First and foremost, when you’re the largest flight school in the country, training pilots for the airlines for over 35 years, with over 60 locations, hundreds of new aircraft and thousands of grads flying for every airline in the country, people will try and shoot you down. That’s not a commercial, it’s simply a fact.
To answer your question, yes the vast majority of ATPs are newly minted CFIs (which is as you said something you aspire to be some day). Certain locations where they do CFI training will have one or two “senior” instructors. The reason for that is the FAA requires an instructor to have at least 2yrs experience to train someone for their CFI. But if you’re looking for an old crusty, with 20,000hrs you will not find that at ATP. In truth, when I enrolled I had the same concern. When I started I was 39 and my instructor could’ve been my kid. I inquired and was asked to “give him a shot” and once I did I quickly recognized his age (or experience) was not an issue.
The fact is the pilots that will be instructing you have all recently completed the program themselves and that’s a good thing. It’s still fresh in their minds. They were exactly where you were and can relate to the concerns and challenges you’ll be experiencing. Further they’ve all been through extensive standardization training and review and would not be in their position were they not fully qualified. Now are they just there to build time? Of course they are! Very few people dream of being flight instructors, they want to be airline pilots. I know I did! Didn’t make me a bad instructor. These new guys also have been trained in the most recent curriculum and know exactly what will be asked and required on a checkride because they just went through it themselves. I instructed for ATP and also for both my Regional and Major airlines and I’ll let you in on something I learned (and was guilty of myself). While there’s no question with time and hours comes experience but it also creates individual preferences, shortcuts and my favorite “technique” and that’s exactly what you don’t want. You want to be instructed based on proven standards and that’s also what your FAA examiner is looking for. Not Ace Wannabes favorite method. The new guy isn’t looking to riff or improvise. He only wants to be safe and improve themself.
Bottomline Blake there will always be naysayers but you can’t really argue with hard facts and figures. The program works and has for decades. None of us on here are salesman. All the mentors are successful grads of the program who are now living the dream as airline pilots. We were all exactly where you are now, trying to find the best path. We all chose ATP and were very happy we did. I encourage you to do your research and welcome you to come back with any and all questions your might have. Browse this forum, there volumes of great questions and answers. If we seem like we’re partial, we are. Again we’re not salesman, we’re just trying to pay it forward. Oh and read everything and anything but do remember we’re talking about the internet. There are flat-earthers, unicorns, mermaids, UFOs and anti-ATP rants and it ain’t all true