My name’s Isaac, and I’m sure you get this a lot, but I have a question about atp. So as a preface, I’m 17 years old and am a senior in high school this year, and I’m seriously looking into flight school. I love flying even though I haven’t done much, and I don’t want to have the wrong attitude in pursuing this. What I’m planning on is getting my ppl hopefully before the end of this year, and then after that if I still love it getting the required 78hours(?) that I would need in order to have it qualify for atp. I’d hope to be enrolled in atp and be able to start in January of 2024. I know this is kind of a long way to get to the question, but it’s this. I’m super blessed that I come from an amazing family, but I also will need to pay for it all myself, and so do you think it would be smart or not to take out the loan(around 50 thousand ideally)? Or should I just hold off for a few years and save up until I can pay for it completely?
And now that I’m typing this I have another question. I know I’m young but I want to start working for an airline as soon as possible. I know you must be 21 in order to meet a FO position, but is the zero-airline in two years something that is possible?
I’d appreciate anything you have to say!
Thanks so much!
It’s clear you’ve done your research which is a good thing. To get to your questions I do have a few thoughts.
First, I do think you should wait a few years, but not to save money and avoid the loan but to complete your education. First the Majors ALL prefer applicants with degrees so you’re going to need one. Second at 17 many things can happen and it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case flying doesn’t work out either by choice or circumstance.
That said the choice is yours and if you’re not going to wait I would see the loan as an investment in your future and with the current salaries and bonuses being offered you could literally pay the loan off immediately.
It’s actually more like 2.5yrs but yes it’s very possible.
Thanks so much for answering my question so quickly! And in terms of a degree, does it matter if it’s an associates or bachelors? And yeah I 100% want to have a back up. I’m actually taking a programming class from a guy in our Church who works for Microsoft. And while I enjoy that a lot, I don’t really see myself doing that for a career, but definitely as a possible alternative if this somehow doesn’t work out.
Also if you don’t mind me asking your opinion on this I’d like to get it. Do you think if I still went to flight school and became a CFI and THEN afterwards worked on at least getting my associates would work? I know in today’s day you can get almost all your degrees online, and I’m used to and wouldn’t mind working late on school especially if it meant something that would help me. And unless I’m really blessed I probably won’t be able to go straight to the majors so I’d have to work at a regionals anyway. Also if I sound cocky that is not my intention at all and I apologize. I’ve just been thinking about all this a lot and I want to get some opinions from the experts.
You don’t should cocky at all and you’re asking some very good questions.
The Majors want a 4yr Bachelors. An Associates won’t really help you (other then getting half way to a Bachelors).
That said, a good compromise would be get your Associates (local community is fine and save some more money working). Then go to ATP, get trained and build your time, THEN finish your Bachelors online with credit for both your Associates and credit for your licenses and ratings while you’re at a Regional. Something to think about that checks all the boxes and def worth discussing with your parents.
Yeah that sounds good and I’ll definitely talk to my parents about that, so thank you so much Adam! I really appreciate your quick responses and insights. One more quick question, I read on here that all of you guys are atp graduates, and I’m assuming that you were a flight instructor for them as well. So (not wanting to get too personal or anything) were you married when you did that? And even if you weren’t, do you think it’s doable to be married and flight instruct at atp?
That is an interesting question. I was single when I went through the program, but I think that if your marriage is healthy, your spouse is supportive, and realistic expectations are discussed then it is absolutely possible.
The best advice that I have for any spouse or significant other of a pilot is to live their own life regardless. That sounds obvious, but it is worth reminding anyone that may be apprehensive about the idea of their sig. other who is unavailable for an extended period of time.
Thanks for answering! One thing is, I know flight instructors don’t make much money at all, and I’d be having to pay of the loan, so yeah I guess my question was more on the financial side of things. That however makes perfect sense. Definitely hope it would be a strong relationship regardless
Not only was I married, I had 3 kids, a mortgage and a dog! AND that was doable (not easy) long before Tuition Reimbursement AND the Regionals were paying hiring bonuses that would allow you to pay off your loan immediately.
I think you should wait until you at least have two years of college under your belt. To begin with, this will help you meet ATP’s entry requirements. Beyond that, the maturity and wisdom that comes with a few more years of college will serve you well when it comes to flight training.
As for the loan, taking out a loan for flight school was the absolute best decision I ever made. It has paid dividends many times over. Do the math on it, but financially it does not make sense to wait to save money given what airline pilots can make, especially in their later years.
Do you think airlines rather see a bachelor’s degree (in any subject) or an associate degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology and an A&P license? I’m in A&P school right now, so I’m trying to figure out if what I’m doing is a good route for the airlines, or if I should to transfer to a 4-year college. I’m thinking about finishing up my associate degree and then going to ATP.
That’s an easy one. ALL airlines ask on their applications if you have a 4yr degree. Not if you have an A&P, an Associates or anything else. In fact if you look at virtually every airlines hiring mins you’ll see “4yr Degree preferred”. You will not see Associates, A&P or anything else. You either have one or you don’t.
Totally your call. I always like getting the degree out of the first, but with the industry booming like it is I’m softening on that a little. While the shortage is forecasted to continue for a while, I do believe the airlines will catch up.
With that in mind, I would consider finishing your A&P (so at least you have some backup), going to ATP, build your hours, get hired at a Regional and then finish you Bachelors online with credit from you Assoc and your licenses and ratings. Again you’re call.