About to Finish ATP, now what?

Hey everyone it’s me again! After some step backs (CFI first try fail) and a lot of ratings. I can thankfully say that I’m finally starting to see the end of the tunnel here. I finished my CFII rating about a week ago and I have my Com Multi checkride the 19th, getting ready for it!
Now that I’m getting close to being done with ATP, I’m starting to think what to do after.
Here are some of my options, hopefully I could get advices from you guys!

My first option is really straight forward. Finishing ATP and then start to instruct, either with ATP or another flight school. The goal is to build hours as fast as possible to get to that regional as fast as possible.

Second option is getting into college and getting an aviation degree. I’ve heard a lot of pros and cons about this option, Mostly cons.
A lot of people seem to think this is a waste of time and money. I honestly think it might not be a really bad option, mainly because of possible connections I would build, and I would like to think that the extra knowledge I gain is going to help me at some point in my career.
I know this would be betting it all in a pilot career, which is a risk I could be willing to take.

And my last and third option is getting a degree but not in aviation (most likely finance).
Playing it safe here. Since I don’t really need an aviation degree for a major ( not that I need a degree at all) it’s preferred, and that preference is for any bachelors. So basically just choosing it as a “plan B”.

I should also add that I’m really lucky and my dad would help me pay for either, so it’s just a matter of choosing what I think would prepare me the most for a job at a major, which is my ultimate goal. Thanks everyone!!!


Congrats on nearly completing the program. That’s a big accomplishment. As you browse the forum you’ll see our advice is to keep flying to stay proficient and headed towards the regionals. Once you get to the regionals, you can pursue a degree.

The worst thing you could do would be to stop flying all together for college. The gap in flight time would not only be detrimental to your flight proficiency but would also be a glaring issue on your future applications.

When at the regionals, you could get credit for your ratings toward an aviation degree. Typically we advise a back up in anything other than aviation, however, you could save a lot of time and money this way.



Honestly I’m confused by your question. If you’ve been on this forum before you know we ALWAYS recommend college first and that’s it’s always a good idea to complete your education first. You didn’t (which is your choice) and decided to go straight to ATP. Generally people go straight to ATP and bypass college because they’re anxious to start their careers. You’re wrapping up the program and now you want to delay your progress to the airlines? Why? The skills and knowledge you’ve learned are perishable (ie, use them or lose them) so why not use them? While I also usually agree aviation degrees are pointless, again you started on this path and you’ve almost completed your training. It appears you want to be a pilot and by going to training immediately you’ve essentially gone “all in” so why not continue? I disagree when you said you don’t need a degree. No it’s not required but preferred means competitive and that’s really what you want to be to advance in this career.

Anyway again I’m confused? It sounds like maybe you’re having second thoughts about flying as a career (which again is why we recommend school first). If that’s the case then maybe take some time with school but if not I see only one path. Build your time. Get hired at a Regional and while you’re their get an aviation degree online with credit for your licenses and ratings then move on to a Major. What am I missing?



This is the first time that I have heard of anyone considering college after flight school, before flight instructing. That would be going backwards.

I would recommend instructing after the program and finishing your degree online while at a regional. Honestly, in my opinion you haven’t completely missed your opportunity to earn your four-year degree, but the next step should be instructing to build time for the regionals.

If and when you do decide to take college classes, I would choose anything other than an aviation degree. Aviation degrees will give you no advantage whatsoever.