First facility selection

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#1
I just graduated from the academy and we are picking facilties next week. Our list consists of level 4 tower only, level 5 tower only and up/down, and level 6 up/down. Obviously I will concentrate on CPCing above all, but I do want to pick a first facility that would be most conducive to my end goal of a 10+ tower in the northeast. Does picking a facility in the general region you want to be in help at all? Or should I pick the highest level facility (the only 6s on our list are places I'd really rather not live)? Or the facility with the highest current or projected staffing levels or training success rates or fastest check out times? Or with the NCEPT and all, should I expect to remain at my first facility for a while regardless, and therefore I should go somewhere I would not mind living for several years? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
 

corn4ahead

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#2
I just graduated from the academy and we are picking facilties next week. Our list consists of level 4 tower only, level 5 tower only and up/down, and level 6 up/down. Obviously I will concentrate on CPCing above all, but I do want to pick a first facility that would be most conducive to my end goal of a 10+ tower in the northeast. Does picking a facility in the general region you want to be in help at all? Or should I pick the highest level facility (the only 6s on our list are places I'd really rather not live)? Or the facility with the highest current or projected staffing levels or training success rates or fastest check out times? Or with the NCEPT and all, should I expect to remain at my first facility for a while regardless, and therefore I should go somewhere I would not mind living for several years? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
If your end goal is a tower only. Then bid the highest level tower only available.
 

MJ

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#3
My personal preference would go:
  1. I should go somewhere I would not mind living for several years
  2. the facility with the highest current or projected staffing levels or training success rates or fastest check out times

Experience/qualifications/etc. don't mean anything career wise, so I wouldn't waste time considering those.
 

breakaway2000

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#4
I think you just opened up Pandora's box.

As the NCEPT has effectively pushed everyone at or near the projected national average, networking and location will become more important. I expect some pre-NCEPT themes to return such as:

-District hiring/promotion. For the most part, a lot of district managers are encouraged to hire from within the district. Ex. TMB/FXE -> FLL -> MIA. ORL/SFB/SRQ/VRB -> MCO. PIE -> TPA, etc.
- Region hiring/promotion. Same as above.

Given the current climate, I completely agree with corn4ahead and MJ. A level 5 tower only will give you better tower experience then a 6 up/down.

I know others may disagree, but with a return to networking, getting involved with NATCA will only help your odds. Go to CFS, go to NATCA in Washington, go to your regional meetings, go to the convention. As MJ can attest, the amount of facility FacReps and VP's that have been selected through the NCEPT has been staggering. This is why being in the same district/region is important. If you're able to get involved you will consistently see the other FacReps from the facilities you want to go to and it's easier to build relationships.

Congrats on passing the academy, you've got a great career ahead of you.
 

RL

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ZTL Atlanta Center
#5
My personal preference would go:
  1. I should go somewhere I would not mind living for several years
  2. the facility with the highest current or projected staffing levels or training success rates or fastest check out times

Experience/qualifications/etc. don't mean anything career wise, so I wouldn't waste time considering those.
This is what I would do. Nothing is gaureenteed so I would pick something you may end up enjoying if possible. If nothing is appealing then highest training success rate, quickest checkout rate, and maybe a call to the Natca reps to get an idea of climate would be my course of action. Just remember that what has good staffing now may not have the same numbers once you are certified. My facility had terrible numbers when a batch of us showed up and now they are letting people get picked up on the last couple panels.
 
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#7
I just graduated from the academy and we are picking facilties next week. Our list consists of level 4 tower only, level 5 tower only and up/down, and level 6 up/down. Obviously I will concentrate on CPCing above all, but I do want to pick a first facility that would be most conducive to my end goal of a 10+ tower in the northeast. Does picking a facility in the general region you want to be in help at all? Or should I pick the highest level facility (the only 6s on our list are places I'd really rather not live)? Or the facility with the highest current or projected staffing levels or training success rates or fastest check out times? Or with the NCEPT and all, should I expect to remain at my first facility for a while regardless, and therefore I should go somewhere I would not mind living for several years? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Where are you deciding between?
 
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#8
Thanks for the advice everyone. So it sounds like between a level 4 and 5 tower only, I'd probably want to pick the level 4 (ILG) that is staffed around the national average (and that IMO is in a more desirable location) over the level 5 (POU) that looks like it might have more trainees than CPCs soon, even though the latter might make me a better tower controller to start off?
 
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#9
Thanks for the advice everyone. So it sounds like between a level 4 and 5 tower only, I'd probably want to pick the level 4 (ILG) that is staffed around the national average (and that IMO is in a more desirable location) over the level 5 (POU) that looks like it might have more trainees than CPCs soon, even though the latter might make me a better tower controller to start off?

I agree ILG is a bit more desireable.
 

corn4ahead

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#10
Thanks for the advice everyone. So it sounds like between a level 4 and 5 tower only, I'd probably want to pick the level 4 (ILG) that is staffed around the national average (and that IMO is in a more desirable location) over the level 5 (POU) that looks like it might have more trainees than CPCs soon, even though the latter might make me a better tower controller to start off?
Woof. ILG or POU? Brutal. What are the up/downs on your list?
 

jdatc

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#13
ELM, ERI, FWA, FAR, LFT. And the other towers are ARR, DPA, CSG, DAY. Our list is pretty sad...
Elmira all day long if I was in your shoes. Up/down with a low cost of living.

Then again, if you are from a big city, or hate snow, it’d suck.
 

Jordan

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#15
My facility butts up to ELM, so I am familiar with the ins and outs of the facility... Checkout times are fairly quick... One radar scope... Their staffing is decent... They've let a fair amount of people go and obviously are in the pipeline for 4-5 more so outlook looks good if you'd be trying to get out... O and you can buy a house for the price of a VCR ... Not sure how Dayton's numbers look, but I, too, grew up there. Probably one of the nicest/newer towers in the agency... Can't imagine checkout times are too horrendous there, but if staffing looks decent, I'd take DAY if the radar ticket isn't important to you and if you want a quick checkout and simply the ability to transfer. Can always go to RTF at your next facility, if needed.
 

ajmezz

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ADW Andrews Tower
#16
Had two friends leave from DAY to AUS recently and another person there went to DTW I believe. I know someone currently there that started the same day I started at my facility. He checked out last month, meanwhile I'm struggling just to get hours on position each day and just hit my min's for gc. If you want a quick check out on easy traffic so you can move else where, DAY is the way to go.
 

Homsar

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#17
Fargo is not a bad place to live... Will be there next weekend
Great place to live, not a great facility to work. Their checkout rate is dismal, and their culture has a big part to do with it.

To OP: Like others said , look for a facility with a good checkout rate and where you feel comfortable living. You want to come to work/live happy where you'll be assigned, and you can worry about transferring later. Getting CPC is your number one priority, and selecting a facility with the two criteria I mentioned is imperative to that.
 
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#18
My personal preference would go:
  1. I should go somewhere I would not mind living for several years
  2. the facility with the highest current or projected staffing levels or training success rates or fastest check out times

Experience/qualifications/etc. don't mean anything career wise, so I wouldn't waste time considering those.
How do you find out average facility check out times?