Individual Ratings

Hey all. I appreciate all answers to my question in advance.

So my situation is quite complicated. I am currently a high school senior with a PPL, and I am working on my instrument rating at my local flight school. My goal is to have my instrument rating completed by the end of summer.

In the fall I will be relocating to my college and I noticed there are multiple ATP locations around. I would love to train there on the flex track if possible. I am wondering what the feasibility is of this. In other words, I have multiple questions:

  1. If I began at ATP this fall working on a
    commercial certificate, would I still have to pay the price as if I was going from IR to CFI, or could I qualify for a discounted rate?
  2. Does ATP offer individual rating in a flex track format? If so, could I earn my commercial from ATP for the 21-22 school year, and then do the CFI camp during the summer (when I have no obligation to be located anywhere)? How could multi-engine rating play into this?

Overall, do you guys think it would be beneficial to me to train at ATP, or does my situation overall not bode well, and I should instead find a mom & pop flight school at my college location, which will allow me to have more cost/timing flexibility overall? (The timing is especially important because, as a college student at a top university, my time will be limited mostly to weekends. - This is why I think a mom/pop might be better for me, I’d just like to hear some advice overall)

FYI, I am currently training at a Part 141 mom/pop so I am used to the structured training environment.

Thanks so much for your help, I think I know the answer to my situation, I’d just like to have some comforting advice to confirm. Thanks a lot.


Despite what you think your situation is not so complicated. There are literally hundreds of pilots out there who are at various stages of training.

  1. As I said, you’re not unique and ATP offers custom programs for people starting at various levels of training. Custom Airline Career Pilot Program / ATP Flight School

  2. I don’t believe so but you’d need to speak directly with Admin. The reason for my doubt is ATP was created to train pilots for the airlines by using similar training ideology as the airlines. Most important is that successful training is dependent on consistency. Flying skills are perishable and taking long breaks simply is not efficient. That said again you’d need to speak with admin.

Honestly I’m a little confused by your question? You obviously recognize some benefit to training with ATP but it seems like you want to do as much training as you can elsewhere. ATP has produced thousands of successful airline pilots and has been doing so for more than twice as long as you’ve been alive. While some have been successful doing their flight training at their local flight school, many more have not. Those who are usually spend a considerable amount more time and money than they need to. I’m getting a sense you’re in a hurry and believe this is a race. It’s not. Just as you want to do well in university you’ll also want to do equally well in flight school. If your goal is to eventuality be an airline pilot I’m curious why you believe going to a “top” university is important but you can be successful going to just any flight school.


I applaud you for what you’ve accomplished so far. You also sound very driven to try and tackle college along with flight training. Typically we don’t recommend it because usually one or the other suffers. Often better to finish college first then pick up your flight training. However if you are wanting to continue the ball rolling on your training throughout college, check out this link below. It’s information on the flex track program while attending college. I’m not sure how they would accommodate you starting at commercial but I highly doubt you’d have to pay for instrument flight time you don’t need. Best to reach out to the admissions department for that specific question.


Thank you both for your timely answers.

For me, thanks to my generous parents who have saved for years, along with generous merit and financial aid, I will be able to attend university at zero cost to me. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, and thus, I see no downside towards getting a degree, especially as it can serve as backup in case I lose my medical, etc.

Thank you both for your advice. I think it makes sense for me not to rush things. I guess I just have a desire to always be up in the sky :slight_smile:

Perhaps it makes the most sense for me to wait until I graduate college, at which point then I can begin a constant training program at ATP, which, since I already have a private and will have an instrument, it shouldn’t take me that long to progress. I do want the advanced training that ATP provides because I do believe it will help me at the airlines. This might be the best way rather than trying to cram everything in.

Thanks again for your help.

Edit: Spelling.


Welcome to the forums. Your situation might seem complicated to you, but it is the same as many thousands that have gone before you.

ATP generally starts people at two points, either zero time, or with their PPL. They have recently begun doing some custom programs, so they might be able to start you with an instrument ticket for a reduced price. You would need to contact the admissions department to ask.

ATP does offer some individual ratings, you can read which ones here: Pilot Flight Training Programs / ATP Flight School The commercial is not one of them.

I am a bit biased, but I never think one should train at a mom and pop school, ever. These schools are rarely equipped to handle professional students and to do it in any sort of reasonable timeframe. I find that typically it ends up costing people more than they think it will at these kinds of schools.

I would suggest that you finish college, then go to flight school. I find that it often a much better approach and allows you to focus on one major thing at a time.


1 Like


Welcome to the Forums!

  1. ATP does offer Custom Programs (credit for PPL and IR), but they are not offered on Flex Track (part-time) schedule. All custom programs would follow a Fast Track timeline. Typically, we credit the last rating that you completed, but we would need to look at your logbook to provide specifics.

  2. We offer a few stand alone ratings (Pilot Flight Training Programs / ATP Flight School) but none on a Flex Track schedule. Unfortunately, we would not be able to break up the commercial + CFI ratings as you mentioned as custom programs are only done on a Full-Time schedule.

I agree with Chris in saying that the best option may be to finish college and then do a Fast Track Custom Program with ATP. If you have any additional questions in regards to Custom Programs, feel free to reach out to admissions at 904-595-7950.

Hope this helps!


1 Like