Advice for high school students

I am a sixteen year old male in high school and I will graduate in two years with a diploma and an associates degree. I have been looking into piloting for quite some time. ATP has recently caught my eye with “too good to be true” advertisements. As much as I would like to attend this school, I do not have much knowledge on where to start in a professional aviation career. That is why I am here hoping to get some insights on many things. Which school location do I attend? How do the loans work? How do I achieve the different ratings? I would really appreciate someone helping me out. Thanks so much.


I will offer you the same advice we give ALL high school students, continue your education. Work and study hard, get yourself a 4yr degree in something you might also be interested in as a back up. Then, after you graduate, focus all your attention on flight training. Beyond that if you’re really interested in being a pilot you’ll spend some time reading the posts on this forum as they will answer the all the questions you have.


I appreciate that Adam! I was hoping you could answer a few question for me? What are ratings? What is the difference between a first officer and a captain? What is a CFII?


You appreciate it but you’re still not willing to do any searching or independent reading? OK, here are some answers.

  1. Ratings are basically “permissions” granted by the FAA to allow you to fly in certain conditions or fly certain aircrafts. Things like multi-engine rating will allow you to fly an airplane with more than 1 engine. An Instrument rating allows you to fly an airplane when the conditions outside are below VMC (Visual Meteorological Conditions, ie, in the clouds when you can’t see. There are many you need to earn to be a professional.

  2. The Capt is the Pilot in Command and responsible for the safe operation of any aircraft. Many aircraft require at least 2 pilots to fly them. While both pilots share the duties and responsibilities only one is Pilot in Command or the Captain.

  3. CFII: is a Certified Flight Instructor Instrument. It’s an Instructor “Rating” which allows a CFI to teach Instrument flying to pilots who want to earn their Instrument rating.

Ryan one of the reasons ATP will not allow students directly out of High School to enter the program is because most HS students don’t have the discipline or the work ethic required to be successful in the program. The program requires a tremendous amount of self-study as does airline training. I appreciate you’re young but this exchange is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. You’ve come on this forum and you want answers to your questions but even when directed to take a few minutes to research the answers for yourself you chose to simply ask again. If this were an “entry exam” you would have failed. Again I respectfully ask you to take some time reading some of the hundreds of posts freely available to you in order to gain knowledge. If it’s not worth your time and energy this might not be the right career for you?


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