Trying to find the best option

I am 20 years old, and I am trying to find the best route to pursue my career as an airline pilot. ATP has been my main focal point, and I have done extensive research over the past year to get as much information as possible about ATP. That being said, I have been looking at a smaller school that is cheaper than ATP but offers the same certificates and experiences. If I were to choose this school, would I still be able to get hired at ATP as a CFI after I finish this program? Obviously, ATP would look at their own graduated with more favorably. However, does that count me out completely if I choose this school? I also want to use this school to get my MEI rating. Would that make me any more favorable to ATP after my program completion? None of this is final, and I am still trying to get as much information as possible, but I would greatly appreciate any information you have.


The answer is no. If you train elsewhere you would not be able to instruct for ATP. That privilege is reserved (as it should be) for ATP graduates and is one of the many benefits of training with ATP.

While I appreciate you desire to save money, this is your career and future that’s on the line. Further while I’m sure the other school is cheaper, I’m sure it’s not cheap as flight training is always expensive. That money is alot to gamble with vs ATP who has been training pilots for the airlines for over 35yrs and had over 1200 grads hired by the airlines in the last 12mos alone. That the reason ATP was one of the first flight schools to build and have relationships with the airlines which created preferential hiring. ATP grads also have the opportunity for Direct Entry to Spirit and Frontier which bypasses the standard Regional requirement. This is unheard of in the industry.

You see Mario there’s much more to this than simply the advertised price and this is definitely one of those times you get what you pay for.



ATP only hires ATP graduates, getting your MEI will not make a difference. ATP teaches in a very specific manner and it makes the most sense for ATP to hire their own graduates.

As to the local school, have you really dug into how they are quoting their prices? For a private license, are thy quoting it based on 78 hours, or 45? Many smaller schools will quote prices based on the FAA bare minimum times and not on what it actually takes to get the license or they disregard the fact that you will need more time later to meet the qualifications for the Commercial certificate.


Hi Adam,

I just went through the foreign based license with verification letter (EASA PPL towards the FAA one) with a DPE.
I do hold European EASA PPL ATPL CPL IRME CFI.
I do have the French/American nationalities.
Now that I did this first step conversion, my intentions are to take the instrument and comercial theoretical tests and later on the flight tests of course with the CFI at the end in order to get those 1,500h.
I have at the moment almost 500 hours so still some hours to get there.
Would it be possible in my situation to join ATP school ? Do they take students that have this type of profile ?


They do not. ATP has 2 programs, one with credit for your PPL and one without. You’ve got the licenses and simply need to do the conversions. ATP would be of no benefit.


Thanks a lot for your confirmation & reactivity!
I’ll hence go through the pure conversion…sitting the exams and taking the flight tests. « No matter » the school (ATO) I guess then.



No sense in going through all the training again if you can do a reduced conversion program. At this time, that isn’t something ATP offers. Good luck with the process though. Let us know if you have any other questions along the way. We’ll do our best to answer them.


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I figured. Thank you.

I am pretty sure I know the answer to this, but I would like confirmation. If I were to go to this other school and get my PPL, would I still be able to attend ATP? Thank you



The answer is yes, you can start ATP with your PPL. The question is why would you want to?



As Adam already mentioned ATP has two programs: Zero Time and Credit Private. What would hold you back from attending ATP from the start? Have you considered conducting an Admissions Flight and Training Center tour and get firsthand experience of what ATP has to offer?