New and have no idea what I’m doing

Hello, Im Geneva.
I’m new to this website but I really like it so far. I’ve been reading a lot of posts and want to get my own questions out there.
A little bit about me, I’m in school right now at IAHA to become a flight attendant. (I know, perfect timing right?) Anyways, as you can imagine, there’s not too many jobs right now for me or the other students who have been studying beside me in this 6 month program. I am due to graduate on Dec 2nd.
I’m from a super small town and have almost zero experience on a plane. I took my first plane ride a couple days ago from PDX to SEA just so I could know the feeling and experience a plane ride. I know what you’re thinking, yes I did commit to an an air and hospitality school before even being on a plane and yes it was crazy and no I’ve never done anything like this! My plane ride went as great as I think it would ever be. Got to sit in the cockpit and talk to pilots before everyone else boarded, asked some questions and got some advice and after landing I got a sweet shoutout over the intercom as a “future pilot” which confirmed my wants and dream to become a pilot.
Here’s where I need the advice. After I move back home in December since I will most likely not have a flight attendant job lined up (I’m still open and looking for one since it was my plan in the beginning) I’m thinking of jumping straight into school at the community college in my town. They have an aviation program that says I would be able to accomplish the requirements of getting all of my licenses. I’m not exactly sure though if it is a good idea. Only because the pilot that I met on my plane ride told me I didn’t really need to go to school. Which I think he meant to get a degree or something instead of just going straight into flying and getting my licenses?
I need help on how to start and where to go. I want to take advantage of the pandemic and use this time to go to school or do what I need to do to start my dream career. Any and all advice is welcome and I’m sorry for the long post!!!


I have to hand it to you, signing up for Flight Attendant school without ever having been on an airplane is a big move. I would point out that CommutAir is most likely still hiring FAs.

Before you spend any real money on flight training, you really need to take an introductory flight. It is one thing to sit in the back of an airplane and look out the window, it is quite another to actually fly an airplane. You can take an introductory flight at most flight schools or at ATP, usually for a nominal fee.

To clarify the college question; the regional airlines do not require their pilots to have a college degree, the majors absolutely do. Trust me, you will want to work at a major. Furthermore, you will need a full, four year degree, which is probably not what the community college is offering.

Please take a look at the FAQ section as many of your questions will be addressed there. Welcome to the forums!


Thank you for responding and for clarifying my school question. I usually don’t step out of my comfort zone so deciding to take any kind of leap towards my dream is very weird for me!
I will for sure take tour advice and schedule an intro flight soon. I do realize flying in the back is in sure way different than being in the front seat, especially when my plane ride experience was only about 30 min long! Haha.
Thank you again for responding!


Anytime. Let us know how else we can help you.


Just had my intro flight and it was awesome!! Definitely interested in attending atp in Hillsboro! Just need to figure out some things first! I’m very excited!

Wonderful to hear Geneva.

That’s a great first step. If we can help you with the figuring out the “some things” please feel free to ask any and all.


Thank you Adam. I would like some of your advice/opinions on my situation if you don’t mind!
My hometown is in central OR. The closest ATP to me is in Hillsboro OR. Currently I’m in Vancouver WA (which is about 30 min. from Hillsboro).
My main concerns are financial support and housing… I would for sure have to get a loan to pay for everything and I also know there is added expenses that I will have to pay. I do have some financial support from my family but when reviewing the numbers I’m a little bit hesitant. Also I think that the housing at ATP in Hillsboro may not be around for much longer and if it is I will also have to pay for that I think. I guess my next move would be to talk to a housing advisor and the financial department?
I also have to consider that since I am attending IAHA currently to become a FA, I will soon be starting payments to pay this loan off which is about ($10,000). So I’m thinking about taking some time to pay off some bills before I drown in debt and ruin my chances of being approved for ATP and anything else. It’s very hard to plan anything at a time like this with COVID and everything, so I’m trying my best to think more about now rather than later. What do you think?


These all sound like personal financial decisions. You just need to decide what’s best for you. How much debt are you willing to take on, etc. Yes, you should definitely call Admissions about Hillsboro’s housing plans. I haven’t heard of it closing. Where did you get that info from? As a side note, a 30 minute commute isn’t that bad except I could see rush hour being an issue trying to get over the bridge.



I am glad you enjoyed your intro flight.

Here is a page that is actually designed for financing co-signers, but that has Alor of good information on it that you will find helpful when making your decisions:

I would also encourage you to call and speak to Kirk in the financing department as he is the expert and will be able to give you an idea of what you may qualify for.


Tory, thanks for responding. I’m only in Vancouver because I’m attending IAHA. I live in campus housing so after I graduate I will no longer have a place to live here. If I did i would definitely be willing to make the small commute to Hillsboro. And yes it is a lot of personal finance, I just really like to have other people’s feed back, and I appreciate yours thank you!

Chris, thank you so much I will definitely give look into this post! And I’ll be calling ATP tomorrow to see if I can connect with Kirk. Thank you for the help!


As Tory said, a 30min commute is not bad at all and if you can save on housing by all means do.

Unfortunately the finances are often the biggest obstacle perspective pilots face. You really want to focus all you energy and attention on training and that means going in with a clear head. Whatever you need to do to accomplish that is the right decision for you.


Adam, yes a 30 min commute wouldn’t be a factor for me I would gladly accept, unfortunately I will have to leave my school campus housing when I graduate in December. I am trying to keep a clear mind because I do have a tendency to stress and overthink things. Especially with finances. But you’re absolutely right I want to be able to focus and give all of my dedication to training. I do have a great support system and my parents have told me they will do what they can to help. I’m hoping I can cut down some expenses as well that are not a necessity and hopefully I will get approved for a loan. Thank you for the response!

There’s a ATP school in West Chicago! It’s more affordable living then WA.

Thank you I’ll for sure check it out!!

Did you by any chance attend that atp school in west chicago?