Questions about starting at ATP

Hello everyone, Im looking at starting at ATP in the near future and had a few questions I was looking to have answered.

  1. I was supposed to have taken a trip to Europe this summer, but due to covid that was cancelled. I was wondering if taking a month or so break between the 9 month program and becoming a flight instructor is possible. Would this put me at any disadvantage? Do they want you to start as a flight instructor ASAP?

  2. Somewhat related to the last question, when you become a flight instructor, what is the likelihood you are placed in the area in which you trained? I am planning to attend ATP in Colorado and would like to stay there throughout my program, however I understand I am at the mercy of where they place you but am still curious if ATP tries to place you locally during your time as a flight instructor. Would a month break if possible make placement locally less likely?

  3. I was wondering if it makes any sense to sign a lease outside of the ATP student housing, I understand you get sent around the country for around 9 weeks during your training, however is there any chance they relocate your training outside of those specified weeks? I understand the student housing has benefits but im curious if I have potential to sign a lease that can hurt me during my training.

  4. Lastly about how much time ahead do I need to reserve my start time with the program? Im assuming they have blocks in which they accept new students, do new students start every month? 3 months? At Any time? Thanks so much.


1a. Taking a month off during the program will not be allowed. The program is designed to get you through without interruption. Taking a month off would certainly require extra training which is not built into the program. You can opt out of CFI school. You cannot postpone.

1b. This changes, but typically ATP wants you to start ASAP.

  1. Unknown. ATP assigns you to the training centers that have the most need. It makes no sense to over staff a training center just because it’s what the CFI wants. You have to accept that you may be assigned to any one of the training centers. Your preferences are taken into account.

  2. You could if you wanted to. There are phases of the training that will be conducted outside of your base such as CFI school and standardization.

  3. Classes start every Monday, but classes do fill up so if you want a better idea call Admin.

Some final thoughts, if you want to get ahead we strongly encourage that you take as many written tests as you can:




  1. they want you to start ASAP while you’re fresh and current. ATP no longer offers a guaranteed position due to the slowdown in the industry and therefore not all will be offered positions. If you’re fortunate to be selected asking them to delay your entry will not be well received and I’d expect them to say “next!”.

  2. It’s literally a matter of luck. As Tory said ATP staffs based on demand. If there happens to be a slot in the location you desire then you were fortunate. Now way of saying for certain.

  3. Living arrangements are your decision. As you point out you will be gone for periods of time. It’s also a question of whether you plan to stay in the area after you complete your training even if you don’t get a position with ATP.

  4. Classes start every month and sooner is always better than later to lock in the date you want.




  1. Taking a month our of your flight training would not only not be allowed, but wold be a very bad idea. A condensed program like this is based on building a knowledge set and reinforcing it every day. Taking a month off would be a sure fire way to destroy your skills and knowledge at a time when they are just forming. Europe can wait.

  2. When ATP offers a job, it is a take it or leave it kind of scenario. I have heard of people not being offered a position for several months, some are offered right away, some not at all. Many people are able to stay in their local area, but there is no guarantee. A month off at this time would also be a bad idea as you will have a brand new set of skills and knowledge that need to be used and built on, not put on the shelf to get rusty.

  3. Many students get housing outside of ATP. If they send you somewhere else during your training, they will provide housing to you.

  4. I recommend booking at least three months in advance.



Little bit of perspective, but when I requested time off they really only wanted to give you time off between phases. Like when I went on vacation it was Like 1 week after starting my instrument training and I wanted 2 weeks but they felt 2 weeks would be too detrimental to my flying abilities so I managed to only get one week for vacation and just met the family where they were already

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Building on your response to 2. Lets say I do not get offered a CFI job for several months, would it be proactive to try to find a job doing other things that get me working on my 1500 hours? When you are hired as a CFI do you sign any sort of contract that requires you to work as a CFI for a given amount of time? Or is it more, “Ive got my 1500 hours, got a job with a regional, I’m moving on”. (Aside from a 2 weeks notice or whatever is courtesy in this position). I apologize if this seems like looking too far into the future from a future student that has not even begun, but I want to be proactive. Thanks for all the help!


If you could find another flying job then sure but keep in mind other than flight instructing there really aren’t that many opportunities for low time pilots.

ATP has no employment contracts. You’re free to leave if you find a better opportunity or get hired at a Regional. In fact that’s the goal of the program. Get trained, build your time, get hired at a Regional and move on.

No need to apologize and I’m glad you’re aware that you’re looking far down the road (and there’s nothing wrong with that). That said I have to tell you I’d be more concerned with getting prepared and doing well as a student (perhaps start studying for your writtens) than vacations and what might happen if you do or do not get an instructor job. Flight training is challenging and not everyone is successful. You’ve not mentioned if you’ve ever flown in a small plane and how you feel about that? If you haven’t you really should as it’s very different than sitting in the back of a Boeing going on vacation.


You’re right, and I am in the process of finishing college courses at the moment(Done in August), and once I am done with that, I have other things to get settled, (lasik, potential move to Colorado, introductory flight, etc.). Once I am through all of that, first thing on my list is working on the written tests and preparing for the process overall. I appreciate the work you guys do on the forum, makes the process much more approachable! (and yes I’ve now accepted the sad reality that my vacation to Europe is over, but I am excited for ATP too! And hey maybe one day Ill get paid to fly there!) Thanks again! Im sure ill be back in the future with more questions.


There is no guarantee you will be hired by ATP, so if they haven’t called, then yes, I would certainly look for work elsewhere.

Some schools might require contracts, ATP does not. Most schools will just request the normal two weeks notice.



You are absolutely right in that hopefully, someday you will be paid to fly to Europe. I spent four years flying over there and got to see all of the major cities.


Hi Daniel, which ATP location are you looking at in Colorado? I am going to be attending Boulder/Broomfield in September/October.

Im attending the Denver location (at centennial). Im officially starting October 5th. Im working at finishing as many written exams as I can until then.