Basic Questions with a Twist

Hey folks! I’m new here and this is my first post. Please push it to whatever topic it needs to be in if needed. My name is Jon. I’m from central Texas and am hopefully an aspiring commercial pilot. I’ve been reading topics on here and other resources for a while as I try to compile info. Currently, I work as a medic for a fairly robust 911 system.

First question: I work nights, is pilot school able to be completed working nights? I read others say that any job is too much but nothing regarding working nights. I would like to remain employed to cover bills and such, but I do have options

Second: We own the home we live in, can I opt for a Sallie May loan and only cover school related expenses or do I also have to cover living expenses? I could use this as a substitute for my necessities if I cannot hold a job, however that would be secondary

Third: Are classes a monday-friday ordeal, or do I schedule each class on my own time?

Fourth: I really want to use ATP as I hear nothing but great things from them, and I live fairly close to a school center. Going though their class, how would going into a cadet program for Envoy or potentially another company work? Do companies offer any loan reimbursement or help finishing up your minimum hours? How many hours could I look at having when graduating the academy with ATP?

Thank you in advance for everyone’s time, effort and expertise for my, I’m sure vast array and vague, questions. If its easier to copy and paste a link for me to read, please do. Hope to be sitting next to some of y’all in the coming years! Fly safe!

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Welcome to the forum. Let’s get to your questions.

  1. I am assuming that you mean ATP Flight School. I would ask you this, let’s say you train by day and work by night. When are you going to sleep? I know that medics are on call and often get several hours of sleep, but what happens when that alarm goes off at 2am for a big crash and you have a flight at 7am, will you be rested for that flight? How well do you think you will do? Working of any sort, especially at night, is prohibited while in ATP’s program and for very good reason. I understand the need to keep the income coming in, but you will need to find another way.

  2. I am not entirely sure what you are asking here. You can take out a loan to just cover the cost of flight training, or you can take out an additional amount to cover living expenses. The choice is yours and what you get approved for.

  3. Classes are a Monday through Friday ordeal with occasional weekends. You will not set the schedule, your instructors will.

  4. To apply for ATP’s sponsored cadet programs, you need to work as a flight instructor for ATP. Generally around the 500 hour mark, you can begin applying to the airline cadet programs. Many do offer Tuition Reimbursement, you can read more here: Compare Airline Sponsored Assistance for Pilots / ATP Flight School

You will have 245 hours of flight time when completing ATP’s program, you can read more on that here: Airline Career Pilot Program / ATP Flight School

I hope this helped answer your questions. Please let us know what other questions you have.



We’re happy to answer, but there really is no twist to your questions. Your situation is no different then anyone else’s, it’s just yours.

  1. No. The reason the ATP program is so successful is because it allows you to condense what usually takes years into months. This is done by training daily like the airlines and the military do. This affords little time for anything beyond study and sleep. Try and work nights and you may very likely fail which will leave you with nothing more than a huge loan and nothing to show for it.

  2. Of course. This is America and you can do as you like.

  3. Generally Mon-Fri but there will most certainly be weekends from time to time. If you’re pondering have the weekends off for family, friends and chilling don’t. While you may have some down time in all likelihood you’ll be using it to study and rest.

  4. Chris covered this well. You may have the opportunity to enroll in some of the cadet programs. That’s contigent on you doing well. While they’re somewhat desperate right now, the airlines don’t like pilots with checkride failures. Those most often come from pilots who either don’t put in the work or try and maintain other jobs.



Welcome to the forum! I wanted to provide more clarity on your question regarding financing and the loan amount.

Though an option, you are not required to include additional funds for housing/living expenses in the loan. I’ve included a link to our cost of attendance calculator so that you can determine what you would like to include in financing - Sallie Mae Application FAQ / ATP Flight School

Hope this helps!

Chris, thank you so much for your response. I felt foolish afterwards because overnight i found all the answers for the questions I had, online while reading further. Ill keep the post up incase there are folks with the same questions who havent read other articles!

For what its worth, im thinking that this is a good career change and that I want to do this.

For those who changed careers a little later in life instead of doing so directly out of school, what are people doing for health insurance?


Thank you so much! I will be in touch with ATP finacial services soon with further questioning.


I got basic short term coverage through Obamacare. Check it out here and see if it works for you:


I used subsidized health care insurance as well. Very affordable.


Hey Jon I’m working a full time will be extremely difficult (if not impossible)*

Best option would be to find a support system that will enable you to go school without having to work a full time job. (Try Uber eats/Uber, Lyft or any other app, you’d be


I do not even know where to start with this one. You are one month into the program, this schedule of yours has probably not started to really affect you yet, but it absolutely will. Sleeping 4-5 hours a night in a car is not sufficient rest, if you are even able to get that much sleep. As a pilot, you are responsible for people’s lives. Even as a student pilot, your instructor is counting on you to be well rested and able to operate safely. What you are doing now is the exact opposite of that.


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Ive spoke to a lot of people, I made the decision to leave my job as long as im accepted to the school and my loan is approved. Quick question, upon graduation, it seems to be a right of passage to teach and work as a CFI. I have no problem with this at all, though I am curious how many hours I can expect weekly as a CFI? I suppose thats mostly depending on my location and such, which will be the San Antonio location. If this isn’t something you can tell me, no worries at all.


Obviously it can vary based on any number of factors but the average ATP instructor builds about 75hrs a month.



All I can say is I wish you the best of luck.

As Chris said you’re only a month into the program and have yet to pass a checkride nor get into the “hard stuff” (I’m also curious what you’re plans are when you’re away for crewing and CFI school but we digress).

My point is (with all due respect) frankly it’s a little irresponsible for your to come on this forum, one month in with no license or rating earned, disregarding the advice of mentors who’ve been doing this for years, and say “it can be done” when you’ve yet to do it and encourage others to follow your lead

You are correct the program requires sacrifice, but sleep isn’t the area for that sacrifice to be made. A good pilot knows that.


Never said I only sleep 4-5 hours a night. Sorry if i offended you and other mentors on here. I actually listen to everyone’s advice especially those have experience in the aviation world.


We all know what was said. We all saw it. The responses to your post were not fabricated out of thin air. They were fair and honest.

We want nothing but the best for you. We’ve seen from experience how stress, fatigue, and external factors can negatively affect a pilot’s performance.

Your original post mentioned all three. As a pilot, it’s not enough to just know what it takes to make good aeronautical decision making. Pilots should all be demonstrating a healthy and balanced lifestyle every day.

You already know what our advice is, and you already know that as much as we don’t recommend working while in the program you can still enroll into the program regardless.

However, sustaining ourselves is first and foremost the most important responsibility we all have. Without sustainability throughout an entire accelerated program is taking on too much unnecessary risk on top of something that is already inherently risky.

For the record, no one is offended by your comments, but we are concerned and we have good reason to be.



The situation you described was shocking. The reaction you got was out of concern for your well being. You may think you’ve got everything under control but we’re all trying to tell you, if you keep that lifestyle up it’s just a matter of time before something bad happens. It could be a failed evaluation, a failed checkride or as bad as an incident or accident.
Second, it’s one thing to continue with this lifestyle quietly but to advocate to others that it can be done shows you’re not quite aware how reckless it is.
We appreciate your participation in the forum and wanting to help others but please rethink your priorities and how seriously you take your rest. We want what’s best for you. What you’re currently doing isn’t that.

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I know I edited the post for anyone else not to have to see what I wrote since according to more experience pilots I was wrong. If i didnt want admin to read it i wouldve deleted. But I accepted that I was wrong and didnt want to misslead anyone esle in the future. When i responded that I never said I only sleep 4-5 hours per day, you can read my original post where I said i sleep 4-5 hours in my car. I also sleep in my bed at home (didn’t want to my comment any longer since I dont want to argue with people who know, when I’m still trying to figure things out myself) experience is key and I don’t have that key yet so I look towards people that do help me get through the door

Hey Jon,
I am a current ATP student and am currently in the Crew/Commercial phase of the program, and I started with my private pilots cert. Here’s my quick and dirty answers to your questions because I was in a similar situation to yours, as I was working 45+ hrs a week, including some nights.

  1. No. You can’t work. How did I do it? I saved a lot of money for about 6 months before I joined the program.(it was miserable) When my class date came up, I quit and by that time had a about 8 months of expenses saved up.

  2. Yeah you can use it for living expenses. I didn’t know that at first, but when I did my loan, I also took out extra $$ for living expenses. With current inflation and CPI, this was a nice supplement.

  3. No. lessons are everyday. Unless you are really on top of it, and there is no weather delay (there will be) you can have the weekend off, but plan on doing something at ATP everyday. I’ve posted a few weeks of my schedule on this forum if you wanna know what it looks like.

  4. Other experts have answered about all the great pathway options that ATP has.


We are all intimately familiar with the program and the lifestyle beyond. All we want is to be helpful by providing words of wisdom.