15 and wants answers for future

So Im fifteen and Ive been thinking about going to a flight school down the road (Probably at twenty) and I was wondering, 85k is a lot of money so to get to my point do you pay the tuition up front or during your training? if someone could help me out that would be great thanks.


The vast majority of pilots take loans to pay for their training. The payments usually start after you’ve completed training when you’re actually working. Very similar to student loans.


If you do ATP’s program you can either pay out of pocket or through a loan with sallie Mae. Either way, the payments will be due along the way not all upfront. The first payment is due on your first day, the second one about 3 months later, etc. It’s either coming out of your personal account or your loan account. With a loan you wouldn’t have to pay a dime on it until 6 months after you graduate. You can get the payment schedule from the financing department for more specific details.


Adam and Hannah

Thank you for your help and could I also inquire about being a CFI, specifically how long will it take to gain my 500hr of experience working for ATP as a CFI and does the rest of the course have to stop until I gain my 500hr or do you gain your 500hr after completing the course? I looked at the timeline and it doesn’t give a time for gain your 500hr. I am unsure about how to go about gain my 500hr do you have a recommendation other than being a CFI through ATP and also could you clarify that if I am not a CFI for ATP I’ll lose my tuition reimbursement? And is the tuition reimbursement from the airline that I agree to fly for separate from the tuition reimbursement from the school or is it the same thing?
If you have an answer I would be very appreciative.


And also If I understand right I’ll probably need to go to a different ATP site to gain my hrs as a CFI and that’s the part that gets me worried I don’t want to be too far away from my family
however If the locations are right there are 8 locations in Florida (which is where I will live in a couple months) so hopefully I’ll be able to go to a ATP close by.



There seems to be a little confusion. First I think you mean the 1500hrs to fly for an airline as there are no gates etc at 500hrs. There is no requirement to be a flight instructor but it’s the most common route to build your hours as there aren’t many other jobs for low time pilots. Tuition reimbursement comes from the airline and yes that comes with the stipulation you instruct for ATP.

Finally I want to address your concerns about leaving home. ATP will send you away for not just CFI but for crew. Further pilots travel from home, that is the nature of the job. The soonest you’ll be at ATP is in 3 yrs. Hopefully by then you’ll be more comfortable with the idea.

I also recommend you spend some time on the ATP website and our FAQ section as we address many common questions.



I really appreciate your desire for answers here, but you are putting the cart way before the horse. We can answer your questions, but the answers could very well change by the time you attend flight training.

You will need 1,500 hours to get to the airlines, not 500. It usually takes 1.5 to 2 years for an instructor to build that time. I recommend being a CFI for ATP, it is the best way to build both your flight time and knowledge. It is also the only way that makes on eligible for ATP’s Tuition Reimbursement program. Tuition Reimbursement comes from the airline, not the school, but you have to be with ATP to be eligible to receive it.


Chris and Adam

Thank you for both your answers, comments and especially your advice.
I am sorry for the misunderstanding about the experience hrs thank you for letting me know also I was not aware of taking crew at a different location so thank you for that as well.
I will try my best to take into account all of your advice, that is the good thing about learning some of these things earlier on so that I might better understand what I’m getting into before its too late again thank you so much.
But I have a few more quick question for tonight that you don’t have to answer right now just when you have time if you would like to answer at all I won’t hold it against you or ATP if you wish I stop asking questions, so that being said what is the pilot life like what are your average hrs and how much off time do you get, is it really taxing or is it a job that you can have while taking care of a family? (wether that is my parents or a wife and kids that is all far into the future) I would like to understand more about this career before I make any commitments. My father mentioned going into the military for aviation however I don’t want to go into the military just to learn aviation for free on a different more important note is it possible to make sure you don’t work Sundays at all unless under special circumstances?
And also I have a house somewhere how often may I expect to be home (I understand that flying around the world going places is part of the job which is why I ask these questions so if it is not ideal to raise a family I will know before I make commitments)
If you have any input, be it answers or advice I thank you in advance.


If I have a house somewhere


We’re here to answer as many questions as you have.

Schedules - Airline Pilot Life Here you will find our schedules. That should give you a basic understanding of quality of life and such. A quick word about Sunday’s, no airline will make special exceptions. Your schedule will be dictated by your seniority within the company. Every pilot should expect to work weekends until they have the seniority to avoid working weekends.

As for raising a family, obviously pilots don’t have a traditional schedule but that doesn’t mean families are out of the question. A good support system for your spouse or whomever will be raising your children is key. My wife is a teacher. I think a teacher’s schedule is very convenient actually. Same days off as the kids more or less.

I’m glad you feel the way you do about joining the military to fly. Not a good idea unless your primary purpose for joining is to serve the country. The majority of pilots these days trained as civilians by the way.

Frequently Asked Questions - Airline Pilot Life If you haven’t already there’s a lot of useful information here. We’ve tried our best to put together a comprehensive list of some of the most FAQs.

Let us know what other questions you have.