Pre-ATP Preperation

Hey, I’ve been lurking on here for a bit, but I haven’t found someone in too much of a similar position to myself.
I’m 19 years old and graduated High School last year. I’ve spent the last 8 months or so living in another country, but as I’ve recently returned to the States, I’ve decided that I need to start preparing for a career. I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I was a child (My father was a flight attendant for JetBlue), but I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut. After a lot of research, I decided I want to do ATP. I don’t have a lot saved up, but I just got a job and have good credit. I’m thinking about applying for a loan and doing the Introductory Flight once I’ve saved up a bit more.
My question is this: What is the best ways to prepare at this point? I’ve read a little on here about studying for exams before classes start. I’ve read the Pilot’s Handbook and a few other resources, but if there is anything else specific that I should look at, I’d love to hear it. Also, is starting flight school at 19 (20 in February) too early, or is it better to give yourself more time to work after school and pay off your loans? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!


What you should know is ATP is now more strickly enforcing their admission requirements:

and will actually be adding a few more shortly. If you’ve just graduated HS it sounds like you won’t qualify at this time and that’s fine. The reality is most people need a little more growing under their belts before they can handle the rigors of the program. I actually would hold off taking any exams until you secure start date and admission.



I am with Adam here. I would not take any exams until you have secured a start date. Until then, there really is not much you can do to start preparing. I would focus on perhaps attending a few years of college so you can meet ATP’s admission criteria.



Welcome to the forum.

Typically at your age we recommend you go to college first. A bachelors degree is still HIGHLY preferred. Without one you will be much more limited in your career. Doing so, you would check the box for ATP admission requirements, set yourself up well for your future career and prepare you for the rigors of the ACPP.

Since you know that becoming a pilot is the goal, seek out that degree on a tight budget. Community college can help for the first two years and then in-state colleges with grants or scholarships to help you complete it. Along the way, save as much as you can and explore any possible co-signer options. That will help you secure the loan.



I’m a few days late to the party, so I apologize. ATP just released their new prerequisites for attending the ACPP:

As the others have already mentioned, getting some studies with secondary education is highly preferred. As long as you attend an accredited school, it could be done in-person or online. Like Hannah mentioned, community college is a great start because you can knock out some of the ‘general education’ credits and then decide from there. It is typical to need a co-signer for the ATP loan, lenders are giving you thousands (if not hundredth of a thousand) to attend flight school, they want to ensure they will get money back.

Wait until you are positively sure that you are attending flight school with a start date to take any FAA written tests. They do expire and the last thing you want is having to repeat a test because it expired, potentially scoring worse or having to retake it a 3rd time, etc.