Is there an earn as you learn program?

Good evening all , I’m flirting with the idea to fulfill a dream and change my career from firefighter paramedic to pilot .
Is there such thing as an earn as your learn program that is like the ATP?


The short answer is no. ATP program is highly accelerated but that means you’ll be training full-time with no ability to work.

While there may be programs that would allow you to work, they’re incredibly inefficient as successful flight training is dependent on consistency (this is why the military and airlines both train full time).


Yeah that’s what I assumed
Just didn’t know if they had programs like earn as you learn since there is a shortage

They are doing it for like Emts etc they get a pay check as they learn how to be an EMT etc

Thank you

Definitely a hard decision and hard thing to do
To walk away from a full time paying job to go
Not make money for a few months


The problem is while flying isn’t rocket science or brain surgery, that fact is not everyone can or should be a pilot and no one is going to pick up the tab until you’ve completed your training. After that there is reimbursements and bonuses to allow you to recoup but again that’s after the fact.


Yeah I got it. I have my private pilot license already. Just looking to see the Avenue for further. Thank you.

Adam mills

Mom and pop flight schools might have an unofficial version of this where you work in dispatch / other things and get a discount on flight training. Had 3 friends do this, it took them 3-4years 0 to 1500hrs instead of 2years for me. Cost them about $40k-60k less than me now, but I have more seniority and income for +30years.

Like Adam said, it’s inefficient in relation training (less you train, the more time spent knocking off rust each flight), and lost seniority / potential earnings at airlines. But if that’s the only option you have, consider it. You won’t know until you walk in and ask the flight school management

Chris F


I did something similar to ‘earn as you learn’, it’s called being a CFI! Jokes aside, the only way you’d be able to earn while being a student is to work a job, which isn’t recommended if you are looking for a fast paced program. You could work at your local FBO or flight school and you might be able to get discounted training. You just wouldn’t be able to fly as much as if you did training full time.



Thousands of students that have gone through the ATP program all had the same difficult decision. It’s not easy or comfortable to leave a good paying job to be unemployed and take out a huge loan towards a new career. But you either believe in your dream and want it enough to take the risk for yourself or you don’t. It’s not an easy path but it sure is rewarding.



If you are unsure whether this career or idea is for sure your cup of tea, I strongly recommend taking a few introductory lessons at your nearby airport. You didn’t mention whether you have any flight experience and that is the #1 TO GO question that needs to be answered. If you have done an introductory flight and find it worth your investment, then I would recommend a school like ATP to accelerate and focus directly on flight training.

If you’re unsure, I would recommend a smaller-scale flight school and acquire the PPL first, then you can make the decision before investing a LOT of money.


Thank you sir , yes I do have my PPL with 84 hours of flight time . As stated prior it’s just a hard move to leave a great job for such a long time hoping to be successful. I appreciate everyone’s two sense on here helping me guide to make a decision. I’m 33 and would be a complete career change from being a firefighter paramedic something I have always done and wanted to do somthing I have always wanted and admired .