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Author Topic: Hard Decision..  (Read 9932 times)
Keeper4560
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« on: June 02, 2010, 07:26:41 PM »

Hello everybody, my name is Alex and I'm looking to get some opinion on a dilema i have when it comes to being a pilot or ATC. I've wanted to fly since i was young and i still want to persue that choice. Now only a year away from college I need to pick what i really want to do. I've also have come to like Air Traffic Control as well. My main goal is to fly but i just wonder what would be easier and more safe to become in this economic time. I have some experience with both from listening and playing Flight Simulator, and I love it. Any help or suggestions would be gladly appreciated.

----Alex
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klkm
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2010, 11:53:02 AM »

ATC from a financial stand point is a much better career choice.  Most will say you should do what you want to do though.  If you have no previous flying experience but flight sim, maybe you wont like it as much as you think.  I would give ATC a shot while pursuing flying and see how it works out in college.  ATC first year you'll make about 42,000, pilot for a regional will make about half.   ATC second year at a level 12 you will make 70,000-95,000, and after 3-4 years depending on  check out you'll be well over 110,000.  Now I see no downside to going ATC, as a pilot you could be lucky to get into the 40,000+ range in 4 years.  But if you love flying, fly, if you find you love ATC go that route.  Do what you want to do, it will make life much easier. 
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cessna157
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2010, 02:37:49 AM »

Here's an option for you:


Go to a college that offers an ATC degree (CTI).  Then, while you're there, you can study your pilot stuff on the side.  If you can, major in both, or major in ATC and minor in flight, etc...

There are several schools that do this.  University of North Dakota pops into my mind at first.
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CRJ7/CRJ9 F/O, Travel Agent
abelenky
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 08:25:58 PM »

I think you should work towards ATC, and fly for fun.

First and foremost, ATC pays much better, with better job security.
Secondly, when you do fly, you'll be able to fly for fun, instead of flying pre-assigned routes to boring destinations with assigned crew members, perhaps in bad weather.

Flying for a career may well sour you on flying.
Having a rewarding career that lets you fly for fun is the way to go.
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beachdarryl0202
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2010, 03:16:12 PM »

These guys have it right. ATC offers more stability and (usually) more pay, but the pilot is the one doing it and having all the fun. But the tradeoff is it's unstable and you have to be a customer slave. Also, don't get worried about making a lifetime career choice at your age. That's one of the worst ways to ruin your life. Leave your options open. I know so many people who either quit college or changed degree programs so far into school because they ended up not liking their "life choice".
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 03:19:40 PM by beachdarryl0202 » Logged

Darryl Roach
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beachdarryl0202
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2010, 01:46:45 AM »

I might add that my late bloomer butt is planning to go back to school a 3rd time this January, and yes it'll be a pilot school offered through a community college. It took me since 2004 to decide that for sure, so...  shocked cheesy
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Darryl Roach
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ClayNCT
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 02:02:32 AM »

I'm a controller at NorCal Tracon in Sacramento.  I am obviously going to say being a controller is the way to go.  We have terrible hours just like pilots.  The only difference is that we are home with our loved ones every night.  And as all the other guys have mentioned, our pay is great and the job security is just as good.  If you have any questions about ATC I would be glad to answer them for you.  Good luck with your decision.
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px
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2010, 06:18:58 PM »

I'm a Center controller, I went to a 4 year aviation university and before I got hired with the FAA i was a commercial pilot and instructor. I have dozens of friends that went to work for the airlines, and I don't know a single one that is happy with the lifestyle. For the first 5 years in the airlines you make no money, have no homelife, no job security, and very very few benefits. Both are difficult careers which require immense training and committment. The 3 best things about working for the FAA are the steady pay, job security, and retirement benefits. The downsides: shiftwork sucks, and don't expect a weekend or holiday off for many, many years (depending on where you go).
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cbkyro
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 11:31:56 PM »

This is a little late but everyone seems to hit the same nail on the head here.

I personally recently graduated a CTI program but am also finishing flying for the school. I have no large desire to go commercial but the flying knowledge is great to have with you on the ATC end. Vice versa as well.
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kjk3000
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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 12:56:08 PM »

There are obviously a lot of pros and cons about both careers to weigh up here. Clearly you are very interested in aviation in general and I think you need to ask yourself; do I want to be flying the aircraft, and put up with the cramped conditions, life away from home and less pay? Or do I want to have better job security and better pay, a better home life but not experience the thrill of flying? Personally, if I could choose, I love the experience of flying so much that I'd rather be paid less for doing something I love, instead of working in a windowless control centre sitting in front of computer screens for hours on end. But that's just me Smiley

I think the very fact that you can't decide between the two points you towards becoming a controller, but I do think it would be great for you to do the flying as a hobby instead.

Good luck with your decision!
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