Real Answers from Real Pilots

Future Goals

Okay so I’m 19 and attending college as a current sophomore, and have recently become interested in flying. I’ve only flown (sitting in the pilot’s seat) in an introductory flight, but that was yesterday and since then I can’t think of anything but flying.
I know I need to have patience, and I’m willing to, but I also want to figure out the best and most time efficient way to become a career pilot because I know how important seniority is. What sort of timeline do you think would work best? Do I finish college, then go to ATP? Or should I get my private license while attending college? What are things I can do during my time in college to build my resume? Should I pursue summer school and get through college faster? Go through college at a normal pace and save up as much cash as possible? How hard have you found it to pay off your debt from ATP?
I understand that this is perhaps a crazy amount of questions, but I’m a planner. I truly think that flying could be the perfect career for me (and can’t believe it never crossed my mind before now) but I want to pursue it to the best of my ability!
Thanks in advance!

Hi Maela,

Since you’re already a sophomore in college I would keep charging through
to the end before flight training. Both require a lot of dedication and
you’re almost half way done. I also recommend completing college at a pace
that’s right for you. You’re youth is on your side right now. I wouldn’t
worry about trying to expedite your education. If you can, great…but
doing so could jeopardize your GPA.

As for the loan, I know of one individual that paid it off after completing
the program. That’s VERY rare. He didn’t need the loan. He took the loan
anyway and paid it off quickly to build credit. I know some other pilots
that paid off their loan by the time they got hired by a regional. As for
me, I’ve only been able to pay off my interest. I’m an example of someone
that came into ATP with nothing, so to speak. I had enough savings and
enough credit to feed myself. Now that I’m at a regional, I’m finally
paying off my principle. I’ll have the loan paid off within the next 5-7

I don’t have an answer for you at this very moment about resume building.
There are many things you could do. Were you looking for suggestions on
things to do that were aviation related? Or general resume building


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Yeah, that makes sense. I think i could save enough to not really need a loan by the time i enrolled at ATP if I just work full time while I’m doing college - which is all online.
Also, just general resume building. I’m currently a nanny (I’ve been doing childcare for about four years) and am looking at getting a second job as a waitress, but if there are things I could do that would look better to the majors one day, I’m open to suggestions.


The majors are going to focus on your flight time, experience and education more than anything else. They really are not going to give much thought to what jobs you had in college. In fact, by the time you apply, you probably won’t even be listing those jobs on your resume either.

Do not be afraid of taking out a loan for education. I took out a loan and it has paid itself back many, many times over because it enabled me to have this job.


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