Real Answers from Real Pilots

High School to ATP

Hey my name is Carson,
I want become a commercial pilot one day and have been doing lots of research. I am planning on going to visit ATP’s training center here in Oregon. Do I need any other degree or diploma besides my high school diploma/ GED Equivelant if I were to go to ATP straight out of high school?

Carson,

You do not but I would strongly recommend you think about college first. To be successful in this industry you will need a 4yr degree. That’s something that’s much easier to obtain now while your young vs later when you’re already flying.

Further you don’t mention any flight experience. While I certain you believe you want to be a Commercial pilot, until you actually sit at the controls of a small aircraft you really won’t know for sure if it’s really for you.

I encourage you to schedule an intro flight when you visit and also give the college thing some more thought.

Adam

Adam,
Thank you so much for your advice it really is very helpful! I am also working on scheduling my intro flight as well along with my visit.
Thank you,
Carson

Carson,

Another option to consider is to start ATP after high school and then finish your four year degree online while at a regional. This is not what I did nor is it what I recommend. I think college first, then flight school is a better approach, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

If you do decide to enroll in flight training after high school and then finish your degree later you need to have a strong work ethic to be able to pull it off. Most people struggle getting back into school mode after being out of school for a while.

Let us know how the intro flight goes!

Tory

1 Like

Carson,

Welcome to the forum. I would certainly shoot for more than a GED. I feel like if you list a GED on your resume, as opposed to a high school diploma, that will always raise questions (and rightly so). There really is no reason to not graduate with a proper high school diploma.

I also would encourage you to consider college first, at least two years of it.

But to answer your original question, yes a high school diploma or GED will be sufficient for flight school.

Chris

Chris,
I personally will be getting a high school diplonma I am a junior. I just put GED in there for anyone who might be reading this and is in that situation.

What would the difference be in a 2-year and 4-year degree? Would the major airlines be more interested if I had a 2 year rather than just a high school diploma?

Thanks,
Carson

Carson,

The major airlines, such as FedEx, UPS, Delta, United, Southwest, and Hawaiian will all want to see a four year degree. Neither a two year degree or a high school diploma will be sufficient. Some of the national airlines such as Spirit and Frontier might be willing to overlook not having a degree, but they will certainly prefer one. The regional airlines do not require a degree.

The only reason that I mentioned a two year degree is that you could finish two years of school, go to flight school and get on at the airlines, and then finish up your four year degree. No airline will give any consideration to a two year degree by itself, think of it as a “halfway there certificate.”

Chris

1 Like

Hello Carson,
I wanted to give you a little insight on your original question you asked about ATP right out of High school. I graduated High school in June of 2020 then started ATP the following August with credit private. It took me 7 months to complete the program because I dedicated all of my time to ATP. I learned I could use the Pilot certificates toward college credit and transferred 49 credit hours into Liberty University Online and am pursuing a 4-year degree. Although it does take a lot of time and dedication, it is definitely possible from what I have experienced so far.

  • Ian

Ian,
Thank you very much this is really good info to here. Are you a regional pilot or some sort of pilot right now or just focusing on getting your degree?

Thanks,
Carson