Real Answers from Real Pilots

CFI and loans

I actually posted this before and Chris deleted it because of punctuations and poor spellings. I posted it again after correcting it and I don’t know if he saw it because it’s been almost 7days, so I decided to repost it:

Hi Chris,

I’m sorry I didn’t spell out all the words, I actually chose to write like that.
My first question was with regards to obtaining a loan for the program. Would I have to request for the entire amount if I was applying from an organization that offers loans to flight school students or I could request for any amount??

Secondly, about the CFI job after the completion of the training, are flight instructors paid for only hours spent in flight, I know pilots are only paid for flight time. I would like to know how it works with flight instructors.

Lastly, I read about some regionals paying off your loan debt and then you take a significant pay cut earning like $5/hour for a certain period of time (maybe a year or two). I’d need clarification on how that works and how much on an average would you be making in a month as a flight instructor. I saw something about a fixed $1000 for ground training plus $500 or something but I’m really confused. I apologize again for misspelling and shortening words in the past. Thanks in advance.


You never reposted it, you sent it as a private message to me and we do not answer questions via private messages as we would like the whole forum community to benefit from your questions.

You could request the full amount of the loan, or something smaller. The choice is up to you.

ATP details instructor pay on their website, please consult it for specifics.

I have never heard of any of the incentive programs that you mention.


Oh I’m sorry I didn’t know. Thank you Chris


CFI pay is explained in the FAQ section and on ATP’s website.

As for the tuition reimbursement, your CFI pay from ATP doesn’t change. Assuming you receive a conditional job offer from a regional, in addition to your CFI pay, the airline will pay you $5/flight hour as a CFI until you reach 1500 hours. Then, once you start training as a first officer, the airline pays you a flat $500/mo for the first 12 months of employment.


1 Like

Thanks Tory,

Ok I’m a little confused right now. When you say conditional job, what do you mean? Also, do you mean regionals could employ to fly before you get your 1500hours?Is it possible to do that an still be a CFI at ATP? And $500 a month is quite small, how would you even pay your rent or how much would you be making? If they were paying $500 flat for the first 12months, does that mean they are paying off your loan and if so, how much longer would you need to work with them before the loan debt is cleared?


Yes. That’s what I mean. That’s how the tuition reimbursement works. At 500 hours as a CFI for ATP, you can apply to fly for a regional that has affiliations with ATP. If they want to hire you, they will offer you a conditional job offer. If you accept, they will pay you $5/flight hour as a CFI for ATP until you reach 1500. Then $500/mo for 12 months with the airline.

Remember, this is all in addition to your regular pay. For example, as an FO for Horizon, first year pay is currently $40/hr. On top of that, Horizon cut me a check for $500/mo for 12 months. This is a generous offer that regional airlines have agreed to make. I know it won’t cover the full monthly loan payment, but it definitely helps.

I am unable to answer your last question. Everyone has a different situation.


Oh wow that’s really good right?.. or is there a downside to taking the deal vis-a-vis staying just as an atp CFI?So if I work for 70hours at $40/hr after taking the deal in my first year, I’d get 7040=2800 + 570= 350; totalling $3150. And by the second year it would be 2800 + 500 =$3300 (assuming I still worked 70hours). Is this right?


I think you are getting several things confuses here. Please reread Tory’s post, he gives a very good explanation of Tuition Reimbursement.



I don’t know where the disconnect is. ATP’s website is a little more descriptive. Hopefully that helps clarify how the program works.


Thanks Tory… I think I’m starting to understand now. My question is how much salary are you making aside the tuition reimbursement program. How much does atp pay you?.. thanks


Hi Tory,
So I understand the way tuition reimbursement works and I have an idea of how much a CFI would be making a month till they reach 1500hours.
My only confusion is after the 1500hours, where the regional airlines pay you 500$ flat a month. Would you still be a CFI at ATP? And is that the only money you’d get for the whole month, or it’s plus something else.

Lastly, just for clarity, during the next 12months were you earn 500$ a month flat as a FO, do the regional airlines handle your monthly loan? Or how does that work?

Please just try to explain it, I don’t want a link cos I have gone through those links again and again and this is the only thing that’s not still clear. Thanks


When you become an FO for a regional, you are an FO. You will no longer be a CFI for ATP. You will earn your normal FO pay from your airline AND receive and extra $500/month for 12 months. The $500/mo is intended to go towards your monthly loan payments, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide what to do with the money.


Make sure to check out this link also:

Ohh …that’s really nice then. Definitely would take that path. And do the regional airlines offer this to all the ATP graduates or they select a couple. Because I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t take the opportunity or are there any downsides to taking the offer by the regional airlines?

It is nice. I did it. $11,000 over the course of however long it takes you to build 1500 hours and serve 12 months as an FO may not sound like a lot to some. For me, it gave me the buffer I needed to get settled in the state of Washington while not having to worry about my loan payments. Getting through new hire training is stressful enough.

ATP graduates are not automatically enrolled in Tuition Reimbursement. CFIs have to interview with one of the airlines that offers Tuition Reimbursement. Receiving a conditional job offer from said airline puts the Tuition Reimbursement contract in motion.



There’s no guarantee to any of this. You must successfully complete all your training and not bust more than 2 checkrides. Do so and ATP may not offer you an instructor position. No instructor position, no Tuition Reimbursement.


If they only start paying 500 a month in tuition reimbursement after you become an FO, does that mean they would stop paying after the 12months is up, or do they pay till $11000. Or do they start paying the 500 before you become FO??

Here’s the math…

You sign up at 500 hours and start to receive $5/hr until you reach ATP mins (1500 hours). So that’s 1000 hrs x $5 = $5000.

Then you head over to your regional of choice and during the first year they pay you $500/month. $500 x 12 months = $6000.

$5000 + $6000 = $11,000


Oh it all makes sense now. Thanks a lot guys

1 Like