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Enroute vs Terminal Megathread

Discussion in 'FAA' started by brittlebones303, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. brittlebones303

    brittlebones303 Developmental

    Hopefully this isn't beating a dead horse. I've been around and read a decent number of things, but i'm still very confused on the process of how this is chosen. I was referred in pool 2 and crossing fingers for the TOL. I've toured both a facility and a tower, and highly prefer the Enroute career path. Hoping that we can consolidate questions about this here, I know that this has been a question i've had consistently for months now, and nobody seems to give the same answer.

    What do we know about how your path is chosen? Is the community as a collective completely in the dark, we just say "it's random" and you hope for whichever one you prefer? Do we know any factors at all that impact or sway the decision one way or another? I'm very skeptical that it's a "throw a dart at a name" type of decision. There's obviously some sort of process for how they're selecting people, and i'm wondering if we know of any clues or reasons as to who goes where.

    When do we find out if we're placed in terminal or enroute? Is it when we receive the TOL? It would be a tough decision for me to go terminal, i'm in a highly lucrative finance career already and I don't want to end up in a low level tower somewhere across the country.

    Hope this thread can answer some questions for all of us at the risk of being repetitive.
  2. Uscolt45

    Uscolt45 Certified

    You will find out what option you are when you receive your TOL or phone call asking if you’re still interested. My brother was in the same situation and received a terminal offer. Tried for a few weeks to change to enroute and was denied numerous times so he declined the offer.
  3. Erick

    Erick Developmental

    Hate to disappoint you but it is very much like a random dart throw. I’m at the academy now and they explained the process to us when we arrived. They select 1 terminal name for every 4/5 en route names, so you’re chances of getting what you wish are actually pretty good. I had no preference and ended up in terminal and couldn’t be happier about it at this point. I don’t think you’d have any trouble transferring to a center after you check out if that’s your wish.
  4. breakaway2000

    breakaway2000 Moderator Staff Member

    It is basically a randomly generated conveyor belt. There is no consideration made for how you scored on the AT-SA or other relevant resume items. Per the SOP for the track selection...

    "3.2: Within 3 business days of accepting the tentative selectee list, ATO Management Services, Technical Requirements and Forecasting, Air Traffic Team (AJG-R41) will make track assignments for all candidates. The first candidate on the list will be assigned to Terminal Tower, the second candidate will be assigned to Terminal RADAR and the third candidate will be assigned to En Route. This alternating order will continue through the list until all vacancies for a track are filled. Then the assignments will continue to alternate using the remaining tracks. If at some point there are only vacancies remaining in one track, all remaining selectees on the list will be assigned to that track. "

    You can find the rest of the SOP here...
    New Hire Track Selection

    Per what Erick mentioned, I don't know why they keep telling people at the academy the 4 to 1, 5 to 1 stat. In looking at the data and # of classes the past few years, it's a 3 to 2 ratio enroute vs terminal.
    brittlebones303 and Uscolt45 like this.
  5. pinesolius

    pinesolius Developmental

    Is it a myth that terminal academy graduates won't be offered a facility higher than level 8?
  6. corn4ahead

    corn4ahead Certified

    Not only is it not a myth, level 8s are EXTREMELY rare to be offered to Academy grads. Expect a 4-7.
  7. Papa_Mike

    Papa_Mike Chow Runner

    I had a very good career before atc as well...I took a terminal TOL to the FOL and after many, many months pleading to get the switch to enroute, I turned the offer down. Me and mine just weren’t willing to risk the long haul to transferring. The next bid I was offered an enroute TOL. I was very prepared to never hear from the FAA again and count my luck every day. Unless you have some sort of connection, it appears to be random.
    Uscolt45 likes this.
  8. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    What is it that makes enroute more desirable for y'all over terminal? I know the difference between the two (I think anyway), but just curious as to what would make one want to choose over the other.
  9. HenryTheAce

    HenryTheAce Certified FAA

    FAA Facility:
    ZMP Minneapolis Center
    EnEoute typically pays more a year or two after the academy vs terminal. Terminal you'll be sent to a level 4-7 where base CPC pay may be between $65k to 90k a year roughly. Where Enroute when you're half way through training you'll be making $90k roughly and base CPC pay is $115k to $145k roughly based on location. Keep in mind though usually the time from graduating the academy to CPC for terminal is MUCH faster than academy graduate to CPC in EnRoute. I think too why people like EnRoute is most facilities are near some pretty cool major cities. While terminal can be in some pretty small undersirable places on top of expensive places with low pay. Just my thought.
    Uscolt45 likes this.
  10. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Centers are their own little world. It’s a completely different experience then a small tower.
    HenryTheAce likes this.
  11. MikeDelta

    MikeDelta Developmental

    I've always found centers to be where happiness goes to die, TMU doubly so.
  12. Uscolt45

    Uscolt45 Certified

    TMUs at ZSE all seem to like it except one guy who hates life. Whenever I tour they have 3-4 people there and only one is working.
  13. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    So it seems like the biggest factor for people may be making more money off the start rather than other things?
  14. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Centers and large facilities have many more resources available. Cafeterias, parking garages, child care, break rooms, etc... not to mention the pay.

    Edit: Plus like the person below me mentioned, centers carry weight. No one cares about BFE lvl 5 tower. If you have aspirations in the union, take a gander where the entire senior staff came from...
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
    Dolan, HenryTheAce and Uscolt45 like this.
  15. CWATC

    CWATC Chow Runner

    The question you have to ask is who is telling you what is better? Have they worked both, if not then they only know what others tell them and they probably haven't worked both either. I've found that terminal controllers say it's the best and center controllers say the same thing. It really is a unique experience either way. Money is a driving factor for a lot of people and the money is really at the center for the most part. Not to mention you could have your whole career at one center doing different things but at a terminal facility you're more then likely going to have to move to do anything else like being a TMC or Support, heck even being on a workgroup. Smaller terminal facilities are over looked because their opinion generally isn't valued. Just some more thoughts to add.
  16. Turn Right or Die

    Turn Right or Die Developmental

    I feel like in enroute, dealing with mostly professional pilots is better then watching Dale in his C-172 turn base in front of an LJ (after being told to extend downwind) for the 3rd time in a week....
  17. DL0509

    DL0509 Certified

    Thats the fun part about working in a tower.
  18. MikeDelta

    MikeDelta Developmental

    Aww that's cute, his traffic is so light he only does it three times a week.
    nis350ztt likes this.
  19. Turn Right or Die

    Turn Right or Die Developmental

    Lol it was
    MikeDelta likes this.
  20. N90-EWR

    N90-EWR Chow Runner FAA

    FAA Facility:
    N90 New York Tracon
    Well, not all terminal facilities are created equal! Some of the Union senior staff came from my terminal facility, which also has the top pay in the country, a cafeteria, break rooms, etc.

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