Tuition Reimbursement too good to be true?

Hey guys! Had a quick question. So the $11,000 in tuition reimbursement sounds great but I’ve just started at ATP flight school and the word around here is that if you sign up for tuition reimbursement at an airline you forfeit your opportunity to get the sign on bonus when you start flying for the airline at 1500 hours.

The ATP website makes it out that you can get both tuition reimbursement and the sign on bonus at this page here:

If it’s not true then the $11,000 tuition reimbursement is only worth it if the airline you are applying to has a sign on bonus lower than $11,000. For example PSA airlines sign on bonus is $15,000 so I’d be better off to not sign for tuition reimbursement and hold out for the sign on bonus.

If anyone has any info on this I’d greatly appreciate it. Maybe anyone out there who has done the tuition reimbursement and got the sign on bonus. It’s had to find a definite answer anywhere.

Thanks again in advance. Great blog guys. I love reading your posts everyday. Keep it up.


That is a really good question and I want to give you the best answer possible. To be honest, I am not 100% sure. I have reached out to one of my contacts and will let you know as soon as I receive a response, probably on Monday. Great question.



Thanks for your quick response Chris. The whole idea was that technically you already “signed an agreement” with the airline so the tuition reimbursement was in place of the sign on bonus. Well I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great weekend.

Hi Alastar,

Like Chris I’m not that familiar with the program, BUT I did go to the referenced page and here’s my take. First it looks like only Envoy and Piedmont are offering BOTH the tuition reimbursement AND a signing bonus (according to the chart and that even says signing/retention bonus)? The way I’ve always understood it as an either or kind of deal. The thing being a signing bonus isn’t paid till you’re actually on property while the tuition reimbursement allows you to start getting money while you’re still a flight instructor (and probably need it more). Guys on the street doing their training locally have to exist solely on their flight instructor pay and probably defer their loan payments while accruing even more interest while ATP instructors can start paying the loan down immediately. I think that’s a pretty awesome deal.



Hey Adam, thanks for your info. Yes I totally agree with you it is an awesome deal. I’m still confused on the wording on that page. I copied and pasted this off the page:

“prompting them to offer substantial incentives in the form of signing and retention bonuses, as well as participation in ATP’s Tuition Reimbursement Program.”

Sounds to me like ATP are saying you can get both. I understand what you are saying about Envoy and Piedmont. It’s worded very loosely, but I wasn’t sure of how up to date that page even was. There are a few regional airlines that offer sign on bonuses that are not even mentioned on that page. PSA being one of them.

Well, sorry to be a pain… I just didn’t want to sound like an idiot when I finally get an interview at a regional and act confused when they say I have to pick between tuition reimbursement and a sign on bonus.

Thanks again for your help.


You’re not being a pain at all. This is important stuff and if I were in your shoes I’d definitely want to know EXACTLY where I stand and what’s what. Again I’m not that familiar and I’m also def not trying to put a spin on it. In my interpretation of the referenced wording, I believe the key word is “participation”. Saying you can participate in the reimbursement program as an option. Then again I could be completely wrong. Chris is contacting the powers that be and I’m sure he’ll get you something definitive.

On a related positive note, I just read this:
$58K first year is better than I made ANY year as a First Officer at ExpressJet and almost double my first year at Hawaiian! I’m jealous of you guys!



Yes Adam. The same applies for PSA Airlines. They bumped their first year pay up to the same. I guess American Airlines are getting worried about the pilot shortage. It is indeed a good time to become a pilot and I’m thankful for that.

Have a good night.

I’m curious about this, as well. If you have the tuition reimbursement, would that mean you would then also have to cover your ATM certification once you’re ready to start looking into a regional job? Or even the type rating? ( Sorry to jump in on the conversation but it brought up a point I thought I’d ask about)

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I think you mean the ATP certification, no you will not have to pay for that or the type rating. Once you reach 1,500 hours and are hired by an airline they will provide all the training necessary for you to fly their airplanes, including the type rating and ATP certification.



First I assume you mean ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) not ATM (ATM cert is pretty simple. Insert your card, punch in your code, select withdrawal or Fast Cash, select the amount you desire and the money comes out like magic. Oh and don’t forget your card! :wink:). Once you get hired by an airline they will get you your ATP and the applicable type rating for the airplane you’ll be flying. Hence the reason you need 1500hrs to get hired. It’s not that the Regionals require 1500 hrs, it’s that the FAA requires all airline pilots to have an ATP and an ATP requires 1500hrs.


Yes that’s what I meant. My phone pre-populated that. Thank you for the response.

I manage the Tuition Reimbursement program at ATP. Currently Envoy and Piedmont are offering $15,000 in Tuition Reimbursement and Bonus to ATP Pilots. $11,000 of the benefit is paid in Tuition Reimbursement and a $4,000 bonus will be paid on day 1 of training at the Airline.

I’m happy to help answer any Tuition Reimbursement questions.


Thank you Danielle!

Hi, is this still going on with the bonus?

To my knowledge the compensation packages are unchanged since we posted this. That being said, it is always best to check directly with the airlines themselves.

Yes, you can receive Tuition Reimbursement and the sign on bonus.


What are the contract lengths for receiving the tuition reimbursement?


Danielle is the expert on this. I think it varies from airline to airline,
but it’s typically one year of employment with the airline.


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12 Months at the Airline.

Does anyone know if any of the information given above is still accurate as of December 2019?