What comes first? Medical exam or loan approval?

Hi there,

I am interesting in starting this program toward the beginning of 2022. I know the FAA first class certificate is good for a year. When is the best time to schedule this exam if I wanted to start the program in February? Also, should I wait to see if I pass the medical exam before applying for a loan?


I’m in about the same boat as you in this matter. The way I understand it, you can apply for the loan and as long as you start class within the next 12 months, the loan approval is valid. I was just speaking with ATP on this matter yesterday. I’m going to wait until closer to class time for the physical because since I’m over 40, my 1st class certification is only good for 6 months. However, having said that, I’m not too worried about passing the physical because I work in the trucking industry and while I no longer driver (dispatch), I still hold a valid CDL and medical card, so I don’t think passing the FAA physical will be a problem for me. If you obtained a loan approval and then didn’t pass the medical, I don’t think you are on the hook for the loan PROVIDED that no loan disbursement has been made. As long as the funds haven’t been touched, I think you would be alright. If I’m wrong on this, I hope someone will correct me.



This is really a chicken and egg kind of question. If you have any concerns about the medical then I would do that first (vision or other health concerns, drug or alcohol issues etc). For most people of average health the medical is a non event and really should be, again unless you have some concerns. If that’s the case and you believe you’re fine, then I’d wait on the medical as financing seems to be a much bigger challenge for most people.



You are correct. You’re under no obligation until you actually take the funds.


Understood. Thanks for the immediate responses!

If you’re planning on starting Feb 2022, you’ve got some time still. If you’re in good health and not worries about the medical, I’d get that taken care of maybe January of 2022. It’s only good for a year, the closer you get it to your start date the more likely it will last you through all your training and your first couple months as an instructor before needing renewal. It’s about $100 each time so I’d make it last as long as you can, no need to get it excessively early. The financing is typically the bigger hurdle for most. You can get started on getting approved up to a year prior which means you’re already within that. I’d start there. If you have no issues, then great it’s already set up and ready for you. If you have some trouble getting approved, then you still have time to figure out your options.



If you do not have any health concerns that you are aware of, I would hold off on the medical until your financing is approved and you have a start date in mind. If starting in February, I would schedule an early January medical appointment.