Applying to ATP at a Commercial Rating Questions

Hello All,

My name is Liam and I am a senior in high school. I would like to work for a major airline in the future (United, American, etc.). I have my commercial pilot’s license and am debating on my next step in life.
My family is not the richest and I can see the costs of going to maybe an aviation college or going to ATP to get my CFII then immediately working to gain my hours. Is it a bad idea to go to a place like ATP immediately after high school to work towards a major airline, or would I get shot down when I get to United or another major airline? Or would it be smarter to go to an aviation college and get a degree while flying? Not sure if my question makes sense, but anything helps, and if you have any other ideas please let me know. Also, drop some good colleges to research as well, and if you recommend aviate or envoy, etc, and if I should research those too? I know becoming a pilot is an expensive ambition, but I believe anything is possible, and I know I can make it work. Thanks in advance!!!


Well you’ve already got your CPL so you’re well ahead of many others. Thing is if you aspire to fly for a Major you are going to need a degree to be competitive. That said I would not waste time and money on an aviation degree. They offer no benefit and are often very expensive. If money is a factor (and it must often is) I’d do my core classes at a community College and then finish up elsewhere. While I recommend finishing college first (at least 2yrs). You could get credit for your licenses and ratings and finish up online after.

As for ATP, I think that’s a far better idea than an overpriced aviation university and recommend you contact them for pricing on just don’t your CFIs.



With already having your commercial, you are past the point where ATP can help you. I recommend getting your CFIs and commercial licenses at a local school and then getting to work building hours.

I would also recommend that you not get an aviation degree and instead focus on getting a degree in something other than aviation. This way you have something to fall back on would you ever need to. On the college front, I would recommend going to a four year, state school. It does not need to be fancy, but you do need to have a four year degree.


You’re quite advanced with your ratings for being so young. That really is impressive. Unfortunately you are past any of the ATP program entry points so you’ll have to finish out on your own. I think you should enroll in community college and work on getting your CFI, CFII and comm multi at a local school nearby. This way, you save money on college but still get that degree you need for the majors. Study something you enjoy and one that can provide a good backup career in case you need it. Once you get your CFI you can start time building and earning an income. Eventually start on your CFII so you can expand the kind of teaching you can do (plus the airlines love to see CFIIs). Then get your multi whenever you can before nearing your 1500. You just need 25 in the actual airplane to meet the FAR requirements for the ATP certificate.
The fastest timeline: get your CFI, CFII, comm multi and 1500 hrs in the two years it takes you to complete your associates degree. You could be hired by a regional at 21. Then complete the last two years to earn a bachelors degree while at the regionals.
Or you could do all four years of college while time building at a more relaxed pace. You would still be 23 by the time you’re at a regional and still the youngest of the pack!