Some important questions for current Airline Pilots!

Hello, all!

I will start by saying, my name is NK, and I am 16 years old. I have always wanted to become an airline pilot, and over the past couple months have figured out that this may be the right career for me. However, I am still in high school, and had a couple of questions for the Airline Pilots out there:

  1. Did you go to college to study for flight school, and would it be necessary to? If college is necessary, what would be an optimal major to study?

  2. How long does it take to make it through ATP flight school?

  3. How can ATP help me get hired by a major airline?

  4. What kind of aircraft can ATP train me for?

Thank you so much, these responses would help me out a lot.



Thank you for your questions. Almost all the information you seek is available on the ATP website. While I’m happy to answer you need to know if you aspire to be a pilot a tremendous amount of your education will depend on YOU finding the information YOURSELF.

  1. Yes to be successful as an airline pilot you’ll need a 4yr degree. The airlines don’t care what you major in, nor will any specific degree benefit you but you do need college. Choose something you might like as a backup should aviation not work out.

  2. ATPs Career Pilot Program takes 7mos to complete.

  3. ATPs reputation alone will open doors at many Regional carriers but more important ATP pioneered airline partnerships getting preferential hiring at virtually every Regional in the country. ATP is also a training partner for many airline cadet programs.

  4. ATP uses Cessna Skyhawks, Piper Archers and Seminoles. The FAA licenses you earn are what’s required to get you to an airline and fly ANY aircraft. The airline themselves will train you in the specific plane you’ll be flying earning you a “type rating” for that airplane.

Again please visit ATPs website. There is a wealth of information there.



I don’t have anything of substance to add to this discussion but I did want to note that your name is the same as the IATA code for Spirit Airlines! Perhaps this is a sign… :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Thank you so much! I will remember this information, it is much appreciated.

We shall see…

Whats is you do not have a college Degree but I do have my High School Degree. I am 40 years old and I am not planning on going to college after going through ATP.


This topic is covered in our FAQ section. It’s also one of the most common questions we get on this forum. The reality is that if you don’t have a degree your career potential is limited. Non of the regionals require one and most major airlines are beginning to relax the four year degree requirement. However, most pilots have degrees. So, from a competitive perspective it really is best to get a degree. Plus, you may be able to use your degree for a side gig or to fall back on if for some reason aviation doesn’t pan out the way you hoped.



As Tory said, this is one of the most commonly asked questions we receive. A HS diploma is not a degree and ALL the Majors want one. While it is possible to get hired without one the odds and against you and at the very least you’ll watch many of your peers advance before you do. The reality is without a college degree there’s a very good chance you’ll spend your career at a Regional or maybe an LCC.