Hi, I was just approved for financing and me going to the school. I’m about to sign off on my last thing before I finalize me joining the program! I was just trying to make a budget for myself for when I’m there and after the program to make sure I’ll be able to still be able to support myself as well as staying on top of payments for salie Mae. so I was just curious with me being atp instructor after the program what I’ll be making? Approximately
Details are in the ATP website but the average ATP instructor earns in the upper $20ks to low $30s. Keep in mind many Regionals are offering Tuition Reimbursement and more important with the new hiring bonuses you could pay off the loan almost immediately.
So what am I supposed to do in those 2 years gaining flight hours before I can join those regional airlines? How am I going to have enough money to support myself and pay for schooling during that period of time?
You can see on ATP’s website that instructors make around $29.5/hr for flight lesson. There are other incentives like students passing their checkrides first-time and tuition reimbursement with airlines. See below link:
The most common path is instructing to time build; however, I know some that have taken the direction of being a charter, aerial photography or banner tower pilot. Even though I’m sure towing a banner is challenging and rewarding, there is something about instructing that really enhances your skills. Below I quoted myself from another thread posting summarizing the different types of jobs and ways you can build time and earn pay.
I am safe to say that while I took sacrifices and mitigated my desire of “wants” I was able to pay my loan and work at ATP. We are humans and sometimes when we see something we like, we can develop this desire to “want.” If you do things right and budget yourself, occasionally you may be able to get that “want.”
I have no idea what you’re current income or expenses are and frankly that’s really something you need to work out. In the last 2yrs alone ATP had over 1200 grads hired by the airlines (and thousands over the 35yrs+ they’ve been training) and EVERY SINGLE ONE of us had the same dilemma but also somehow managed to make it work. This was long before the pilot shortage, first year pay at the Regionals was under $20k and you were very fortunate if you even got an interview. There was no Tuition Reimbursement, hiring bonuses, nada. In fact before I was hired Regional pilots had to pay for their own training and many pilots PAID flight schools to allow them the privilege of instructing and building time.
Its called budgeting, sacrifice etc etc etc. and only you can decide if it’s worth it? For decades pilots had to live on a shoestring for ALOT longer than 2yrs. The fact is this is literally the best time in history to be a pilot and the rewards are higher than ever with senior Capts earning well over $400k but yes it will require some discipline on your part.
Long short where there’s a will there’s a way.
I received Tuition Reimbursement as a CFI and that helped cover my monthly payments. You can read more about the opportunity and which airlines offer it on ATP’s website.
If I were to do it all over again, I would have asked Sallie Mae if I could defer my payments for six months if I paid $25/mo during the program. That would have been another way to keep expenses down, but I managed and it was better to start making the payments anyone since interest was accruing.
This was probably the best decision I made, it definitely helped. I’m sure I could have done it the way you did Tory, but locking my rate and getting a little discount of interest saved me in the end.
Drake, as you can see everyone’s position is different and there are many avenues to take. You really have to sit down and figure out what’s best for you and your tracks. I was skeptical of a variable rate and given the markets at the time of Covid, I was fearful things could spike at any time, so I locked in. You should check in with the finance department and see what they would suggest for your position and outlook.