Real Answers from Real Pilots

College or not

I am currently 16 and going to be starting to work on my private license soon. I know flying is what I want to do for my career and my parents really want me to go to college I have looked into ATP for after high school would it be smart to get the flying ratings first then college or college then your ratings I have seen a lot of things that say college sets you back is any of that true or what would you recommend Thanks

Adin,

We all actually disagree. A college degree is a requirement for the majors so you might as well get it now while you’re in school mode as opposed to later. It also helps build a good foundation. We advise that the 4-year degree be obtained before flight training. We’ve seen higher success rates from those that have taken this path. We expand further on this in the FAQ section.

Tory

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so starting ATP after college would be a good choice ?

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I know there are some programs that get you to a major without a degree I just want to make sure im making the best choice thanks for your help.

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Yes. That’s the most common route and that’s what we recommend. Obviously, not everyone agrees with us. There are plenty of people that have chosen a different path because they think that’s what is best for them. I think you should make the same decision for yourself. But yes. Our advice is to obtain the 4-year degree before flight training. Even better if you can receive college credit whilst in high school.

Tory

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Adin,

You’re 16. MANY things can happen between now and the time you’re ready to fly for a Major. Not only is college desired by the Majors, it’s always a good idea to have a Plan B should aviation not work out due to choice or circumstance. While there are some programs that may allow you to get to a Major without a degree, you’re severely limiting your options by putting all your hopes in one basket.

Adam

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Thanks for your help!

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You can also do the ATP Flex Track which allows you to do college and ATP Flight School at the same time. https://atpflightschool.com/airline-career-pilot-program/flex-track-airline-career-pilot-program.html

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As Imran said, the Flex Track is a good option. Here is a way that you can combine the Flex Track with college: https://atpflightschool.com/airline-career-pilot-program/college-credit.html

Chris

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I have seen a lot of things that say college sets you back is any of that true or what would you recommend Thanks

College sets you forward, not back

I finished my high school, then got my associates, then bachelors, then worked for about 3 years to save money, then enrolled to ATP. I found doing it this way was very efficient for me.

Saw this thread and I never respond but i feel I feel very opinionated on this topic. I am very pro getting youre degree AFTER your ratings. Its best to get the career rolling and building that jet time before your degree since itll be 5-7 years before you need to check that box at the major’s interview anyways so id suggest picking it up along the way in the regionals. Although I didnt attend ATP and dont advise against it, i went PT 61 mom and pop Working line service and just started on a lear at 600 Hrs with no degree. And am now working on a degree being years ahead of my friends.

Cameron,

While we all recommend earning a degree before flight training, we have always said that everyone needs to do what is best for themselves. I’m glad to hear that the path you chose has worked out for you.

Tory

Cameron,

It’s great this route is working out for you. The best route for any individual is just that, the best route for them. While getting a degree afterward may be more expeditious, many pilots end up stuck without as they find it very difficult to pursue one after. You say you just started on the Lear which is awesome. I don’t know how much flying you’re doing or what you’re getting paid but again when some start making money or very busy with work it can be quite a challenge.

Again I applaud your success but don’t be so sure who’s ahead of who until the race is over.

Adam