Atp versus four year school

My daughter who is 19 has some interest in becoming a pilot. She almost has one year of general credits done at a local community school and will more than likely complete another year at the same school.

I was wondering what the general thoughts are concerning going to a college say UND or NDSU or enrolling directly into ATP.

If she goes right into ATP at their facility in Arizona she will have no rent (thank you grandparents) but will still need some money for other needs. I assume the financing provided by ATP just covers course work and not all the other living expenses. In other words, it is possible to work a part time job while going to school at ATP and take the less aggressive course completion time frame?

I think my confusion is that is ATP is just a different path than a four year degree or is the education you receive at UND on par with the education one would receive at ATP?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and guidance.


To begin with, I would encourage your daughter to come on here and join the discussion as this is her career we are talking about.

It is not possible to work while enrolled in ATP’s programs, it is a highly condensed course that simply does not have enough free time available for work, plus the schedule demands can vary widely based on weather and operational needs. There is no less aggressive course completion time frame at ATP, everybody is on the same program.

Most students take out an additional amount of money per month as part of their loan that can be used to cover living expenses while in the program, you will need to speak to the admissions department for specifics on that.

I am not a fan of aviation colleges and degrees for a couple reasons. First, they tend to be incredibly expensive relative to what college and ATP together cost. Secondly, the degree is worthless outside of aviation. With a degree in something like business, your daughter would have something to fall back on should she ever need to. Thirdly, aviation colleges do not fly everyday or even almost everyday. At ATP your daughter will spend almost everyday either in an airplane or a flight training device. This helps to build and consolidate skills and is exactly how the airlines train pilots.

Feel free for you or your daughter to ask further questions as you think of them.


Thank you very much for your feedback Chris and yes, I will have my daughter check out this site as it contains a lot of great information and insights.


I respect these guys opinions but at that young of an age and considering she’s going to have to get a degree to get into the majors it’s hard to say her away from an aviation college. With a degree in aviation business that will translate anywhere into the business world and her flying will count towards her degree. Hour requirements are also much less to get atp-r which she would qualify for. But there is also downsides as it’s not a accelerated program like atp but I have had friend who did their trading in college and if they could keep the bank account up they could accelerate the program as much as they wanted. One got all his ratings in a year while in school. Huge accomplishment. Biggest war in I would say with a college or any flight school for that matter is ask question and lost of them. If your not worried about the school advisor your talking to blocking your phone number or email your probably not asking enough question. Your the facility’s and talk to students away from instructors and school staff to see what it’s really like. At her age I would recommend going the college route but make sure it’s the right college for y’all and that you can have all flying funds ready upfront so that money doesn’t slow her down.


Since you’ve chosen to chime in on ALL the college related posts again:


While I agree different paths may be better for some individuals I can’t completely agree with your post. First off someone could easily get their degree at community, local or online AND go to ATP for well under the $100k+ they’re going to spend at most aviation degree programs. As Chris pointed out if something should occur to derail their career as a pilot (by choice or otherwise) having a degree in some other field can be very beneficial. Finally while you’re correct a grad of an aviation program could get their R-ATP at 1000hrs., if the goal is to be expeditious that certainly isn’t that quickest route. That and the new low time pilot still must find a way to build that time vs ATPs guaranteed instructor position.


Thank you Adam for your response. Personally I like the idea of two years of community school, followed by ATP, build hours, and then finish up a college degree while in the regional airlines. I just wish money grew on trees!

Thank you Grant and yes you are correct, you have to ask a lot of questions to map out the best possible scenario.

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