Age 20, half of college done. Should I go to ATP or continue college?

I’m 20 years old and have about 10 flight hours. I’m determined that the airline pilot career is what I want. A close friend of mine who is a delta captain doing long haul routes told me delta is planning to hire 8-10k pilots in next 10 years. I wanna be there for this to ride that shortage wave to better position myself for those good jobs.

He told me I should get my ratings ASAP and finish college thru online or night classes after I got my ratings squared away. I like this idea but want to get any other perspective or recommendations. Should I attend ATP full time and get all my ratings or finish up college first? I’m leaning towards getting those flight hours as being a higher priority in order to get into the pipeline sooner. Thoughts?


The choice is yours. While I agree with your friend that sooner is better, many people find online university study to be challenging as it requires a considerable amount of self-discipline. Many who plan to complete their educations never do an end up stuck.

You need to be honest with yourself. If you believe you can successfully complete your degree then sure but if you have any doubts stay in school and finish up. It’s also always a good idea to have a backup plan in case aviation doesn’t work out.



I agree with Adam. You need to be completely honest with yourself and do what is best for you.



If you can truly be dedicated and finish the degree later, then that is the faster course of action. Just make sure that you actually finish the degree as the majors will want to see one.