Advice for my future

Dear fellow aviators,

Greetings to all. From a young age, I’ve held immense respect for pilots, fostering a deep interest in the captivating world of aviation. Now, at 23, having accumulated 48 college credits towards a bachelors degree not related to aviation, I’ve come to the realization that pursuing a career as a pilot is my true calling. I’ve done some discovery flights and started to study on my own to fulfill this aspiration.

My idea is after this semester ends start my flight training and transfer my current college credits to obtain an associates degree that can be done online after I am done with my flight training and hopefully working as a CFI.

I’ve secured a loan approval of $70,000 which will be enough to cover all my “0 to hero” since I also have some saved money, the terms are 10-year term at a 14% interest rate, translating to a monthly payment of $1,450. The loan allows for a minimum payment option for the initial 24/36 months or until I attain the required hours for my ATP. At the beginning it sounded really good to me, however, after reading many stories on reddit about people taking out loans to pay for flight school I got a little scared about doing this since theres no going back after taking a big loan like that. The irreversible nature of such a substantial financial commitment gives me pause.

I seek your counsel—is this a sound decision? I have the idea that after I meet my requirements for my ATP and start working at a regional I am going to be able to make the monthly payments maybe not super comfortable but definitely getting better as my seniority increases. I am just scared on taking the loan and then being stuck after my CPL and not being able to find a job to complete my hours as fast as I think, is a source of anxiety.

I am very disciplined and committed, this is my passion.
I have no current debt from my college credits.

Your valuable insights and advice on this pivotal decision would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,
Luis Llerenas


The thing I always find interesting is people are always concerned about loan payments once they complete training, but no one ever seems concerned about successfully completing training? Flight training is challenging and the fact is many people are just lousy pilots and aren’t successful. To me, that’s should be the real concern.

As for what you’re asking about frankly I don’t think that’s an issue at all. Not that long ago, Regional pilots earned less than $20k a year. That required taking a huge leap of faith and a ton of sacrifice IF you were fortunate enough to even get an interview. The pilot shortage changed all that. Salaries have increased by 4-5 times with first year Regional FOs making $80k. Many are offering signing bonuses of over $100k that would allow you to pay off your loan immediately. With that in mind, again I don’t really see you concern?

The real question should be what can I do to increase my odds of success. ATP has been training pilots for the airlines for almost 40yrs and has had over 1,000 hired in the last 12mos alone. ATP has 80+ locations which means IF you’re successful in training you will be offered an instructor position with the busiest flight school in the country. They also have partnerships with virtually every airline in the country including their Direct Entry program with Frontier, Spirit and Avelo which would allow you to bypass the Regionals as soon as you build your 1500hrs.

Just some food for thought.


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Just to clarify a point here, an associate’s degree is not really thought of as a degree, it is more like a “halfway there” certificate on the way to an undergraduate degree, which is what the majors will want to see.

What flight school are you considering going to?