How do i attend ATP flight School and College at the same time?

Hi so I’m very interested in Attending the ATP flight school in Addison, I’m a senior in high school and I’m about to graduate. However, I’m having difficulty figuring out if I need to finish college first before I can start because of the attendance policy. I want to do both at the same time so when I graduate from college I can begin my career as a commercial pilot. But if ATP classes and lessons are at the same time as my college classes what do I do? Do I attend a different flight school that can work for me and my schedule, or does ATP require me to have a full-time commitment after college?


Welcome to the forum. Your question has been answered on numerous other threads and that is no you cannot do ATP and college at the same time as ATP is a very condensed program and will be needing your full attention.

That said the Mentors always suggest you continue through to College first as a graduating High Schooler since you are already in school mode and you will need the bachelors degree for the Majors.


ATP requires you to have two years of college, two years of work experience, or a private pilot’s license. You will not be able to enroll without meeting one of those criteria.

I would suggest attending school and obtaining a four year degree (a two year at a minimum) and then starting flight school. I understand that you want to fly, but there are reasons that we encourage people to wait, namely a maturity aspect that only comes with time.

You will nor be able to attend both ATP and college at the same time, there simply is not enough time in the day to do both.

Check out the FAQ section, there is a lot of good information there.


Just to offer a different perspective since most of the mentors have been out of flight training for some years now. I’m 18 and already have 60 college credits as well as my private certificate and instrument rating. I graduated high school a year early though so I started flight training when I was 17 and just recently turned 18. I am on pace to finish my degree in another 1.5 years and will be a CFI faster then I would’ve if I waited to turn 18 and went to ATP with only my private (6 months at ATP if you go in with private, I’m on pace to finish everything 3-4 months from when I turned 18). And I’ll spend estimated about 40% less then I would’ve at ATP. So do some more research and decide whats best for you. ATP used to offer more for less, what I mean by that is 100 hours multi and the program was faster. What it is now you can get done just as fast anywhere else if you’re motivated. (A lot of people complain about small schools but its really there own fault for not doing research and asking the right questions to prospective schools)


Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.


Thanks for your advice.

Hi Aaron,

So do you attend a brick and mortar university or are you pursuing an online degree? I am doing some research on the American Flyers Pilot program and I am allowed to attend classes when I’m available to my understanding. However, the cost are still relatively the same to ATP but there also the benefits of having flight simulators and cadet programs that offer flow through careers to American Airlines. I want to start as soon as possible and get the degree that i want at the same time. That’s why I feel American flyers at the moment will work best for me.Ii am already expecting to commit at least 3-4 days a week towards gaining my licenses. It seems that you went to a small school, were you able to fly as much as you wanted as in did you have to depend on a flight instructors availability or was there always someone that you could fly with or do your briefing with? I am 17 years old and i want to have my private license by the time i turn 18 which is in 3 months, flying 3-4 days a week once i decide my flight school.

I am doing an online degree for the flexibility, 8 week terms and no class times just assignments due at the end of each week. ATP also has cadet programs like American flyers (just not AA cadet academy) I actually qualify for some of them because some airlines don’t care where you actually fly as long as you’re enrolled at there partner university for college some do though I’d say its about 50/50 for example I qualify for Envoys cadet program but not PSA.

I went to a small FBO I was able to fly 5 days a week for private (my CFI took off Tuesday and Wednesdays) for instrument and commercial I’m working with a different instructor who is available every day and the school has enough planes thats also not a problem.

If you are only planning to fly 3-4 days a week then it will probably take you longer then my experience since I fly 5-7 days a week and study like 3 hours every day. But if you wanna knock it all out fast and don’t care about price (since you’re considering American flyers which is also expensive) then it might just make since to do private now but fly 5-7 days per week so you can so you can start ATP right when you’re 18. I know some people say you’ll still be in ''school mode" now but in my experience I have never studied more in high school or college then I have getting my pilot certificates and ratings.


Thanks for you advice I’ll definitely do whatever it takes to get it done as fast as possible, flying 5-7 day a week sounds even better than 3-4. So you’d suggest getting my private licence at a smaller school then going to ATP for the rest? I will Also apply to the AA Cadet program. Regarding the AA Cadet program it there a college requirement ? for instance can i apply now even without having graduated high school?

It really depends, for me I was able to get private and instrument just as fast as I would’ve at ATP while doing college at the same time and I’ll still finish everything faster then if I went to ATP. But since you’ll be 18 in 3 months and haven’t started training yet then knocking out your private in 3 months then going to ATP will most likely be the fastest option for you. But regardless the AA cadet program or whatever option should really workout fine as long as you finish you’re training in 2 years or less you should be able to start working at a regional right when you turn 21 anyways. 23 months of training (if you take that long) then assume 75 hours a month as a CFI for 16 months will put you at 1,500 hours and thats right when you should be 21.

For the AA cadet academy a high school diploma or GED is required so once you graduate and get private you’d probably be a good candidate for that.

Regardless of what school you decide on I strongly suggest flying ASAP if you know its what you wanna do theres no reason to waste 4 years on a degree you don’t have interest in when you just wanna be flying. Though the degree is important so if you go with ATP what I would do is get private now then go to ATP then CFI at a different school where you set your own hours and do college as a CFI at that time. Or you can do it all a small school and start flying and college right after you graduate since you have basically up to 23 months to complete your training to still be at a regional right at 21.

thanks for the great insight it definitely helps me a lot. I will Most certainly start flying ASAP.

Have a great day and best of luck to you,

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The short answer is you don’t. While Aaron is definitely a motivated young man and offers some great ideas as alternatives I recommend you do some of your own research.

First and foremost this is not a race. Getting an education is vitally important in this world and we always recommend college first and getting a degree in something OTHER than aviation. There are countless young people who start off on one path then due to circumstances or simply a change of heart take a turn. While many people dream of flying it’s really not for everyone and it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan.

Further as Chris said you can’t even enroll with ATP until you have either your PPL or 2 years of college.



While I love your enthusiasm you’re a VERY young man with a VERY idealistic view of the world. I’m happy you’re doing so well and you clearly have the support of your family in reaching your goals. The only problem I do have is your sweeping statements that condemn others based on the narrow window you’re looking through.

First you say “in my experience I have never studied more in high school or college then I have getting my pilot certificates and ratings”. With all due respect the only experience YOU have is YOUR personal experience and I’m sorry, not everyone is you. Not every 17yo old has their PPL and 60hrs of college credit. For some maybe they’re not that advanced or capable but for many it’s a financial issues you clearly don’t have. Next you say “A lot of people complain about small schools but its really there own fault for not doing research”. What if they live in an area where there’s only one single flight school that doesn’t have the resources they need to fly every day? What if they need to work to pay for school and flying and simply can’t? Finally the statement “there’s no reason to waste 4yrs on a degree you don’t have interest in when you just want to fly” is beyond naïve, it’s reckless. The reality is not everyone can or should be a pilot. Further again not everyone has the resources. What if a person suffers a medical issue that prevents them from flying now or in the future? I realize all this seems very foreign to you but while you’re correct I have been out of flight training for a while, I have been flying longer than you’ve been alive. During that time I’ve seen many good pilots leave the industry for reasons beyond their control and every one of them was fortunate that they didn’t put all their eggs in one basket.

Again I truly appreciate and applaud your progress and your desire to help others. I only ask you express these statements as suggestions, not absolute statements of fact or point fingers at others based solely on your personal experience which is frankly limited to your personal experience. You’re clearly very fortunate and that’s wonderful but you should appreciate that not everyone is.


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Adam, thoughtful reply and I really do understand and agree with what you’ve said. From now on if I comment I’ll make sure to consider different circumstances but I was only offering suggestions I did say ‘‘So do some more research and decide whats best for you.’’

I am assuming you pay out of pocket for your flight training?


While what Aaron says sounds amazing, keep in mind of the places you will attend school. I didn’t read everything as to where he did his training, but I saw you mentioned Addison as an ATP location which I’m assuming is TX. I’m at the McKinney, TX location and you should really consider weather here. You definitely will not be able to fly 5-7 days a week because of it. You may get lucky, but the likelihood of having good weather everyday is not much. That goes for ATP was well as any school in this area. Just something to keep in mind.