GED, college, flight school?

I’m 25 and want to pursue a career as a pilot. Homeschooled all the way through high-school and have been working at my family’s busyness, but its time for a change. Currently I’m considering enrolling in my local community college and getting an AA in a relevant field for a career in aviation, and then applying to the ATP Flight School in fort Meyers, Fl., which is their closest location to me. There is also a local airport near me, where I could begin getting my privet license, or should I just wait and start training from the ground up at ATP?

Any advice or suggestions would be most appreciated.



Hi Levy and welcome,

While I’m sure you’re anxious the majority of pilots who train at their local flight school end up spending far too much time, money and energy. The only time I recommend getting your PPL first is if you’re not 100% sure aviation is for you and you’re reluctant to make the commitment to go all in with ATP. If that’s the case by all means do what you need to do to be comfortable. If however you’re already there then I’d save the money and do all your training with the academy you’re planning on get you ready for your career.


1 Like

Hi Adam,

Thanks for the feedback. Do you think it’s worth it to get an AA, or should I take the time to get a bachelors, so that I’m eligible for the major airlines? I’m just not sure if it’s worth the time I’ll lose (I’d be about 30 if it takes a full 4 yrs) and the debt I would incur from student loans.


Pilots at the major airlines typically earn salaries that are several times larger than what regional airline pilots make. This is also while enjoying much better quality of life, benefits, etc. Yes, it is absolutely worth it for you to get your four year degree and to be eligible for the majors.

The good news is that you can work on this degree while you are at the regionals, in fact many colleges will give you credit for your aviation training.


Welcome to the forum! We definitely recommend you get your bachelors. With that being said, I wouldn’t postpone flight training for four years. Instead you could knock out your associates and then get going on your flight training. You could finish up the last two years while flying for the regionals. So theoretically you could be starting training in two years, at a regional in four and have that bachelors in 6. You’d be 31, a captain at the regionals and a bachelors degree… sounds like a pretty good plan. Or you could start training now and knock out four years of an online bachelors program while at the regionals. This path seems pretty daunting though and could delay your progress to a major because upgrade times are only accelerating.
You didn’t mention any discovery or intro flight? If you haven’t done that yet, that’s first on your list before making any big decisions!

1 Like