Atp VS mom and pop VS community collge

Hey everyone, I was wondering if anyone attended ATP at the St pete location. The biggest thing really holding me back is that it’s mostly self study, starting from zero time it worries me that I won’t be able to keep up in the program. My community college has an aerospace program that allows you to graduate with the same ratings with a diploma and get an ratp. However I feel like atp is better for graduates since they have alot of agreements with many diffrent reginal airlines and it’ll be quicker. my community college only has one with express jet. there’s also a mom and pop school at my local air port that offers everything cheaper. I’m honestly not sure which one to go with here. Dose it really matter where you get your training? Do those signed agreements really make a difference? Thank you and I apologize for the barrage of questions.
Correction: my community college offers a bachelor’s as well in this specific track.

Hey Michael,

Those are all of the right questions to be asking. I won’t be able to
answer them for you, but I will try to put things into perspective for you.
My suggestion to you is to figure out which school is right for you based
on previous life experiences. ATP is not for everyone. As you mentioned
most of it requires a lot of self study. The instructors still provide
ground instruction though. So, don’t think that you are entirely on your
own. I will share my story. I think it will help.

I have personal experience with both self-paced and fast-track programs and
have taught students at ATP with all different types of backgrounds. I got
my Private Pilot License at a mom and pop school before I started ATP. It
was fun, they had good rates, and it was the right thing for me to do at
that time in my life, mainly because I didn’t have the discipline for ATP
yet. That took about 3 months. After receiving my PPL I joined ATP. Even
though I was a Private Pilot there was a HUGE learning curve! I quickly
realized that ATP was on a whole different level, BUT by week two I had the
confidence necessary to see it through. So, moral of that story…that was
MY path and it worked for me. Starting off at a self-paced school was good
for me because it gave me the extra time that I needed to absorb
information without the pressure of a fast-paced schedule…and it was nice
knowing that I didn’t have a giant loan hovering over my head. Taking out a
loan that size before knowing that you have what it takes to get through a
program like ATP’s can be frightening.

Fast-forward 7 months and now I am an instructor. As I gained more
experience, I realized that it was easier to mold the student from zero
than it was to break all of the bad habits for the student that came from
elsewhere. But remember, I WAS that student with bad habits. I knew what it
was like to be in their shoes. With enough patience, the students that came
to ATP after Private did just fine.

So, YES. It does matter where you get your ratings from. Based on my
experiences thus far, an ATP graduate outperforms other pilots of a similar
level. BUT choose your path for the right reasons. ATP creates quality
pilots and with their connections with so many regionals, their program is
unmatched. Other schools may be able to provide the same ratings for a
lower price, but that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Both are flight
schools, but compare each school’s program. I wouldn’t be surprised if the
cheaper school offered less multi engine time and less total time.

You also mentioned that you are attending a community college. If you plan
on flying for a major airline, keep in mind that they require a four-year
degree. It may be in your best interest to stay in school before starting
flight training.

When you’re ready, schedule as many tours and intro flights as it takes for
you to decide which path is right for you.



We need to be clear on one very important thing. A com munity college will only offer you an associate’s degree, the major airlines will want to see a full bachelor’s degree.

In one sense it does not really matter where you get your flight training from, everybody passes the same FAA checkrides. On the other hand, airlines like to hire ATP graduates as they have a proven track record of being successful in airline training. The signed letters of agreement do matter, just look at the “Airline Placements” on ATP’s main page to see how many pilots have been hired by the airlines.

Be careful of the prices at the mom and pop school. A lot of times they will quote the bare minimums to come up with the prices, yet very few people will be able to finish in that time frame. Be sure to ask them how many hours most students actually take.


Tory, what were you averaging hours wise per month while instructing?


I always scratch my head a little when people say they’re concerned about the “self-study” aspect or pace of ATP. While it’s a valid concern I think a bigger concern should be if you don’t believe you can keep up with ATP’s curriculum what makes you believe you can keep up with actual airline training? People like the local flight schools because they allow you to train and progress at your own pace. I can tell you the airlines will not. ATP modeled their training after actual airline training programs to prepare pilots for what to expect when they get to the airlines.

Do the agreements really matter? Right now the Regionals are hiring like crazy so if you have the licenses, ratings and time you will get hired. The difference is it’s kind of nice to have the Regionals soliciting YOU at 500hrs, willing to offer you a position and give you Tuition Reimbursement. I’d say that matters.

Finally as far as cheaper goes, while the local flight school might have lower “rates” how many hours will it take you? It took me almost 2yrs and a whole lot more than ATP would charge to get my PPL.

Just some thoughts,


On average 55 hours/month. I was fine with that. I didn’t decide to fly to become rich. If I flew any more than that I would have been forced to skimp out on ground lessons. My students were very appreciative of the quality and quantity of ground I gave them. Never had a student fail an oral.

Is that the average amount of hours a flight instructers get? 7.50 an hour dosnt sound very appealing nor do I think it would be sufficient to cover the big loan bill.


I don’t know what the average instructor gets. It’s probably between 60-75.
ATP has a tiered pay scale. Pay ranges between $7.50 to $20/hr. You can
look at all the numbers here: