Do you have to attend a partnership school to be a cadet in the pathway program?

Currently, I have started flying at a part 141 school. It’s going well but they do not have any partnerships with any other Airlines like ATP does. I am looking to make this a career and their seems to be no clear guidance on how this route needs to be completed. I have been told you need to be a CFI and build hours, then I have been told to go to ATP due to eh partnerships and more opportunities… I would greatly appreciate if I could get some help.


To be hired by a Regional you don’t need to go to any particular school. You simply need to meet the minimums, have the time and you can apply. BUT yes, to participate in the cadet programs you have to follow the guidelines and that usually means training and then instucting for a partner school.

ATP pioneered the airline partnerships years ago and with good reason. The airlines want a consistent product and they want to know the pilots they hire don’t simply meet the mins, but more important are capable of completing training. ATP students have demonstrated their abilty to keep up in an accelerated program and by instructing for ATP the airline has an approx idea of when the pilot will build their time and they can also monitor their progress.

That all said I believe some cadet programs may accept pilots after the fact but you wouldn’t enjoy the benefits like Tuition Reimbursement, early seniority, travel and health benefits etc. These are just some of the reasons why people choose to do their training with ATP. That and their 35+yr history of training thousands of pilots for the airlines.


There are many ways to make it to the regionals and start your airline career. Since you’re at a 141 school now, I’m sure they will provide training through your CFI. From there you can start instructing to build time to 1500. You can still apply to many regional airline cadet programs. You just won’t be eligible to collect tuition reimbursement or direct pathway programs that ATP grads have access to.

I’m not sure how far into your training you are but if you decide to switch to ATP for the extra connections and benefits, there are two starting points: zero time and credit private. I believe some custom programs can be created starting at commercial but it would have to be coordinated with admin.