Recent ATP graduates and where they are now

Hello all!

First time posting here! I’ve been reading countless threads that have answered many of my questions already. Just a quick intro about me. Like some here, I’m seeking a career change, coming from 10 years in law enforcement. I am 32 with a wife and baby. I would like to say I have most of my ducks in a row and a pretty solid plan on how to make this jump. Nearly identical to someone else who posted in this forum.

Anyway, I wanted to hear from some current/recent ATP students/graduates on how their fast-track experience was and get some “real time” input from those who are going through it. I am specifically curious about:

  • The training timeline accuracy of 7 months. Could it be more or less?
  • Was there ever a period where there were no students to instruct as a CFI and what did you do and how long was it?
  • For those who have completed their 1500 hours, did you or are you having any issues finding a regional airline to get on with?
  • What has been the time lapse from the start of training until now?
  • For those who have a Sallie Mae loan, did you experience anything that wasn’t known when applying?
  • I see some ATP locations with 10+ CFIs on their roster. Do these numbers mean its just a large CFI-student ratio or are these locations struggling to get students for their CFIs to instruct?

Please feel free to share additional experiences and mentors please chime in from what you’re seeing on your end.



I’ll jump in first but know I completed the program a while ago.

  1. 7 mos is pretty accurate. It actually used to be shorter, than it was longer. They pushed it out due to an examiner shortage (which has improved). I’d count on 7mos.

  2. I was actually at the TTN location which at the time was one of the smallest and quietest and I never didn’t have students.

  3. When I completed the program there was no pilot shortage and jobs were actually difficult to come by. The fact I did my training with ATP enabled me to get a preferential interview. I honest believe had I not trained with ATP I would not be where I am today, which is a Capt at a Major airline. The good news is the nation is experiencing a tremendous pilot shortage and if you successfully complete your training, build your time and have a clean record you will get hired.

  4. 17yrs. I was at a Regional for just over 8 and have been at a Major for 9.

  5. I didn’t finance with Sallie Mae but I had no issues.

  6. ATP only places instructors where they’re needed and maintain the same student/instructor ratio throughout the network. If a location has 10 instructors it’s because they’re needed. The caveat is that when it comes time for you to instruct there’s no guarantee you’ll get the location you want. They will not place an instructor where they’re not needed.



Welcome to the forums. Thank you for what you do for us as a law enforcement officer. I think I can speak for all of us here when I say we are grateful for what you have done to keep us safe.

I will let some current students chime in on issues that are appropriate to recent graduates. In the meantime, I would encourage ups to check out the “Student Experiences” section. The posts there are from current and former students and we do not edit them in any way at all: Student Experiences - Airline Pilot Life

I will share with you that ATP has a preferred instructor to student ration that they apply across all of the locations. So if a location has a large instructor staff, it also has a large student population.


Hi Jeffrey!

Thank you for your service.

  • The timeline is accurate. It’s gone from 6 to 9 to 7mo. A DPE shortage extended it from 6 to 9, but after 2020 ATP was able to cut the syllabus to 7mo and it is realistic. Completing the program early is possible if you are willing and able, but it is not the norm.
  • I always had students. I also travelled to where the students were. I started in Sacramento. Then I transferred to Riverside at ATP’s request to fill in for an Instructor that had approved time off. Then I transferred to Oakland, then back to Sacramento. I also split time between Sacramento and Oakland. This is not the norm, but I was younger and more mobile and saw it as a fun experience.
  • The airlines are hiring in full swing again. Even Frontier, Avelo, and Spirit are hiring CFIs with 1500hrs. The shortage is worse now than it was in 2017.
  • I started training in 2014, finished training in 2015, was hired by a regional in 2017, upgraded to Captain in 2019, stay tuned for 2022.
  • I didn’t realize that interest was immediately accruing, but that was on me for not knowing how loans work. It was my first and only loan. No other surprises.
  • The Instructor to Student ratio is the same at every location.



How did that housing work with all those changes? Short-term leases?


At the time ATP offered housing to CFIs.


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