Couple Questions regarding ATP

Hi guys, I have been scouring this website for at least 3 hours a day for the past month, haha. I’m 17 an graduating high school in this December. I plan on getting my bachelors degree when I get into a regional. Anyways, I’ve got a couple questions that I am going to put in order down below.

  1. What is the actual pay of flight instructors at ATP? I saw one post saying they are making only $20k and saw another one saying they are make $1500 every 2 weeks ($39,000). Some insite on that would be helpful.

  2. If I go into ATP with my written test done for my private license, is there any $ taken off of the full price?

  3. How long do I have to wait after graduating the program to be an instructor and start building hours at ATP?

  4. Realistically, how long would I take me to get to my 1500 hour mark?

Alright, that’s all the major ones I have now, any advise as these questions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you guys!


Welcome to the forum, the others will chime in as the day continues. You did not mention if you have already taken an introductory flight or flight experience at your age, but let me give you my insight.

  1. ATP advertises right on their website how much they pay their flight instructors: see link. Flying as a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) / ATP Flight School

  2. This may be an @Addison question, but I came into the program with 6/7 writtens completed, every written I took I handed in a receipt, the test results and ATP reimbursed me from my program cost the funds it was for me to complete the writtens outside of ATP.

  3. This question gets asked frequently, if your goal is to instruct for ATP, depending on your location of choice…sometimes it can be a little wait. You’ll find that at popular spots like Florida, California, and Georgia will have longer waitlists (I’m sure there are other locations that I forgot with waitlists, I can’t see them). The day you start your program is really day 1 of your interview with ATP, if you perform to a high standard, be professional, and carrying yourself with success (minimal checkride busts) the opportunity to instruct for ATP will come.

  4. How hard are you willing to work? Depending on your work ethic it could take a year and half, to three years. Granted student load is another topic, ATP ensures that their is a fair distribution between instructors to students. If you instruct at ATP don’t be surprised if you have one student for a month or two, there is some transitioning time and this is the most predominant time for mistakes to occur, so you’ll learn very fast. By the time you enroll into ATP and finish your training program, everything should pick up and you’ll be busier than you ever could imagine…granted I don’t have a magic 8-ball and can’t predict the future.

Continue working hard in school, accomplishing good grades, and take a look at an introductory flight to make sure that you are going to be comfortable in a small plane. It’s quite a different feeling than sitting in the back of an Airbus or Boeing going cross country.

Please let us know if you have any other questions, this forum contains a ton of question and answers, as you’ve already seen.


Thank you so much for your very informative response. I appreciate your time in answering them. I have already taken an introductory flight at my local airport (Gulfport, Ms). I plan on going to the Miami/Fort Lauderdale location and taking my introductory flight there. Again, thank you so much for the quick response!

Hi Evan!

Everything Brady said was spot on.

I would also like to add that to enroll in ATP you must be at least 18, and to get your Airline Transport Pilot certificate to fly a commercial airliner, you need to be 23.

You may have troubles making the loan payments if you’re stuck doing the typical commercial pilot jobs that don’t require an ATP (skydive, glider tow, etc). But while you’re young you don’t have tons of financial responsibilities so it might work for you!


Hi Galen, I’m planning on getting my restricted ATP when I’m 21 to fly FO at a regional. Then my ATP when I’m 23. Is that a solid plan?


The R-ATP would work to get it at 21. Unfortunately ATP flight school isn’t a part 141 school which qualifies you for the R-ATP.

Those programs are usually paired with a college degree in some field of aviation and subsequently cost twice as much.


Wow, I did not know that. You probably just saved me a huge headache. Thank you so much for the quick response!!


The restrict from a part 141 allows for less total hours at hiring. You can hold a R-ATP at 21 with the 1500 hours of total time.

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Yea, I’ve been researching it since I posted this thread, but I didn’t want to say it on here. Thanks

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Good call!

At 30 years old I guess I never keyed in to that part of the R-ATP!



Just to confirm, an R-ATP is more about age and other hourly reductions. Even at a 141 school there’s only a time reduction if the flight training is done as part of a Degree program.

You can ABSOLUTELY get your R-ATP at 21 training with ATP.


To clarify another point, written exams taken prior to program start will not be reimbursed as the cost of written exams is not included in the program. You should expect to spend about $160 per written exam.



Thank you so much for clarifying that for me.


Would the test prep for the written exam be reimbursed?


Once you place a deposit down with ATP, all of the necessary study material will be provided to you. Anything you purchase beyond that will be at your expense.


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As Chris mentioned, the cost of the written exams is not included in the tuition cost, so you would not be reimbursed for those specifically.

An alternative would be to include the cost of the knowledge test fees into the financing option that we have with Sallie Mae and use those funds (while training) to pay for your written exams.


Hi Addison, or any of you could answer this, but if u were to get a loan from a 3rd party to get a lower interest rate, how does the tax work? Do I just give them the exact cash amount? Or is tax added to it? Thanks!

Hi Evan,

If you are using another lender, you would still follow the same payment schedule as if you were self pay. I’ve included a link that details this and how the payments are broken up (scroll to the bottom of that webpage!) There is no tax on tuition payments.

Payments can be made in cash, cashiers check, bank check, personal checks, OR wire transfer!

Hope this helps!



Thank you so much for that!