Starting pay

Looking at becoming a pilot. I’ve done the research on becoming one and what I need to do but I’m curious as to how long after compiling the ATP schooling and training it will be before I start making an income? 6-7 months of no income is tough, but how much longer after would it be before I start seeing money coming back in to my account for bills?


The duration of your program should be the only time you’re without an income. Once you finish, you could have the opportunity to start instructing with ATP. At that point you’d be getting paid by the hour plus ground and sim time. I believe it’s around $20/hr. Plus you can apply for dozens of tuition reimbursement programs. If accepted, the airline of your choosing will start paying directly to your loan.


Thank you for the quick response.

Another question I have is about how long it takes to get to the required 1,500 hours?


The amount of time it takes to get the minimum 1,500 hours varies. Attending a program like ATP and completing it on time and in good-standing, 7 months for certificates. Add an addition year and half for time building as a CFI with ATP. Now if you decide to take an alternate route and attend a smaller-scale school where it takes longer, then your timeline can be extended. Most instructors that teach at ATP average around 80 hours a month. Also depending on your work ethic and determination, you may be able to pick up a few extra hours here and there if a fellow instructor needed help.

There are other routes that you can do to build time such as aerial photography, firefighting, banner towing, etc. CFI is the most common; however, there are obviously other avenues, but this is a short list found under 14 CFR 119.1(e) :

There are ways to seek jobs: Google, Facebook groups, flying website like Climbto350, AirlineApps, etc. Going directly to company websites to see requirements should be of interest and potentially contacting a recruiter specific for information; networking is key.