Hey, I’ve been researching ATP’s program from awhile now and have learned a lot from all the questions and thorough answers available. So thank you to the pilots who take the time to help! On to my question, I’m wondering if anyone can share some insight on the process of becoming a CFI. I’ve gathered that becoming a CFI is imperative to obtaining required flight hours needed to be hired with an airline, but I’m aware not all students are offered a position upon course completion. This honestly makes me a little nervous. I’m scared to invest 100k and then find myself unable to get a CFI spot locally. While I’m willing to sell my house and move if it’s the only option, I’m curious how that process works. Does ATP allow a certain amount of time for potential CFI’s to obtain housing in a new city if a position is offered? Finding an apartment in a new city can be tricky, especially with no income/check stubs for 7months while going through training. Any thoughts or insight on the subject would be greatly appreciated! Thank you all for your time.
You could temporarily rent at that location while waiting for a slot to open at a location closer to your current home.
You could move completely like you mentioned.
Could send out resumes and interview at other flight schools. The main issue ATP CFIs might see here is not having enough hours or experience as a CFI, but that’s probably less of an issue now that Covid is over.
Can find other commercial jobs like banner towing, flying jumpers, pipeline patrol, etc. Main hurdle can be places wanting some experience or 300-500hrs.
There are always options out there. Networking is the biggest key.
I’m sorry Joshua but I’m a little confused? You’re worried about investing $100k and not getting an instructor job locally and having difficulty finding an apt but aren’t about being successful in training and not making it to an airline?
There are people who struggle with training and even some (far less these days) getting hired an airline do to their records, busts etc but getting instructor gigs is easy. Do well in the program, be a good student and ATP will offer you a job. If it’s not close to home you have a choice to relocate or look locally at another school. Happens everyday and due to the shortage there are plenty of positions (depending on your location). As for moving there’s nothing tricky about it. I moved from NYC to Honolulu with 10 days notice. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
While I appreciate you want a full picture of the entire process there are things to be concerned about and this is fairly low on the list.
I am always a bit surprised when this question comes up, because there is no industry that I am aware that guarantees a position. Doctors go to medical school hoping that they will be hired on somewhere. lawyers go to law school on the prayer that a firm will pick them up, etc. No industry guarantees a position, they all depend on the student being successful and applying. There are undoubtedly doctors and lawyers that were never able to make it all the way.
But yes, being $100k in debt is a big deal and should worry you. My best recommendation is to treat each and every day of the program like it is an interview. Speak to every employee you meet as though they were the President of the company, they just might be. Study like crazy, do well, be respectful and you should have no issues landing a job with ATP.
As a recent graduated from the program and completing my time as an ATP Instructor, I can say that as long as you put 100% of your effort into the program, pass your checkrides and treat everyone with respect… There should be no reason you wouldn’t be offered a position at ATP as a CFI. I think in my time as a student and instructor, I’ve only seen maybe one or two students from my location not get offered a position and that was because of two things: 1) Calling Admin every week complaining about things and not open to helping when help was needed and 2) Failing three (3) different checkrides first time, two of which were in the multi-engine phase. We don’t wany any failure of checkride, but sometimes you get that one day where you’re not performing 100% and get “checkrideitis” and just blank out with the examiner - you learn from it and don’t allow it to happen again.
Now the next question that gets asked often that I’ve seen and so have many others is: “I want to instruct at this location, what are my chances?” The answer to that is always the same, ATP ensures that the student to instructor ratio allows instructors to provide quality instruction to students so that the success rate is the highest. If you go to a location (I’ll just throw a random location out there from the 71 training locations, e.g., Arlington GKY) and you want to instruct there at your completion and offered a job, there may be a waitlist for opportunity. Having an open-minded mindset and flexibility to possibly instruct at one of many locations until your 1st pick is available should be of consideration if you want to teach at ATP.
Like Adam said, you have options: there are 959 other flight schools out there in the United States (IBIS World, 2021) and as long as you have a good solid record and good recommendations, the opportunities should be endless. I will be honest, when I arrived back home in 2021, my hometown airport started a flight school and out of 2 other local CFIs, they came to me asking if I would have been interested in running it. Needless to say, the manager of the airport asked if I wanted to learn to run the airport one day when they’re ready to retire take over; I politely denied these opportunities but keep close friendships with everyone. Networking is very important in the field, and I can’t stress how many cool experiences I got as an ATP student being at the training center when no one else was there on a weekend or rainy day.
A loan worth almost half if not a mortgage can be nerve racking to anyone, it was to me at first, but setting aside that fear for your dream knowing the payoff in the long run is great, should be considered. I’ve seen many replies from the Mentors about their quality of life compared to other jobs and knowing how versatile the industry is right now leaving a lot of growth for coming years. If you have a financial planner of your own, I’d speak with them and maybe discuss your opportunities. If you don’t have access to a personal planner, contact the financing team to see how they could assist you.
Thanks for your time and input, Adam. Perhaps I am worrying too much about the wrong things. Maybe I’m just cocky, but excelling at the course work itself isn’t intimidating to me. I’ve already purchased some books and have been studying some relevant material on my own to give myself a bit of a head start if I am able to obtain financing and start down this path. I’m aware it won’t be easy, but I’m confident I can handle it. Especially if learning and mastering the material is my sole focus full time for 7 months. The CFI phase in particular seems more intimidating to me personally due to my situation. I’m a married father of 2, so picking up and moving isn’t quite as simple for me as it would be for a single person, especially seeing as CFI pay is about on par with what a person could make working at a Taco Bell. All the replies have helped to ease my worries though. This is definitely something I can make happen. Thank you again for your time!
Very good point, Chris. I hadn’t thought of it that way. It does seem a little different though, as most any career path that requires such a large investment has entry level jobs paying more than fast food would. Im used to living below the poverty line anyway though, so it’s not like it would be a shock to my lifestyle. Thank you for your thoughts on the matter, I truly appreciate it. So long as I’m able to get approved for the loan, I’m confident I can make the required sacrifices and excel in the program.
Thank you for your time, Brady! Hearing input from multiple people who have been successful in the field is very helpful.
Not a problem at all, we’re here to answer all the questions you may have. I’m glad this forum exists, I came to it in 2019 seeking advice as a Private Pilot, three years later here I am.