Could I still work while studying at ATP?

Hi Everyone,
I want to know, could I still work part time while I am studying at ATP for my Airline Transport Pilot Career Program?


Can you? Sure. Should you? Absolutely not. You clearly haven’t browsed this forum, visited our FAQ section or really read ATPs website, as this is one of the most common questions we get.

The short answer is this is America and you can do what you like BUT working during the program is HIGHLY DISCOURAGED. Many people are attracted to ATP due to the very short training timeline of 7mos. How this is accomplished is by compressing what usually takes years into months by training full-time. The program is highly accelerated and most people find it extremely challenging. Failure to give 100% can and often does result in checkride failures which can literally end your career. There are no “do-overs”. Again if you choose to work no one can stop you but the training will not accommodate your work schedule and if you fall behind they’ll be no “I thought Id be ok working but I was wrong, can I start over?” as EVERYTHING on the website and this forum is very clear that you shouldn’t be working or doing anything other than training.

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Thank you Adam.


I started off in the program in flex track thinking I work at the same time. The longer I have been in the program, the more I understand how it simply isn’t possible. The maneuvers and knowledge require 100% commitment in order to be proficient in and you always have to have an open schedule for last minute changes.

If you qualify for a large enough loan, you can take $2k out per month for expenses until you complete the program. Im currently in commercial phase and that has been the fastest three weeks I have ever experienced. Pair that with CFI academy next month and it begins to add up real fast. I actually just came back from AZ to do TAA training for three days and that was randomly thrown onto my schedule.

Overall, give 100% and you’ll find it pays off.



@MetroMedic94 thanks for adding your experience!

@XitingVoyager Wesley tried balancing work with the flex track program that was meant to be slower and more flexible and it didn’t work. The fast track program is the only program offered now and it absolutely should not be paired with any other commitments. It demands 7 months of your full attention to be successful.


Thank you for the honest information, Hannah. This will give me an idea of my timeline coming forward.

Thank you @Hannah, @Adam, thanks to the information that both of you have provided, I have a clear timeline in order for me to become successful at ATP. I could start applying at my local ATP Flight School in the beginning of next year in January, and have a two week resignation at my job about 2 to 4 weeks before I start. @MetroMedic94, Wesley, thank you for showing me an alternative way for paying off my expenses, but I fear that the big enough loan may not be approved. But it wouldn’t hurt to try although there may be a chance that I could save enough for monthly expenses and be able to apply for a big enough loan.


I would just like to add my two-sense in the picture here. ATP’s program is an Accelerated Program for a reason, take the timeline of a University such as Embry-Riddle or UND for example - you are studying for a degree while learning to fly etc. That’s 4-years, but with training spread out throughout those years. ATP aims to get you your ratings in a fraction of that time, theoretically 7/48th (~15%) of the time it takes to get it at a University [given it’s 4-years, 12 x 4, you get the gist].

The ACPP is a full-time commitment like the others have said, I’ve seen students attempt to work during and they have come to struggling and the first discovery to find is that they’ve been working; Once they take a break from their job and allocating that time to focus on ATP, the world for them changes and they turn their struggles around into a success.

Do note, you will need to acquire a 1st Class Medical prior to start date; furthmore, take an admission flight with ATP prior to enrollment.


Thank you for your time in giving me that information @Brady

I need to add my 2 cents. I’m in the ATP flex program and I work full time and attend ATP. It is very possible. It takes longer because you’re obviously not flying as much. But keep in mind, ALL of my time outside of work is dedicated to flying and studying. I’ve had to sacrifice A LOT of things I enjoy in order to pursue flying as a career. But that’s the choice I made because I decided it was worth it. My personality and situation allows and supports that kind of schedule. Up very early, bed very late, and not burnout easily. You’re significant other needs to be on board as well because he/she will be effected. It’s very difficult but doable.


The Flex Track you’re currently enrolled in has been discontinued so respectfully I offer to you if we removed the “Flex”-ibility from your track you’d feel very different.


Very true. I am very fortunate that I was able to enroll in flex track. From what I’ve been told I am the last student to be enrolled in it. To me that’s unfortunate for future students that could really use that flexibility even though it comes with some downsides. For my particular situation it was the only option. Aviation education does not only need to be a 9 month cram to CFI or a slow go at your own pace 15 year slog-fest. There is an in-between that could work for students if given the option. Particularly for old timers like me.


It’s actually a 7mos cram now and while you’re right it doesn’t need to be, no one can argue the pace of the FastTrack is beneficial and it’s what set ATP apart decades ago (it’s now the most copied program in the country). The goal of the FastTrack is not only to get you done quickly, but to prepare you for the pace of airline training. While hiring is at an all time high and there’s no question once you have the time you will get hired, so are washout rates and the reason is the failure to be able to keep up.

I’m glad the FlexTrack made your training possible and it’s working out well for you but be aware once you get hired the fire hose will be open full blast.