Airline pilot through college and flight training?

Hello, i just wanted anyone to orientate me a bit about my plan, actually I wanna get into a college in los angeles (usc viterbi, cal state) to get a degree (about aviation administration or so) as i have seen that getting a college degree is the best way to go AND at the same time go to a flight school to get my licenses.
So i wanted to know if anybody had an idea about the fortune:grin::grin: it would cost from start to end (i mean all 4 years of college and flight school) because i keep telling myself it would cost around $100 000 per year if you sum up college money plus flight school money and this would make almost HALF A MILLION DOLLARS :scream:.
Another way i think about is to get to embry riddle, ohio state university, university of north dakota, jacksonville state university or the likes where i can get all the package in one place although its problem is that it’s not in los angeles


I am not expert on tuition costs, but that sounds really expensive. When I looked up USC it was $69,000 per year, so four years is roughly $280,000, add $66,000 for ATP and that is $366,000. While that is very expensive, it is certainly not half a million dollars.

There are schools that offer flight training and a degree, but you will likely find that they are just as expensive as the other schools you mentioned.

If cost is a concern, I would look at less expensive schools, to include the option of going to a community college for two years, then transferring to a four year school to finish up the degree, then attend a fast track school like ATP. I believe you will find that this is by far the least expensive path towards your goal of accomplishing flight training and having a degree.

Remember that education is an investment. I wouldn’t make nearly the money that I do if I hadn’t invested in college and flight training.


There are many aviation degree programs out there (Riddle is probably the best known). However to be honest as this is ATPs site we’re all most familiar with ATP’s training program vs degree programs. As such I have no idea how much a degree PLUS all the flight training would cost and I recommend you contact the schools you’re considering directly. That said if cost is a consideration you might want to entertain another route which seems to have become the most efficient and economical these days. You see the thing is in addition to the high cost of most university aviation programs they also take a considerable amount of time to get you flying. The reason is after you graduate in 4yrs you still need to build flight time to get hired by a Regional. A popular option is to get your 2yr degree (at a local community college), complete an accelerated training program like ATPs, immediately after begin to work as a flight instructor (get PAID to fly vs paying AND receive Tuition Reimbursement), get hired at a Regional in about 2yrs (about the same time you’d be graduating from the 4yr school) and then complete your 4yr degree online with Riddle (or another university) with credit from your 2yr PLUS credit for your aviation licenses and ratings. What this does is save you a TON of money but more important it gets you a seniority number at an airline 2yrs+ before your peers at the 4yr school.

Not trying to sell you just offering a different plan to consider.


Wow that’s one quick answer ! I thought it would be for some day next month :smile: :smile:. Actually, i’m 20 years old and will turn 21 in july. I have read your past responses and i saw about community college, online… but my thing is really to go to a 4 year college (as i said preferably learning aviation) and at some point DURING college, get to ATP. They say you need at least an associates degree, so my question is if it will be fine with 2 years at a 4 year college since it is 2 years for 2 years. and thanks for correcting me about 'half a million dollars" :grin:. It’s cool because if i manage to find a $30 000 college, 4 years of it will be $120 000 plus 66 000 for ATP and it will be $186 000, way down the HALF A MILLION DOLLAR LOL:smile::sweat_smile:
By the way, will I get ALL the training at ATP for that amount of money ? (yes, next to weight, money is the force that brings me and my airplane dream down)
You can’t see me right now but i feel so good speaking to REAL active pilots, Thank you so much

hello Adam, i couldn’t add your name to the reply but it was for both of Chris and you, thanks :slight_smile:


If you read ATPs entry requirements it actually says you need a 2yr degree OR 60 credit so you should be fine. That said you need to know you will not be training at ATP while you’re at college. ATP is a FULL-TIME, 5 days a week (sometimes more) accelerated intensive program. Not only would you physically be unable to be training and attending classes the work load would be so intense either your flying or college education would surely suffer. You would need complete your 4yr degree and THEN train at ATP after, perhaps do the 2yr degree, train, then finish OR look for a 4yr degree program that also offers flight training. Btw, ASU (Arizona State University) actually uses ATP for their flight training program, however it’s not the same Career Pilot Program as far as time line goes.


ok so I’m seriously considering to do the 4 years of college and then getting to ATP, how long does it take for the ATP flight training ? And $66 000 is for all the training at ATP, isn’t it ? I’m sorry to ask, you might have seen these exact same questions again and again, I’m sorry :innocent:


The ATP training is only 9mos. but know that when you’re done with your training you will then need to build time up to the 1500hrs required to fly for an airline. The most common method is to then flight instruct. The average time to achieve the 1500hrs is approx. 2yrs. So to total you’re looking at 4yr degree + 9mos training + 1.5-2yrs instructing = 6-7yrs before you’re at an airline. I have to be honest, while I’m a huge fan of ATPs IF you’re heart is set on a 4yr degree I would seriously consider looking at some of the degree programs which also offer flight training (Riddle, ASU, etc). The reason for that is that if you complete a qualifying degree program you “could” potentially reduce the hours required to 1,000. Then you’d only be looking at 1yr or so to build the time and you’re at an airline in 5 saving you a year or 2. Of course again those programs are generally very expensive. Just laying out your options.


Alright, guess i’ll have to make a choice ! how much is schools like embry riddle ? I’ve seen almost $100 000

Again you’d need to contact the schools themselves.

Oh and I neglected in the last response. ATP is $66K which includes everything but examiner fees (which are paid directly to the examiner) and required supplies (headset, iPad etc).


I was telling myself if you go to community college then do the ATP then get back to finish a degree at a college it will still be around 6 7 years ! So I’m not seeing a very good way to become a pilot, but anyway, i will look at all those possibilities, as I said, I’m 20 and may be starting it all at 21 so 27 28 is that funny to finally get what you always wanted. But anyway, thank you very much

Or another solution would be to start college and after 2 years and 60 credits, you kind of take a one year break doing the ATP flight training and then get back to college for your junior year and do at the same time the flight instruction. What i actually want to avoid is the changing of college like you get to this community college then you switch and all that, that’s what i want to prevent.

I think this is a good consensus right ?:unamused:


There are many ways to skin a cat. The best solution is what works best for you.


thank you