Risks involved


I am currently a flight attendant with a bachelor’s degree. I am almost certain I want to enroll with ATP to become an airline pilot, but there are a few risks that are still holding me back. First, is there any possible way to work at all while enrolled with ATP? Or will I be completely dependant on loans? Where can I find information on the first initial payments that are required? I guess the financial risks are steering me away because, as a flight attendant, almost all of my income goes into paying rent and bills. Another financial concern I have is paying for a place to live. I already live in Denver, so I would like to complete ATP at the Centennial location, but it says the housing options are “Not Available.” Any tips, advice, or recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Hello Jodi,

It’s not surprising to me at all how many FAs I know want to move to the front office (we def have a better view!).

Unfortunately the financial aspects are probably the number one challenge people face when considering a pilot career. Let’s go through your questions and see what we can clear up.

No you will not be able to work while training at ATP. The training is pretty much full time and more important requires a tremendous amount of study and your progress would suffer dramatically. So yes you would be dependent on loans. When it comes to particulars (like payment amounts) you’d really have to contact ATP for the particulars. That said I’ll tell you what I do know. I needed to take loans for my training (fortunately I also knew I’d be getting money later but that’s really irrelevant). ATP instructor pay was also considerably less back then and things were tight. The good news is the lenders will let you defer the loans until you’re actually getting paid and more important now the Regional partners who work with ATP are offering tuition reimbursement while you’re working as a flight instructor. From what I’ve been told that makes it quite manageable. Obviously you won’t be rolling in it but it’s definitely doable. Also keep in mind Regional airline pay has almost doubled so if you can just get through the training you should be fine.

As for the housing I’m slightly confused? If you currently live in DEN can you not just keep living there? If the answer is you can’t then perhaps you could look at another location that does offer housing?

Hopefully that helps some? Listen, I do understand living pay check to paycheck. Not trying to convince you of anything BUT you already have you BA. With the continuing pilot shortage this is literally the best time in history to get into this career. It’s well worth the sacrifice if you can make it work for a 6 months.


Hi Adam,

Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful input. Yes, being a flight attendant has really helped me fall in love with aviation and the lifestyle that comes with it.

I suppose a better way to describe my housing question is how I’ll be able to continue paying rent without any income. Or would I be able to pay rent via student loans? Fortunately, I have never had to take out a loan before, so I am pretty inexperienced in that topic.

Thank you for your time and answers!!

Ahhh, ok yes, most lenders will allow you to borrow additional funds for living expenses and many students do (obviously you need to have the credit).


I gotcha! I will look into specifics when I apply for a loan. Thank you and take care!