Real Answers from Real Pilots

Outlook for someone finishing a master's degree

Hey everyone, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Luis, and I am about to finish the master’s program I am currently enrolled in. It goes without saying that I already have a bachelor’s degree. However, I studied my bachelor’s in Mexico, and Master’s in Germany. I don’t really have any relevant working experience or history in the US. However, I recently moved back to the States. I’ve been doing my homework looking up different flight schools, reading reviews, watching youtube channels, and informing myself (for a year now).

So far ATP has the most attractive offer with connections to diverse regional airlines, and because of its involvement with programs such as the United Aviate program.

My first question, does a master’s degree help in any way or have any impact?
My second question, what financing options do I have if a cosigner is out of the question, and I have limited to no credit history to speak of? I know it’s a tall order, but I am currently 31 years old and would like to be already at least employed in a regional airline before I reach 35, as I would like to be able to have at least a 30 year career as an airline pilot. The only working experience is that of the part-time jobs I did in Germany to pay for my studies.

I look forward to your answers, and I’m happy to be part of this forum :slight_smile:

Welcome Luis,

ATP students usually apply for a loan through Sallie Mae:
Most students require a co-signer. Beyond that, call Kirk at ATP. He may have more info about your options.

The master’s degree is not as helpful as you may think. It’s not completely useless, but airlines care more about ratings, certs, flight experience, and few or no check ride busts.

If you haven’t already, take a look at our FAQ section:

Also, have you ever flown before? If not, it’s an absolute must if you’re thinking about making a career of this.


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Hi Tory,

Thank you for the quick response!
Sure, I’ll give Kirk a call and talk with him about my options.

I have not yet done a discovery flight, but it is definitely on my list of things to do as part of settling back in to the US :sunglasses:

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You don’t mention the fields of study for your Bachelor’s or your Master, so we’ll assume it’s not aviation related? If that’s the case as Tory said the Master’s won’t do anything for you (and in fact the interviewers will wonder why you spent so much time and energy on a field you don’t practice?). The other problem you have is you’re 31, have returned to the US and have just decided you want to be a pilot but have yet to take a flight (and no sitting in the back of an Airbus doesn’t count). Where I disagree with Tory is that intro flight is absolutely mandatory. It’s like me deciding I want to play soccer for the Mexican National team and have never held a ball. Until you go up and see what it’s like in the cockpit, the fact is you have no idea if it’s something you’ll like or have any aptitude for. Chances are you will but many people do not. If you’re serious about this as a career you need to go for a flight. Further if you’re to have any chance of reaching that 4yr goal you need to get started sooner than later.


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If you are seriously considering attending ATP, then it makes sense to do your introductory flight there. Check out this link:

Also, if you apply for financing and get approved, ATP will waive the Introductory Flight fee, details are on the website above.


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Hi Luis,

ATP exclusively works with Sallie Mae for a credit-based student loan. Although you can get approved individually, Sallie Mae has a minimum credit criteria to which they look to determine a decision on an application. If you have any concerns or want to discuss other options, I would also recommend contacting Kirk in our finance department.

Hope this helps!