Process of going from student to CFI

I am a 30 year old looking to start with ATP within the next year, and I had one question. The path to commercial pilot has a student becoming a CFI with ATP in order to get all ratings, certifications, and hours to meet the requirements of commercial pilot. Do you become a CFI with the school that you are attending? Or is it more of a situation where you get trained to be a CFI and then apply for an opening with ATP? Thanks a bunch and looking forward to a life in the air.

After earning your commercial certification, you’ll attend one of ATPs regional CFI Academies for your CFI certification. You have the option of staying at the academy to finish your CFII or you can return to your school and complete it there. The last certifications after CFII are the Commercial Multi Engine and Multi Engine Instructor at a location with a Seminole if your school does not have the aircraft.


Thank for the answer, and after you have those certifications and you are logging away to get to 1500 hours, are you applying for jobs as a flight instructor or do they have you instruct at the school you attended?


After completing the Career Pilot program you’ll have all the licenses and ratings you need to be a professional pilot. Flight instructing is the most common route and it’s also an excellent way to hone your skills (it’s not just about building time to check a box, it’s more about becoming a skilled pilot). Do well in training and ATP will offer you an instructor position and give you a list of available locations. Your home location may or may not be available. If there’s a location that works for you and you want to instruct for ATP great. If not you’re free to find a job elsewhere.

While you’re building your time you would start researching Regionals and when you settle on one or two apply to one of their programs. One of the benefits of instructing for ATP is they have agreements with virtually every Regional in the country and their recruiters frequently visit the locations to solicit applicants long before you reach your 1500hrs. ATP even has direct entry programs with Spirit and Frontier that would allow you to bypass the Regionals all together and go straight into the right seat of an Airbus! This is unheard-of in the industry.



Taken right from ATP’s website is a timeline that they have published:

Source: Airline Career Pilot Program Flight Training Timeline / ATP Flight School

You will obtain the following flight time when attending ATP’s ACPP:


Flight instructing is the most common route; however, some take the route of jobs like banner towing, aerial photography, pipeline, etc. to build their time. Some will start to venture into Part 91 or Part 135 operations with corporate/charter companies after a few hundred hours if they get the call. After completing ATP’s program in good standing with a job offer, you can start to apply for pathway and tuition reimbursement once you meet minimums for a company. This is how some if not a lot of instructors obtain a little more income to help offset fixed and variable expenses.

ATP’s partnerships can be found: