AviRaider
Topic Author
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I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:11 am

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
 
as739x
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:19 am

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!"
 
atct
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:24 am

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
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FlyPNS1
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:46 am

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.
 
LONGisland89
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:02 am

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.
 
MSJYOP28Apilot
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:39 am

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.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:40 pm

heck, apply to the FAA for the civil service test and see what happens. You never know till you ty.
 
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tb727
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:12 pm

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.
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AviRaider
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:13 pm

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.
 
NBGSkyGod
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:53 pm

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.
Pilots are idots, who at any given moment will attempt to kill themselves or others.
 
stratosphere
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:29 am

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?
 
atct
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:23 am

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.
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IAHFLYR
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:22 pm

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.
 
LONGisland89
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:55 pm

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.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:13 pm

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.
 
atct
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:43 am

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
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LH707330
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:53 am

FWIW, looks like the contract towers are expanding, maybe an upcoming EU post could work....
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:49 am

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.
 
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longhauler
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:50 pm

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
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
scarebus03
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:04 pm

Try as a friend of mine at 29 was recently inducted here in Europe after aceing the tests, you never know!
No faults found......................
 
atct
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:30 pm

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
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NBGSkyGod
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RE: I Want To Be An Air Traffic Controller, But I'm 30

Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:17 am

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.
Pilots are idots, who at any given moment will attempt to kill themselves or others.

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