Hello fellow (future) pilots! ...and a few brief questions

Hi everyone! This is my first post on the forum. I am a 27yo currently in graduate school studying molecular biology. I have loved aircraft since I was little and I took my first flight with ATP just before my 27th birthday. For many different reasons, it took me until last year to realize that I could pursue a career as a professional pilot (duh… how dumb am I?). I understand that the sooner I am able to begin training, the better my career and earning prospects will be; however, I want to complete my degree since I’ve already sunk four years into my research. Because of this I will be approaching 29yrs of age before beginning flight training. There are different reasons for this post, but the main ones are these: I have basic questions I hope can easily be answered by this awesome community, I want to start connecting with other prospective pilots, and as a general catharsis as I am not able to tell anyone at my institution of my dream due to their expectations that I will become a research scientist.


  1. If I were to be qualified and skilled enough to make it through training and get offered a CFI position at ATP, would I have a say in the location where I would be based or would it be at the discretion of ATP?

  2. Are there any check-ride/graduation/regional airline placement statistics for students from ATP?

  3. Do you think having a PhD will help/hurt me in any way with airlines? (I am guessing that no one will care as everything seems to be based on seniority and mol bio has very little to do with flight).

  4. Have you heard of or know anyone in the industry with a similar background? (It’s always nice to hear of or talk to people who have similar experiences and can speak to a particular situation)

  5. Can you recommend any good pilot/aircraft/industry books or documentaries I can soak up as I dredge through my final bit of research?

I am thrilled with the prospect of seeing if I have what it takes to be a pilot at the highest level. Thank you, to any and everyone who took the time to read this post. I am very excited to be a part of this community.


Here we go:

  1. At the time of completion ATP will show you a list of open and available locations for instruction. Hopefully there’s one you like and you’ll simply say send me there. If not you have 2 choices: a) say thanks but no thanks and seek employment elsewhere or b) accept one of the available locations and request a move when it’s available (could be a month, could be never). Your choice.

  2. The only stats I’m aware of are ATP maintains a student success/completion rate in the low 80s% and over 600 pilots were placed with airlines in the last 12mos.

  3. Neither.

  4. Not sure what aspect of your background you’re looking to relate to? What I can say is at least half the people who post here are/have studied something else and decided to make a switch.

  5. The internet is probably your best source of info. If you have a question Google away as someone else has most definitely asked the same. The FAA also has all their manuals available free online covering many areas of the industry: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/


Hi Adam,

Thanks for taking the time to respond and for your answers. With #4 I was referring to academia. From looking through different forums I see that lots of people switch career tracks from wildly different fields, I just wondered if you had ever met or knew of anyone who left research.

I have done some google searches and have a few different books on my list, but was more wondering if you or any other fellow aviation enthusiasts had particular recommendations.

Thanks again for your time and great answers!


Here is a recommendation I once was given to start with, “Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot”.


1 Like

Looks like a great book! Thanks so much, Caleb.