Flight school and/or university

Hi! My name Luis Blanco and I’ve been interested in becoming a pilot for a long time. I’m currently a senior in high school and about to leave for college in a few months. I got accepted into Portland state university and there’s a big chance I will be going to Portland. My question is, is it possible for me to begin the ATP flight school program while at the same time studying for my bachelors degree? In other words, how much hours of class and commitment does the course require weekly. I am a dedicated hardworking student and while I have a passion for flying, I believe that a college education is still very important. And if there is any chance that I can pursue both of these things at the same time, I’m willing to make that decision.
Thanks and I’m looking forward to hearing from one of you guys soon.

Hi Luis,

You and Eric are both 100% correct. Education is important AND you can’t go to college and ATP at the same time. There are of course aviation universities and colleges with aviation programs (Embry Riddle, Kent State, to name a couple) that integrate flight training with your regular studies. The only downside as I see it is you’re really putting all your eggs in 1 basket. I believe a diversity in education is a good thing. If for some reason you decide flying really isn’t for you or the industry takes a very ugly turn, you’ve got a Plan B. But that’s my take. Another possible route would be to maybe get your Private license locally in your spare time. Then next year on summer break complete the ATP Career course. After that see if you can get a part-time instructor gig to build time while you’re still in school. That way when you graduate you’d only have to instruct a short time to get to the required 1500 hrs.

As you can see there are any number of ways to do this. You just need to figure out which is best for Luis.


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Hey! thank you both for your quick responses it truly did help a lot. I guess my follow up question would be, since you mentioned that I could take the course and then become and instructor so that i can build time while I’m in school, does that mean that i can work as a certified instructor at ATP while still having enough time in my hands to study for a bachelors? And also, I’m I absolutely guaranteed an instructor job at the location where i completed the accelerated course? I guess the plan I’m picturing would be to take the accelerated course my first year after high school and when I’m done with the training, attend a university while building up my hours as a flight instructor for ATP.

Again, thank you both for your knowledge and I’m looking forward to hearing from you guys soon.

Luis Blanco


Unfortunately the answers are No and No. While I did say “get a part-time instructor gig”, I did not say get a part-time instructor gig with ATP. Just as the student training is full time with ATP so are the instructor positions. While there are part-time instructor jobs out there, it would not be with ATP. Second while ATP will make an effort to get you to the location of your choice “eventually”, they cannot guarantee you a slot there (they ask for you to pick 3 choices). Think of it this way, you’re instructing primarily to build time and so is everyone else there. They will not add an instructor to a location if it doesn’t need one. That wouldn’t be fair (or productive) to you or any other instructor.



Just like being a student at ATP is a full time job, so is flight instructing. Other than maybe taking a few classes online I don’t see where it would be possible to both instruct at ATP and be a college student.

You are not guaranteed to be able to return to your location, the company will work with you to try and get you as close as possible, but it is not guaranteed.

I was once in a similar situation to you, I need to finish my degree and get my pilots licenses. I opted to get my private license from a local school while I was in college and then go to ATP as soon as I graduated to finish the rest of my pilot certificates.

I would recommend that you finish college, then do your flight training and then work full time as an ATP instructor to build your hours. The reality is that you need two years of college experience anyways before going to ATP, so you might as well stay another two years and finish it up. Then apply all of your energy to flying and building your time. Based on my own experience and years of helping people like yourself I find that the focused, one at a time approach works the best. I know that you want to get up into the air as soon as possible, but think about what your long term goals are, that is what matters the most.