College student in Pro Flight

Hi everyone, I’m Andy.

I have an Associates degree and I’m currently enrolled in the Professional flight program here at Auburn University in Alabama, and through them I’m taking flight training lessons for my PPL, with 16 hrs of flight time logged so far, as well as taking aviation courses for the Bachelors in Professional flight. But due to out-of-state tuition (I’m from Mississippi), the flight training fees, and also by doing some research on here, I quote Pilot mentor Adam “We don’t recommend aviation degrees for 2 reasons. First they are generally very expensive and second you’re putting all your eggs in one basket should a Pilot career not workout”, I’m considering pulling the plug and just going to ATP to solely focus on my flight training, and then getting a bachelors degree in another field besides aviation.
My questions are:

  1. Already having my associate’s degree, should I still aim for a bachelor’s degree to qualify for the major airlines in the future?
  2. And if so, should I get it before ATP flight school or could I wait until I become a CFI and then do it afterwards?
  3. Since I’m looking into going to ATP in Tampa, FL and I won’t be able to have a job due to the really condensed 9-month program, Is the $80,000 fee just for training, or does that include an apartment and living expenses?
  4. Is ATP a good school? And if anybody’s attending or has graduated from ATP what was the school like? And if graduated, career wise, how is it after it?

Sorry for being lengthy but I just want to make sure I get as much information as I can before making a final decision. Thanks!

Hi Andy,

Here’s my take.

1&2) Yes you should but I also want to clarify what I said and what I meant. Many young people dive right into aviation degree programs with no other experience. Sometimes things don’t work out or they change their minds and they’re left with just an aviation degree which frankly isn’t worth much if you’re not going to fly and really isn’t worth much more even if you are. You’ve got you Assoc which can definitely help you in the job market (obviously a Bachelors is better). At this point you’ve gotten some experience with college and aviation. Based on you post I think you’ve decided to be a pilot. If that’s the case why wait? Get trained and get flying. In the 2yrs it would take to finish your degree you could be at a Regional building experience and seniority. Now again I’m not a fan of aviation degrees BUT if you’re already working as a pilot and liking what you’re doing then that’s something else. You can take your Assoc degree, get credit for your licenses and ratings and earn yourself an Aviation degree (that will satisfy the Majors) with min time and money. That’s not putting all your eggs in one basket, that’s investing in your future in a career you’ve already started.

  1. ATPs quoted prices are strictly for training. Housing, living expenses, required equipment (headset, iPad, etc) and examiner fees are extra. Many people take loans for higher amounts to cover those costs.

  2. Hopefully others will chime in but in the interest of full disclosure, if you look at the upper left hand corner of this forum you’ll clearly see the ATP logo. This IS ATPs forum and all the mentors here are former students and instructors who are now successful airline pilots. While we’re not salesmen, ATP is the flight school we all chose after doing our research and we’re all glad we did. So in my humble opinion ATP is an excellent school. Further ATP has been training thousands of pilots for the airlines for over 30 years.


Do whatever you have to do to get out of Auburn. :grin:




  1. Yes. An associate’s degree is not really considered an actual degree in the true sense of the term. The majors will want to see a four year degree. The only exception to this is American Airlines, who does not require a degree from those that flow through from their regionals. I would certainly not want to limit myself to any one regional though.

  2. At this point, I would attend flight school, start building your flight hours, and then return to college and finish your degree online while you work for the regionals.

  3. Just for training. Many people take out additional loan amounts to help cover the costs of living expenses.

  4. I think ATP is a great school, but that will ultimately be up to you to decide. This forum is sponsored by ATP and all of the mentors here went to ATP, so we tend to favor the school. We do so though because we went there and had good experiences. Check out the “Student Experiences” section for more information from current and former students.


Looks like I’m a fan of only Sergey now.

My favorite moment of the Iron Bowl was seeing Saban throw a temper tantrum after this lovely play!

I’m an Irish fan but I’ll take the Tigers all day over that ugly purpleish red

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Well, I suppose that explains your Auburn fanhood. Carry on. :laughing:

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Thanks Adam for the advise.
As of right now I’m not a big fan of the college aviation degree, it’s taking forever to get my flight hours because we fly 3 days a week and out of those 3 I probably fly twice, so since I started this January I’ve only logged 16 hours so far, and also I’m in school part-time due to the out-of-state tuition and at this rate I probably won’t graduate in maybe 3 1/2 years with my aviation degree and flight ratings, and like you said, in that time I can already be working at regionals building up hours and seniority. So I think my next steps are

  1. Applying for ATP and getting everything ready
  2. After getting my certifications and ratings from ATP and landing a CFI job, try to go back and finish my bachelors degree in another field that I could use should a pilot career not workout.

That’s what I was thinking, since I’m already on this path of becoming a pilot I should continue pushing forward and making progress, then afterwards I can go back and finish my bachelors to open up doors towards major airlines.
I contacted ATP about two days ago regarding information and haven’t received a response. Is there anything I should know before enrolling in ATP? I was reading on another thread that students are taking 6 tests (PAR and etc.,) before starting ATP, I’m curious as to what they are because here where I’m at, first day of flight training I had a ground lesson and then next lesson I was already in the air flying and I didn’t have to take tests prior to starting this program.
Btw thanks for the advise Chris


I like this plan better and feel that you could be successful by following it.