Looking for advice on starting up

I’ve read through posts on this forum mentioning it is nearly impossible to maintain a job while doing the 7-month accelerated program.

I was wondering if it were possible to keep a job during the first 8 weeks. During the private pilot license certification. And then drop the job for the remainder of the program. Is the program intense from the start, or does it pick up later on?

Another question is: If I decided this isn’t for me, can I drop out of the program after only obtaining the private pilot license? Do you pay for the accelerated program fully or it is per certification? If I have to pay for the entire program this obviously wouldn’t make sense.

Some more information about me: I’m 28 years old, and looking to make a major career change. I’ve always had an interest in both flying and working for an airline, I just didn’t think it was possible. I did my admissions flight and it went well (aside from some motion sickness, which does worry me a bit). I don’t want to quit my job if this ends up not working out.

Any advice? Should I look to obtain my private somewhere else at a slower pace and enter ATP later on?

Appreciate any advice.


It sounds like you’re not 100% certain this is what you want to do? Or at least that you’re not willing to commit.

Working during ANY phase of the training is highly discouraged. This is America and no one can stop you but attempting to do so would be a huge mistake and you’d be setting yourself up for failure. The training through all phases is highly accelerated and even people who don’t work often find it very challenging. Further if your thoughts are to drop out after the PPL phase, while you would have the balance of the program refunded, it would be costly and really completely missed the point is the program.

From where you are this is one of the few times I recommend perhaps doing your training elsewhere. While most people find training locally to be expensive, time consuming and ineffective, it may be better for someone who either can’t or won’t commit.



Thank you for the advice. All that I’m 100% certain about is that I want to leave the current career path I’m in. It’s hard to say I’m 100% certain about something new after only 1 admissions flight. I’m just being realistic. So it is hard to drop everything for it. After considering different options, I do think the pilot path is one that I would enjoy and be good at.

I will either spend more time researching and giving it more thought, or go with your other advice and go locally first.


Orrrrr how about a compromise somewhere in between? Why not find a local flight school, start training and see how it goes? If you enjoy it, feel you have aptitude for it, stop getting motion sick etc (maybe continue to your first solo?) then you can make a decision you’re more comfortable with.

There’s no question ATP is the best route if you aspire to be a professional pilot but it is a huge commitment and not to be taken lightly.


1 Like


I am with Adam on this, I would spend some time and money at a local flight school working towards either your private, or maybe just soloing, that is a good way to see how you really feel about flying.

No, you cannot work during any portion of the program. The programs is very intense and you simply will. not have time to work.


Last I checked (might not be current), ATP charges you a “discounted” hourly rate for completing the whole program. Dropping out before completion, you will be charged at a higher hourly rate and get less money back.

I would shop around for a reputable school to get your private at. You need to fly 2 times per week (absolute minimum) and keep up with your studies regardless. Otherwise you’re burning cash.

Make a goal and tell the flight school what it is. Base it on your availability and budget. Try to have good availability 3-4days per week for scheduling.
If you take a week vacation or are “busy” multiple weekends, then you’re not taking it seriously and will burn extra cash / cause delays.
I think 6months should be more than enough time, if you’re serious about it, have the $, and with a school that has a good lesson plan (it could take less).

Chris F

Thanks for the replies, everyone. They are very helpful.

New here looking for guidance.

I spent 6 years in the US Army doing avionics & 4 years now as a civilian working in avionics. I know the ins and outs of aircraft and love this career. I am currently 29.

My grandfather was a pilot & my father was a air traffic controller. I am now entertaining the thought of becoming a pilot myself. I have always contemplated the idea but put it off due to cost & I don’t really like a classroom setting though I do pick up things quickly. I regret not doing it sooner but I feel way more intrigued now that I spent 10 years actually working with all aspects of a plane, specifically spending countless hours on flight tests teaching pilots how to operate their systems.

I’ll get some funding from my GI bill to help with the cost but will still have to take out a loan after reading these threads.

I am looking into the ATP program but fear I’ll be jobless afterwards in completing my hours, though they mention a possible job as a trainer. I am married and have a child, I am 100% committed to completing the program but interested to hear what people did afterwards to complete their hours.

Would love to hear some thoughts & opinions on others experiences with ATP. How was the program? Is it extremely tough, even for those with knowledge? How are the written tests done, is it purely studying material & regurgitating (obviously other than flying). I do not have a bachelors. I know it’s not a requirement for most airlines now but will that put me at a disadvantage?


I suggest you visit the Student Experiences section for threads on student experiences. As for your questions:

  1. ATPs program takes years of experience and compresses it into months. To say it’s difficult is an understatement. With all due respect while I’m certain you’re well versed in avionics, frankly that doesn’t mean you can fly or your knowledge will be applicable. In fact Id caution you that a little humility will help you in the long run.

  2. We recommend you actually complete the written exams prior as the information doesn’t follow the curriculum. This is done purely by rote with the learning to occur later with there’s context.

  3. While a 4yr degree is not a requirement, it’s still needed to be competitive (that’s why ALL the Majors ask). Not having one will definitely put you at a disadvantage. That would however be a good use of your benefits.


1 Like

Thanks, Adam.

I wasn’t insinuating I knew how to fly, I was just stating I have an understanding of aircraft & their systems which lead to my interest in becoming a pilot. Apologies if that came off rude or disrespectful to your career.

I will look into completing the exams to ensure this is a career path I’m committed on taking.

Thank you for your response.

While no one can predict the future, and the industry is cyclical, the shortage is very real. Early retirements exasperated the issue and the shortage is expected to continue through 2030. Hiring has picked back up again since the pandemic. So, now is a good time to be getting started.



Welcome to the forum.

The first thing that jumps out at me is your dislike of classroom training, you need to get over that. While ATP is not heavily classroom dependent, there is certainly a fair amount of it and the airlines are the same way.

You will not be able to use your GI benefits for ATP, with the exception of the costs of checkride fees. There are schools that accept GI benefits, but due to the restrictions the Feds place anthem, it will take you much longer and could easily end up costing you more in the long run.