Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATC- air traffic controler

Hello everyone,
I hope that I don’t break the rules and can ask a few questions about work of ATC. It’s connected with aviation so I guess it’s okay.
I wonder if anyone of You is an ATC or knows someone who works in the tower?
Have a nice day!

I have a friend who is retired ATC. He always said that it was a good job and paid well, but was pretty demanding work.

They are hiring: https://www.faa.gov/jobs/career_fields/aviation_careers/

8 years as a controller. What can I answer?

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Great, thank you Travis for your answer. I’d like to know if this job is more demanding or challenging than working as a pilot? Do you need to sacrifice your hobbys, family’s life? I don’t know whether you’re able to compare these jobs but let me know your feelings about working as a controller. Also, I wanna know if an air traffic controler’s salary is much better than an airline pilot’s salary? I heard that it’s much higher but don’t know if it’s true. Do you really like your job? Why did you decide to work as a controller? :slight_smile:

Hi Travis!

Everything depends on where your at. I am in Sioux City, Iowa. Traffic is slow, but I do make decent money. With incentives and premiums and everything I make around 80k a year. 80k to do almost nothing is great, for some. I enjoy this career field, so I am trying to get somewhere to actually take part in separating airplanes on a normal basis. Not just once a month. Even at the slowest facilities, pay is around 60k. And that’s base. Again, with incentives and premiums, those people probably make at least 70k. Generally schedules aren’t bad. I have Thursday/Friday off. I work evenings th first 2 days, mornings the last 2days, and the middle day can be either depending on staffing. I don’t get much overtime where I’m at, but some places have tons of mandatory overtime. New York approach controllers are generally working 6 10 hour days because they are so low in staffing. So quality of life depends on where your at. There’s pros and cons to every location. When you get hired you get sent where the Faa needs you. Then trying to transfer blows, and unfortunately the transfer policy is something our union negotiated with the Faa. Everyone, including management, at the facilities hate this policy. It’s only our upper management and union that are going with it. Which sucks. The salary at the busiest facilities is around 120-140k. Of course we get overtime, so those New York guys are making bank. But their on Long Island, plus don’t have the time off to spend money. Job is mainly depending at the busier facilities. Again, my facility is extremely easy, at least in my opinion. If you can handle possibly never getting to the location you want to be at, then sure, it’s great. Great pay, benefits and retirement. Crappy transfer policy and upward mobility ability. And yeah, you might possibly never be mon- fri.

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