008, 01:44:04 PM »

This is only for those who really want a challenge.  Join the US Navy and apply for ATC School.  Once completed, request additional training to become Carrier Air Traffic Control qualified.  On the 'boat' you'll definitively get an experience level unlike any land based ATC environment.   To answer your question, the enroute phase is not as challenging as the terminal, local control. 
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glencar
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2008, 03:58:23 PM »

I've done both en route & tracon. The only thing I haven't done is work in a tower. En route takes longer to certify. I would think starting off at a slower tower is the best option & then work your way up. I work in NY & the current pay levels for newbies will make it tough unless you already live here & can live with your folks.
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BigSky
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2008, 05:08:03 PM »

This is only for those who really want a challenge.  Join the US Navy and apply for ATC School.  Once completed, request additional training to become Carrier Air Traffic Control qualified.  On the 'boat' you'll definitively get an experience level unlike any land based ATC environment.   To answer your question, the enroute phase is not as challenging as the terminal, local control. 

I assume you were a controller on a carrier. I've always wondered how that environment differs from land based ATC. I'd be interested to hear more about your experience.
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-Colin
juice12
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 02:01:08 PM »

Somewhat of a harsh "welcome" there but some correct sentiments.

I took the test a little while ago and managed a 100 even though I know I missed many questions in the letter factory. I think I did well on the rest of the test and was interested to hear 70% of the score comes from the last section of the test.

I would interested to hear what you got on the test, juice.



colinneu,
I scored a 93.6 on the test and I also was certain that I made more than my fair share of mistakes with the letter factory and the simulator. Does anyone know how long it may take after I've responded to the "two states" e-mail before I get an offer (or not)? I wasn't sure if this line of work was something that I wanted to do but I have the possibility to earn more doing this than I would with any other profession that I've been in. I'm sure that may not be the attitude that a lot of you think is the "right attitude" for an atc but never underestimate the motivational potential of a job and financial security. Especially if you've bounced around like I have. I've gotta give this a shot. I'd be crazy not to. Right?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 02:03:13 PM by juice12 » Logged
juice12
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2008, 02:08:25 PM »

en route take up to 5 years to train and get fully checked out.  terminal takes about 2years now. 

DO NOT select a place to work based upon "expected" hiring numbers.  if you don't want to live where you are going to select, then don't select that state.  if you don't enjoy where you live, it is not going to help the frustrations you encounter at work.

and as far as the AT-SAT...my friend only successfully controlled 7 of the 53 planes to their "destination" and he scored a 96...

aparently, 70% of the score is based on the last 100 Qs...psychological..

it's good to hear a story from someone who is actually getting picked up from the streets, but make sure you WANT to do this job...the faa doesn't need anyone else showing up for a paycheck, free coffee, and someone to play fantasy football with.

mK,
I hear that. Being frustrasted at work is one thing but then feeling like you're stuck in a place that you don't want to be in your home life could be the straw that sends you over the edge. I haven't really been many places outside of the two states I've resided (OK and NY) and honestly I wouldn't want to live in either of those places. I guess I got some serious researching to do. Thanks for the honest feedback.
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MathFox
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2008, 11:04:47 PM »

I wasn't sure if this line of work was something that I wanted to do but I have the possibility to earn more doing this than I would with any other profession that I've been in. I'm sure that may not be the attitude that a lot of you think is the "right attitude" for an atc but never underestimate the motivational potential of a job and financial security. Especially if you've bounced around like I have. I've gotta give this a shot. I'd be crazy not to. Right?
I know that money is a motivation for any job and it will be part of the motivation for every ATC professional. As an airline passenger I only hope that you realize that you get responsibility for the safety of hundreds of people in this new, stressful job. If you can think you can handle it all, go for it!
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djmodifyd
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2008, 11:33:57 AM »

en route take up to 5 years to train and get fully checked out.  terminal takes about 2years now. 

DO NOT select a place to work based upon "expected" hiring numbers.  if you don't want to live where you are going to select, then don't select that state.  if you don't enjoy where you live, it is not going to help the frustrations you encounter at work.

and as far as the AT-SAT...my friend only successfully controlled 7 of the 53 planes to their "destination" and he scored a 96...

aparently, 70% of the score is based on the last 100 Qs...psychological..

it's good to hear a story from someone who is actually getting picked up from the streets, but make sure you WANT to do this job...the faa doesn't need anyone else showing up for a paycheck, free coffee, and someone to play fantasy football with.

i completely agree with basically everything you said.....EXCEPT the coffee.....it's not free Sad

As for which one you want...its hard to tell...with an "up/down" facility you get a range of both radar and tower.

for me this is perfect...i LOVE the tower but i also get tracon time as well...which will be good if i ever want to move to a larger facilty...since most of the require radar time.

as with a center..you will only be working radar...and you will never get to see the planes.  to a center controller...a F16, B747, C172 and a M20A all look the same.....to an updown...or stand alone tower....controller they all look like what they are....and that is what i love about an updown.
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ZJXCntrlr
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2008, 03:46:17 PM »

It is truly hard to advise someone on this.  The terminal environments here in the FAA are changing.  The FAA is seeking to split as many Tower/Radar terminal facilities as fast as they can.  They are beginning to trend more towards the Atlanta Large TRACON example.  Pretty much the same as a Center, just using 3 miles and running approaches, etc.  The Center environment depends on the center.  Centers are pretty diversified, but it all depends on the area you are assigned to specialize in. In my center, ZJX for example, my area has sectors that we work aircraft from the ground up to unlimited altitude.  We work enroute traffic, climbers/descenders, I vector people for approaches on one end of the sector and put have other aircraft level at cruising altitude on the other side.  We also have a small area in one sector that we are permitted to use 3 NM separation as if we were an approach control.  The other areas in the center vary on their traffic types... some are just high altitude and enroute, others are like mine and work traffic to the ground. 

What you received on the test is really not a big factor. As long as you passed and progress in the training is all that matters.  Even in the Academy you really don't get a good handle on things. It all begins to come together when you are actually training on the job with an instructor behind you.  The time to certify really depends on the FACILITY not the TYPE of facility.  ZJX has one of the fastest training programs in the nation from entry to CPC because the availability of our simulators, the amount of trainers available and our staffing.  Other centers like ZMA, ZNY take several years longer due to staffing and delays in their training program.  The same happens in TRACON, it all depends on that facilities training department and their staffing levels.  If there is no one there to train you, like Miami Center for example, you're going to sit for months without doing anything but office paperwork as support staff. 

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mtlatc
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2008, 09:19:38 PM »

As both a CTO (Tower) rated and Radar rated controller I'll give it a diffrent perspective.  Tower is a Art, Radar is a Science.  Which do you like more Art or Science? If you would like more information feel free to send me a PM.
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LE
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2008, 10:16:08 AM »

Having worked at Boston Center, and several towers throughout New England, I am now a working at a combined tower/TRACON.

Combined TRACONS and En-route Centers are almost alike.  No windows, lots of people ...

I prefer the TRACON located with the tower, there are very few left.  You get the best of both worlds.  You are located near the airspace you provide service to (so you know what the weather is doing as you walk in the door), there are windows at the top, you see airplanes (not just targets on the scope), and view people getting into those airplanes.   The human factor is important.  Most important, job diversity, radar and tower..the best of both!

But like everyone says.... select the area because YOU WANT TO LIVE THERE, chose the job for the work, not the money.  IF you don't LOVE what you do, the stress of that alone will make you miserable.   
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Natasha  
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