Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP now?

Hello all,
I’ve asked a few questions regarding this before but will get into more detail. I’m currently a sophomore in college going for a business degree and also 2/3 way done my PPL at a local flight school. I understand seniority is everything, so sooner i start the sooner I can get to airlines. I would love to start ATP after I finish up my school year. Complete ATP and then instruct with them. During that whole time I would not do school. Hopefully when I become CFI and/or FO in regionals I finish the rest of my schooling online. Do you know if it’s possible to have my credits transfer over to online school even after about 2 years of no school? Does this plan sound good? Or to finish college and then do ATP which may take longer to get to regionals. Hope this makes sense.

Thanks, Jesse

Hey Jesse,

What you are asking is really a college question and it is 100% on the school you are intending to transfer to about what they will or won’t accept for transfer credits. You will have to contact the various schools you are interested in to find out how they transfer credits as there are no standard rules.

I wouldn’t presume to tell you what choice to make its your life you have to be good with the choices you make. What I can tell you though is I enjoyed college, the skills and friends you learn and make there will follow you for the rest of your life. There is so much more to college than just the classroom, it is really more a time of self discovery in a semi controlled environment. Looking back on it I wouldn’t give up my college experience for anything. Any time that college comes up I am reminded of the accomplishment of graduating but also of the ride that it was. While online will get you through to a piece of paper the ride doesn’t begin to compare.

Hope that helps

John thanks for you input, i appreciate it! Is something to think about because I am involved in the school (clubs, sports, etc.)


I would really recommend that you finish college now while you are still in the school mode. It is just easier to graduate from where you started and you certainly won’t have to worry about credits transferring. Going back to school can be a lot harder than it sounds, I would hate to see you get trapped by that, I would also recommend that you go ahead and finish your private, then just bide your time until you graduate college before resuming your flight training. BTW, that is exactly what I did and it worked out rather well for me.


Thanks Chris! I’m really considering that because if I kept with my local flight school it would just take so much longer.


I’m going to play Devil’s advocate and take an opposing view for purposes of this discussion. While I, like everyone else, agrees the prudent thing to do is finish your degree than start flying, I do know people who have gone the route you propose. Some were successful, others were not. There is no question seniority is HUGE at the airlines and sooner is always better. As I said it could be done BUT first I’d start investigating online schools and see what you can and can not transfer. Second you have to take a very honest self assessment and determine if after you’re out there flying the line, will you have the discipline to study on your down time? As I said some do well, others don’t.


Finding out just how much you can transfer in is key. Schools have limits on how many credits you can transfer, many of them limit that to sixty, but every school has their own policy. Call around to Embry Riddle Wordwide or Utah Valley University and see what they will be willing to accept.

Thanks Adam and Chris! I will do some more research on this.

Jesse, I’m not a pilot (yet) but I have a ton of experience when it comes to transferring between colleges. I did 20 years in the military (recently retried) and during that time I earned my bachelors degree. Due to deployments, training, and change of duty stations it took me about 14 years to get my degree. In total I attended six colleges and universities. If I had to guess I earned over 160 credit hours before I earned my bachelor’s degree, which would have only required 120 credit hours to obtain if I had gone to that college alone. As you may have guessed this was due to my constant need to transfer between these institutions of higher learning (keep in mind, online college was not much of an option at one time and the first online colleges were not that reputable). Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is you will loose credit hours when you transfer. Many if not most universities require you to take at least 60 credit hours with them to earn a degree. In other words for a 120 credit hour bachelors degree they will only allow you to transfer half of the required credit hours and even then there’s no guarantee they will accept that many. In my biased opinion I think you should finish your degree first. It will get it off your plate and allow you to concentrate on your trade. Believe me, if you can avoid it you don’t want to work a full time job while chasing your degree. Admittedly, my situation is an extreme example. Not many people have to go to Iraq in the middle of pursuing their degree.

Thanks Jack, I’m considering finishing college more and more now. Got to weigh out all my options.
@Chris and @Adam, if I were to start in another 2 or 2 and half years, I know I’m able to get my written tests done early, but is there a expiration on them or anything. So if I got my instrument written test done within next couple of months but wasn’t practicing my instrument for another 2 years is that a problem?


The score reports that you will receive are valid for 2 years. Don’t rush.


Thanks @Yarden, makes sense!