Real Answers from Real Pilots

My route to being an airline pilot

My dream in life has been to fly for a living. I have loved aviation since I was in diapers, but this is an aviation forum so I’ll save you from what you’ve heard 100 times.

I’m a senior in high school, near top of my class, and ran out of classes to take (small school - grad class is 46 people!) so I went on to post-secondary and by the end of this semester I will have 24 credit hours from Kent State University (local branch). I have logged 5 hours of dual (mostly limited because of time restraints and financial restrictions), but plan on finishing out my private at some point between now and August.

'Spose I’ll just throw out my question: is going straight to ATP after finishing my private the smartest option, and doing some college throughout instructing and maybe even after starting at a regional? Or should I finish up an A.S/B.S. before even attending ATP? I want to get a jump start on my career in aviation, and it seems like seniority is everything, so the sooner I start the better, right?

I’m sure you guys have heard this scenario before, or something similar. Whatever advice you might have, as unbiased as possible, would be awesome!

On a side note, I have thought about pursuing Aerosim Flight Academy, Embry-Riddle, and many other flight schools and aviation universities. ATP seems to be the fastest and most cost-efficient, but I could be wrong. Debt is something I would like to avoid as much as possible, however I am not sure the military is a path I would like to take.

Thanks in advance!



Welcome to the forums! I would recommend that you stay in school mode and go to college, then attend flight school. I certainly understand your desire to get up in the air as quickly as possible, but it is easier to finish school while you are still in school mode than it is to try and go back later. I have seen so many people say that they are going to go back to school, then they never do.

If you really want to get up in the air you could finish your associates degree, go to flight school and then later finish your four year degree online. This way certainly works, but call me old fashioned, I like the idea of just knocking college out first.

Unfortunately debt is a very necessary part of obtaining education. I didn’t like being in debt either, but if I hadn’t taken out the loans I certainly would not have the income that I do today.



I agree with Chris. I would even say that if you only have 5hrs right now, don’t even continue with private at this point. Knock out a degree and then get back in to flying. Getting a PPL right now and then letting it sit for 4 years while you get a degree is a waste and you will forget a lot of what you worked so hard to learn.

At this point, take advantage of the headstart you already have with college and get it done. You will thank yourself later.