Real Answers from Real Pilots

Wait time from Graduation to CFI job?

Hi there, I am wondering about the current wait time from finishing your ATP program to bring offered a CFI job at ATP. Is it purely on first come first serve or do recommendations come into play?
Just wondering what timeline I’m looking at. I understand you can’t predict future (I finish in June) so just wondering about current wait time.
Thank you!!

From what I have head the current wait time is about three months, maybe a little less. For those that are offered jobs, it is on a first come, first serve basis.

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Thank you Chris!

Hi Chris,

Is this 3-month wait time similar to what it was prior to COVID-19, or were the wait times typically shorter? If so, what was the usual wait time for a CFI position prior to the pandemic? I tried doing a quick search and I wasn’t able to find much info on this, so I apologize if this is a repeat question.

-Kyle

Kyle and Larry,
Pre-covid the wait was fairly short. Typically a week or two if you were flexible to any location. After covid, the student demand dropped so the instructor positions were limited. At the peak of covid, wait times were 3-4 months but I believe they are starting to pick up. There is a guy on the forum here that just got offered a position three weeks after finishing. I really think it’s timing, and your willingness to relocate that affects how long you’ll wait. A recommendation can help but it’s not necessarily a golden ticket.

-Hannah

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Thank you Hannah!!!

Awesome, thanks for the response Hannah!

Are CFIs forced to move on once they hit 1500 or are some able to stay on as instructors until hiring becomes strong again?

Scott,
For the most part, once you hit 1500 hours you’re released to make room for new instructors. For select instructors that made a big impact on their training center or the company, other opportunities can present themselves to sustain an income past 1500 but it’s not the norm.

-Hannah

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Scott,

It’s very easy to get comfy in the nest but that’s not how the food chain works. While the hiring at the airlines might be slow right now (and from time to time), there are infinitely more options and possibilities for a pilot with 1500hrs than one with only a few hundred. It makes much for sense for ATP to make room (and opportunities) for its newly minted pilots while also lighting a little fire under those who have been building time and experience to go on to the next step in their journey.

Adam

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Makes sense. Thanks, Hannah and Adam.

Larry, I was offered a CFI position within a month of graduation. It was at this point that I was asked to select my top 3 location choices. I selected first available so I’m optimistic that I will get an Indoc date soon, but who knows. FYI, ATP will not commit to a timeline or forecast potential Indoc start dates. Its best to have a plan B when you arrive to this stage. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
Kyle

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Kyle,
Keep us updated on when you get offered an indoc date!

-Hannah

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Just wanted to throw my $0.02 in here.

I completed my program in late Oct 2020 and was contacted for my location selections about 3 weeks after that. I put in my selections and was told that indoc would be in mid-April. Then, the first of the year, ATP changed their selection process and thus canceled all selections for all of those waiting for indoc. We were then directed to select our top 3 locations in the country and then we would be contacted for indoc when a position opened up in one of those locations.

I submitted my choices the same day the email came out (Dec 2021) and I have not heard anything from ATP since. I do know that they can not commit to a specific indoc date for anyone at this time. All of my other cohorts that I completed the program and CFI school with are in the same boat, none of them have an ATP job at this time with no information on when they could be getting an offer.

Most of us are looking for jobs at other flight schools at this time. I know a lot of my cohorts have emailed ATP corporate and have gotten a generic “we do not have a timeline at this time” email back. I believe that ATP is just inundated with instructors and not enough positions/students due to COVID.

I’ll update this as I get more information, but it seems like it may be some time.

Hi Kyle thank you for the reply! Ah I see, so the offering of the CFI job and picking location choices can come relatively quickly but waiting for the Indoc date is the longer wait. Super useful knowledge.

Hi Chris, wow that’s a rollercoaster. Thank you VERY much for the full detailed rundown. I think even knowing that it can be full of uncertainty like yours is will be helpful when it’s my turn.

And yes Chris please keep me updated, I’m curious how it all shakes out.

Don’t let ATP be your only prospected “Contract” / Employer.

Depending where you live, there are probably 3-50 flight schools within driving distance. Not to mention all the possible Ferry flying, Flight reviews, Skydive Ops, Banner towing, Part 91 flying contracts & 135op that are possible via good Networking & Knocking on Doors.

My pilot buddies and I have a SnapChat and FB group we use to stay up to date and also help each other find jobs when needed.
Key is to get flying and stay flying.
Chris

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Thanks Chris very much appreciate the advice!