Change in career field

Hello all,
I am currently looking into changing careers and becoming a pilot. I called ATP and they do not have a part time program, only full time. With that being said, I would have to quit my job and then have no income coming in. What do most people do in this situation? Do they take loan money to live off of during the 9 month process? I also have a family and am the sole provider.

Thank you in advance


Different people handle this different ways. Some as you say will take out a loan to cover the training and living expenses, others will wait and save while the majority decide it’s not worth the commitment and sacrifice and bury the dream, spend the rest of their lives wondering “what if?”.


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Hi Joe,

Yes. When applying for the loan, some people request extra money to cover
living expenses. As the sole provider of a family you need to really think
about whether or not this is the right career for you.

You will need to make yourself available for 8 hours per day to stay on
track. There may be times when you will need to train on the weekends too.
Plus, not all of the training is conducted at the training center that you
selected. For example, CFI training is done in North Las Vegas, Mesa,
Jacksonville, and one other location that I can’t remember. CFI school is
2-4 weeks long.

There is also a period in the program called Crew Cross Country. During
this phase you will be paired up with another instrument rated pilot and
fly 4-6 hours a day repositioning airplanes across several of ATP’s
locations. This helps build the required cross country time for your
commercial certificate and helps ATP with aircraft maintenance. Crew XC is
2 weeks long.

Then, if you want to instruct for ATP, you will need to go through 2 weeks
of standardization. That will be conducted in Jacksonville or Mesa.

Choosing your preferred location to teach as a CFI at ATP requires some
luck. You may not get the location you want at first. Requests for your
preferred location can be made and you can transfer when a spot becomes

Base selection at the airlines work the exact same way.

Many students with families have been successful at ATP, but sacrifices had
to be made. I just want you to make sure that you’ve covered all of your
bases before you make this important decision.

Please ask us any other questions you have and look around on the forum. A
lot of your questions may have already been answered.


Thank you for the response. Some things to think about. Do you know if the military is another route that I could go? Could I get my pilots license in the military? Thanks

We get this question a lot. Our views haven’t changed…



Most people take out a bit extra on their loan to help them cover their costs during the program. However, most people are not also providing for a family while in training. I would call the finance department and ask how much extra they will be able to help you secure, then go from there.



The military route really depends on your age, education level and aptitude. To secure a flight position, you will need to already have a college degree, plus meet a whole host of other criteria. Beyond that though, the military should be joined because one wants to serve the country and embrace that lifestyle, not because you want a free ride.