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I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30  
User currently offlineAviRaider From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 185 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 11 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9630 times:

I thought I would pose this question to all of you experts out there.

I'm 30 years old and I'm in-between jobs at the moment and I'm seriously considering changing career fields. I've always been interested in aviation and flying didn't pan out for me, mostly due to the exorbitant training costs. I chose a different career path and it's been fairly good to me through the years but I've never lost that aviation bug. With my current situation I've seriously considered a career as an Air Traffic Controller. I've been doing my research and a big road block appears to be the 31 year-old hiring requirement; I'm 30. To my lacking knowledge the FAA doesn't appear to be accepting applications for trainees.

My question to all of you is, is my time up for doing this career path? Thank You for your help.

Jakob

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineas739x From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6194 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (1 year 11 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 9597 times:

Not a good time. Probably not a good path, in my opinion, to take. The 31 is a firm age to be hired by. If your 30, you have under 12 months to work with. Also, I do not believe they are hiring many right now. Someone can correct me if I am wrong there.

I personally see smaller towers going the way of private companies in the future. This wouldn't bold well for future growth.

Just my 2 cents and I'll be the first admit I am not up on top of the subject as much as others.



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineatct From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2345 posts, RR: 38
Reply 2, posted (1 year 11 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9535 times:

Your time is up. Sorry! My best friend was early thirties when he met me and found this career field...just found it to late. I wish we would be able to hire him, and you after training, but its a firm limit for new-hires (Military / DOD controllers have other options, but its very complicated)

ATCT



"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
User currently offlineFlyPNS1 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 6730 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (1 year 11 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9392 times:

Not sure if you could get your CTO from one of the colleges that offer them (Middle Georgia) and then possibly go work for one of the private companies that operate the contract towers (Serco, Robinson Aviation). You'd have to investigate this more to see all the rules, but it might be the only path.

Many people forget that over 200 towers are staffed by non-FAA controllers....mostly smaller GA airports.


User currently offlineLONGisland89 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 741 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 11 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 9272 times:

As the other guys said, your only real option is to get your CTO and apply to work at a contract tower. As of right now the normal spring FAA hiring panel appears to be a go, although it's only open to CTI and VRA applicants, and no off the street bids.

Quoting as739x (Reply 1):
Also, I do not believe they are hiring many right now.

Hiring has slowed in the past three years. Part of the problem is there is a huge backlog of people who were hired and are still waiting for class dates at the academy. It's borderline ridiculous.


User currently offlineMSJYOP28Apilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 246 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (1 year 11 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 9249 times:

You can always try dispatch. Its not ATC but its certainly very challenging. You may not like the low pay at the regionals though. In dispatch, you will have regular contact with mainly captains but also stations sometimes and also ATC quite a bit as well.

User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (1 year 11 months 2 days ago) and read 9127 times:

heck, apply to the FAA for the civil service test and see what happens. You never know till you ty.

User currently offlinetb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1648 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (1 year 11 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 9081 times:

I wanted a change too a few years ago and looked into ATC but I was 26 and decided not to pursue it. I'm glad I stuck with flying though because after some frustration it finally worked out not long after. Like others said, take a look at dispatching. I would definitely do that if I couldn't fly and it is my "plan B". It's a good challenge, you get to plan a lot and you get to make decisions and work with the pilots. You can even jump seat with some carriers.


Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineAviRaider From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 11 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8985 times:

Thanks everyone. All good information. I figured it's a massive and quickly eroding mountain but stranger things have happened. I've always got my current career in my back pocket but I'm always keeping the aviation jobs at reach. I haven't thought about dispatching though, would be interesting, although that low pay could be the real kicker. I appreciate all your help.

User currently offlineNBGSkyGod From United States of America, joined May 2004, 834 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 11 months 19 hours ago) and read 8741 times:

Your best bet at this point it to join the military. I had two classmates in AC school that were in your boat, they were too old for the FAA but wanted to be controllers. If you are willing to enlist in the military to pursue a fulfilling career in ATC than by all means do it.


"I use multi-billion dollar military satellite systems to find tupperware in the woods."
User currently offlinestratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1653 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (1 year 11 months 13 hours ago) and read 8640 times:

Quoting tb727 (Reply 7):
I wanted a change too a few years ago and looked into ATC but I was 26 and decided not to pursue it. I'm glad I stuck with flying though because after some frustration it finally worked out not long after. Like others said, take a look at dispatching. I would definitely do that if I couldn't fly and it is my "plan B". It's a good challenge, you get to plan a lot and you get to make decisions and work with the pilots. You can even jump seat with some carriers.

Actually Tb727 dispatchers can jumpseat with most any carrier pilots can since most are in CASS. I wish I had done the dispatcher route and not wasted my time in maintenance. Best 5 to 6 week education money can buy. Took me a lot longer than that to get my A@P and I am certainly not welcome in any cockpit jumpseat as an A@P even though I am run taxi on most airliners. Yep at his age I would most recommend him to go to dispatch school a few of them even have distance learning..I got mine not too far back at AGS they have a good program. ATC would be fun I think too bad they have the age limit but I understand why.. Should have looked at ATC too in my early years could retire early will never happen for me in the choices I made now. Does the military have an age limit for ATC?



NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineatct From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2345 posts, RR: 38
Reply 11, posted (1 year 11 months 11 hours ago) and read 8607 times:

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 3):
Many people forget that over 200 towers are staffed by non-FAA controllers....mostly smaller GA airports.

Every contract company I can think of requires experience. I dont know of any that hire people from the CTO programs without more experience. They might have, but not at any of the towers Ive dealt with. HGR, HLG, LBE, CXO, SGR, MGW, GLS, FMY, BAZ, BKL, TYR, etc.



"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 8511 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 6):
heck, apply to the FAA for the civil service test and see what happens. You never know till you ty.


Exactly.....if you don't apply the answer is always NO! Just get moving in a hurry, all you have to be is hired before your 31st birthday so don't waste any more time.....be like Nike and "Just Do It".  
Quoting atct (Reply 11):
Every contract company I can think of requires experience. I dont know of any that hire people from the CTO programs without more experience. They might have, but not at any of the towers Ive dealt with. HGR, HLG, LBE, CXO, SGR, MGW, GLS, FMY, BAZ, BKL, TYR, etc.


You can toss in CLL as well as EFD that I've dealt with. I don't believe any of the DOD contract towers hire without experience from either the FAA, FCT Program or military background.

Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 9):
If you are willing to enlist in the military to pursue a fulfilling career in ATC than by all means do it.


Another good thing to research however, get the civil service test done first and foremost.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineLONGisland89 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 741 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 8331 times:

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 6):
heck, apply to the FAA for the civil service test and see what happens. You never know till you ty.
Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 12):
Exactly.....if you don't apply the answer is always NO! Just get moving in a hurry, all you have to be is hired before your 31st birthday so don't waste any more time.....be like Nike and "Just Do It".  

I don't want to be a negative Nancy here but the last time there was even an off the street bid to apply to was nearly two years ago. Since then the only way the FAA will hire you is if you have your CTO, are a graduate from a CTI school, or a military veteran with atc experience. The FAA only has two hiring panels a year and the Spring 2013 panel is already closed. (Also, it appears CTO applicants are not being considered this panel). So that just leaves the fall panel, which usually closes in September and doesn't produce any results usually till around the end of November. Since the shortest CTI programs are two years, the only possibility is to somehow get your CTO by September (some programs take nearly a year), hope that there is even a CTO bid, and not turn 31 by the end of November. Even if you accomplish that, keep in mind that there are thousands of CTI, CTO, and VRA people that have been eligible in many panels and have been waiting years to get picked up. Having your name on the referral list doesn't guarantee you'll get hired. I just don't want to give you any false hope! I'd try the military route at this point.


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 8304 times:

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 13):
I don't want to be a negative Nancy here but the last time there was even an off the street bid to apply to was nearly two years ago.


Okay Nancy!!   

Granted the outlook is bleak, and the military route is probably the best due to the age issue at hand. Just didn't want to be so negative, heck he could have taken my job a few months ago since I like a number of other controllers have called it quits within the last few month.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineatct From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2345 posts, RR: 38
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 8255 times:

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 14):
I like a number of other controllers have called it quits within the last few month.

The flying public thanks their lucky stars for that!

Yay senority!

ATCT



"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
User currently offlineLH707330 From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 848 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 8231 times:

FWIW, looks like the contract towers are expanding, maybe an upcoming EU post could work....

User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 8216 times:

Quoting atct (Reply 15):
The flying public thanks their lucky stars for that!



I thought you may have grown up some in Alaska, but I can see not. Just wait till I show this to your Dad at RSW in a few days!   LMAO



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5155 posts, RR: 43
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 8126 times:

Do you have the authority to work in Canada?

Nav Canada often has hiring seminars for the whole Air Traffic Control system. An applicant does various "tests' to see the suitability, and to where you are best placed. I know a lot of people that have been successful, and some that have not. It has nothing to do with background, age, IQ, etc ... more looking at the way one's mind works.

One successful buddy said one of the tests had various aircraft, flying various directions at various speeds, and he had to determine the conflict. He said it was "fun", and I guess he was successful at it, as he is now a controller.

http://www.navcanada.ca/NavCanada.as...nFilesAboutUsCareersDefault.xml



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinescarebus03 From Ireland, joined Apr 2005, 305 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 8092 times:

Try as a friend of mine at 29 was recently inducted here in Europe after aceing the tests, you never know!


No faults found......................
User currently offlineatct From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2345 posts, RR: 38
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7965 times:

Quoting scarebus03 (Reply 19):
Try as a friend of mine at 29 was recently inducted here in Europe after aceing the tests, you never know!

It doesnt work like that here in the states.

ATCT



"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." - Walt Disney
User currently offlineNBGSkyGod From United States of America, joined May 2004, 834 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 7809 times:

Quoting LH707330 (Reply 16):

Unfortunately any hope of expanding the FCT program by privatizing FAA facilities is unlikely since the Unions are so opposed to idea. However all of the new towers that are built at smaller airports around the country are all private, some funded by the FAA some funded by the local municipalities.



"I use multi-billion dollar military satellite systems to find tupperware in the woods."
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