PPL or Community College degree, before ATP

Hi guys,

l got a quick question, what’s better? in order to be qualified to join ATP,? getting a private pilot license at a local flight school, or doing a two years degree at a community college.

here is my thing, where l live there"s a community college that offers a program that is called professional airplane pilot, at this program they can get me not only the two years degree but also all the license that i’d need to be an airline pilot. and of course since it’s a community college is just an associate’s, but l was checking the total cost of the program and it’s a lot of cheaper than ATP. but here is the main concern i got about them, they don’t have any agreement with any airline yet nor guarantee a CFI job like ATP does, in order to meet the minimum hours requirement that most mayor airlines have.

Here is the other way I was thinking about there’s also a local flight school that offers the PPL program for only 7 thousands dollars. to me that sounds like a deal. and would make eligible to start at ATP. but I won’t have no degree. if I go that way.

any advice here?

Remember to take into consideration that you not only need a PPL, but also 80TT. I’m always going to agree with the mentors that the education should be done first in many cases, then followed by the flight training


Personally I believe if you don’t have your PPL it’s best to do all your training with ATP. ATP has a proven method and if you’re going to do the program it’s best to start from day 1 learning the way ATP does things rather than having to possibly change your procedures later. While your local flight school may say you can get your PPL for $7000 I’m willing to bet if you check the fine print there’s a small disclaimer saying “this price is based on the FAA minimum of 40hrs and the average student requires more bla bla bla”. Also as Kamrin points out it’s not just your PPL you’ll nee to go to ATP but 80hrs of flight time.

Now you don’t say how old you are but assuming you’re on the younger side and are still in “school mode” it’s really best to keep going at get your 2yr degree. Keep in mind while ATP requires a PPL, a 2yr degree or equivalent work experience, if you aspire to fly for a Major (and you should) then you will eventually need a 4yr degree.

Finally, as you point out you will need to build time. I have no doubt you may find cheaper schools out there and I appreciate money is important, but the guaranteed instructor position is worth a lot and don’t forget the benefit of completing your training, building time and getting to an airline in about 2yrs vs who knows how long?


I would look very carefully at that local community college. While they might offer a very good program, I bet that they are quoting FAA minimum time requirements and not the actual time that it takes the vast majority of pilots to train.

The 1,500 hour requirement is for all airlines, not just the major ones.

I personally would recommend that you go to college, get a four year degree and then go to a school like ATP to get your licenses. I find this to be the most efficient and cost effective method.

Please do not take this the wrong way, but while you are in college I recommend that you work on further developing you English language skills, to include your writing skills. Part of being a pilot is presenting a professional image and proper use of capitalization, punctuation and spelling is part of that.