Day In The Life @ ATP

New to the group and appreciate all the insight in the conversations I’ve read. Not sure if my following questions are best answered speaking with someone directly in admissions, but thought I’d start here.
I see a lot of how the program is rigorous, fulltime, and you need to be flexible and dedicating to studying. What does a day/week look like at ATP? Is it a full 9-5 day Mon-Fri in a classroom and in the air, or do you create a schedule like you might in college with the expectation of a certain amount of time put in to finish on time? And at the risk of sounding silly, are you allowed to take time off for vacation during the program? It’s been many years since I’ve been in school and being married with three kids I’m trying to make sure I have good idea of what the demand looks like when I try to present this to my wife.
I have some other questions, but I’ve been wordy enough so will start there. Thank you.

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Welcome Jake,

The other week I stopped by the Trenton NJ location and hung out with Brady who’s an instructor there. In the past I used to say working a part time job was doable in the program (was in some cases back in 2017).

But it sounds like the program has gotten more rigorous to keep the 7month timeline. My understanding is there are now lectures students have to attend on the computer or iPad in the afternoon.

So fly as many mornings a possible, sim/study/lectures into the evening. Great for getting you your ratings ASAP.

Expect to be flexible with being at ATP on weekends. You’re schedule revolves around a lot of moving parts, weather and people. The more flexible you are, the more on time you’ll be.

Chris F


Welcome to the forum, let’s get to your questions.

There really is no typical day at ATP. Your days will vary widely between ground schools, flying, simulator work, etc. Generally you are expected to be available 8-5 each weekday, but weather constraints often dictate flying on weekends, especially if you want to get ahead. The schedules will be driven by your instructor, the assignment at hand, aircraft availability, and the weather. It is not at all like college in the scheduling sense.

I suppose a vacation could be arraigned in advance with admin, but I would strongly recommend against it. The program is already highly accelerated, taking huge gaps in the program will serve to slow you down. Keep in mind that the program works off of building off the day prior’s work. Every day builds on the last. Taking a large junk of time off will undermine that greatly.

I will be honest with you, this is going to be tough with having a wife and three kids. It will take some sacrificing on all of your parts. That being said, I feel that it is worth it in the end as this job enables me to offer my family a quality of life that would be very hard to otherwise.


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Welcome to the forums Jake,

@Cforero7 did stop by and hang out, was nice to see familiar faces! Stop back my friend, maybe a picture for proof next time.

Everyday at ATP is different because of multiple external factors that we can’t expect (i.e., Weather). Scheduling could look one day in the morning and next in the afternoon, it just really depends on plane availability, weather, and other training center activities (if checkrides are taking place a plane could be unavailable most of the day). Two days out of the week you are attending virtual classes that we call Elevate, where you get face-to-face interaction (over Zoom) with students who started the program at/around the same time as you with ATP instructors, teaching and going over material that you are learning…an opportunity to ask any questions.

I have a student who had arranged a wedding commitment a year in advanced, they had 10-days of no training in between…but I can say that seeing the performance before and after the vacation, things got hairy. The program is accelerated for a reason, to get you to the airlines (or your goals) in the most efficient and effective way. Each lesson builds upon the next lesson as Chris said.



Welcome to the Forum!!

As Chris mentioned, training won’t necessarily be the same every single week. For our Fast Track Program, we do ask that students be available full-time. Typically, you will be training 5-7 days a week for about 8 hours every day. That being said, training takes place Monday-Friday, but we will utilize the weekends in the case of any cancellations during your five-day training.

You can request time off during the program, but keep in mind that it is honored as a request. I agree with Chris that you should try to keep this to a minimum so that there are no significant gaps in your training. Your CFI is responsible for creating your day-to-day schedule.

If you have any additional questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us in admissions! (904-595-7950)


Thank you all for the great feedback. I’ve been nothing but impressed by all the conversations I’ve read and the straight forward advice being given.

Appreciate the insight on the vacation question. We do have a week long trip planned since before COVID that’s been paid for, but otherwise I think any other plans could be postponed.

@Chris Thank you for the honest feedback on the difficulties and sacrifice of family life. I do try to keep the long term goal in mind, so assuming a best case scenario of completing the program on time, how long would you say (in your case at least) were you able to have that quality of life you are speaking of? Were you speaking of just the family struggle during ATP training, or years after completion getting up and running in your career? Can you tell where I am going to have to sell my wife? Hahaha.


Chris will have great first-hand advice regarding flight school + home life balance, but I did want to suggest having you and your wife come out to the facility for a tour. If this is something that both of you would be interested in, feel free to contact me in admissions - 904-595-7950



That is a hard one to answer as I started very young and have never worked outside of the industry, so I really have no other career to compare it to. On top of that, I do not know what your current income level is, so that makes the comparison hard. I can tell you that when I got to the majors (Continental, then United) is when I really started to get good schedules and make what I considered to be a comfortable income. Please remember though that when I was a regional pilot, wages were much lower than they are now.

At the majors though you can easily earn over $100k your second year and it goes up from there, I also find the schedules to be better than at the regionals, especially if you get into the International flying.

My biggest piece of advice to you would be to move to wherever you are based and do not try to commute from another part of the country. While it is possible to commute, it will take significant time and is stressful. I have commuted my whole career and wish I had played that card differently.

I realize that I did not really answer your question at all. Give me a bit more background of your current situation and I will try to be a bit more specific.



I’m going to chime in here on the whole “quality of life” family thing. When I started my ATP training I was a successful yet miserable restaurant owner with a wife, 3 kids, a dog and a mortgage. When I told my wife I no longer could keep doing what I was doing and had signed up for ATP, she thought I had finally lost it and threw me out (literally). Fortunately ATP offered housing so I wasn’t homeless but obviously this wasn’t a good situation. Things weren’t much better while I was instructing.

Part of the problem I believe is when you say the words airline pilot people think of Sully and the likes and often our friends and family (while they may love and support us), have a difficult time imagining that this is nothing more than a scam. Airline pilots are genius former fighter jocks and not mere mortals like us who go to some flight school and actually end up flying for United etc. To be completely honest I don’t think it was until I showed up in uniform that people actually got it. It can be a struggle, a challenge and a sacrifice that may seem very nebulous to your wife and your job is to convince her that you’ve done your research, know what you’re getting into and are not only doing this for yourself but for all of you. That and tell her all the cool places you’ll be taking her to for the rest of your lives! :wink:



Thank you for your brutal honesty Adam, we seem to have similar background in regards to the restaurant food industry. I hope that things worked out in the end with your wife and family.


All is good thank you.