Where to Start?

My name is Anders and I am 25 years old living in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I have my high school diploma and currently work in the mortgage industry. My first dream job that I can remember was to be a pilot. I am curious what the best steps to take going forward are. I am married, and live in MN, and there is no ATP campus in the twin cities. Does anyone have experience with a school in MN that would work to get hours in a similar format to ATP? Or is it required that I move to a city with an ATP campus? And obviously based on past questions in this thread, it looks like doing this program first, then doing online college if I wanted to fly for a major seems to be the best option, correct?

Thanks for any help and advice!

Hi Anders and welcome,

If you want to train with ATP (and you should), that does mean you’ll need to relocate. There may very well be some good flight schools in MN but I’m honestly not familiar with any? As for your “best option” that’s really what works best for Anders. I often recommend getting your degree while you’re flying for a Regional (provided you’ve got the discipline to do so) simply because it gets you flying sooner, hired sooner and building seniority sooner.

I recommend you do some research, see maybe if there are any reputable schools in your area and maybe pay them a visit. I also suggest that if you’re really serious about making a career of this and there’s a way of attending ATP (perhaps staying in ATP housing and coming home on weekends?) you give it some thought. There really is no more efficient or faster route to your dreams.


Thank you for the response! I noticed that admission into ATP requires a private pilot license OR some college experience OR work experience. I have no college experience, but work as a mortgage loan officer and am a top producer. Obviously a wildly different field, but does that count as work experience? Or did I interpret that wrong? Or do they not care about prior school experience?

Thanks again

I currently work in the financing industry as well (4 years). I myself currently do not hold a college degree, however after sending my resume over to admissions for review, they approved my work experience and long story short, im starting July 17th :slight_smile:

But again talk to admissions first.


The admissions department is the final say on such things, but I would think that your work experience would more than qualify you. Call and talk to admissions for an official answer.



Here’s the deal. ATP went through a period where many young people were enrolling right after HS. Not only did they have no flight experience, more important they had no life or work experience and frankly it just didn’t work. They therefore need some indication that an applicant can apply themselves and has some sense of responsibility and work ethic. That can come in the form of a degree, a PPL or some solid work experience. As Chris said I recommend you contact admissions but if you’ve been at your job for a few years you should be fine.


I’m 27 and I live in Tahiti, island of French Polynesia. I graduated then studied 3 years to be a teacher. I got that degree then tought for 2 years, after that, I took 3 years off to manage a gas station company, came back in the education this year and passed a degree to be specialized teacher (allows you to teach in prison…)…
I’ve never really thought of being a pilot because it sounded to far from being possible for me as all my friends were telling me I had to be KILLER at maths and physics. I know the basics to be able to teach but not so much. All I know about myself is that I’m a hard worker and if I don’t know something, I will learn until I get it ! My english is okay, but I’m willing to learn more also.
It’s been a yaer nw that I’ve been telling myself, I wanna fly, I wanna be a pilot and if I have to export myself to the states I will !
My mother is tahitian (french nationality) and my frather is american (from northern caifornia).
I’m trying to do my american passport to be able to legally live in the states for studies.

My questions are:

  • I have 0 experience in flying, where do I start to get the atpl ?
  • What do I need to do to enter ATP school in Daytona ?
  • Is it possible to studdy the theory part from my home Tahiti and just come to pass the final exams ? then moe to the states for the flight courses (9 months I think ?)…

Please help me !!! thank you guy’s

Hi Chanel,

As long as you can obtain a US passport and have citizen or resident status you can flight train I the US. Now to your questions:

  1. ATP is the best place to start if you have zero experience. They will provide you with everything you need to get to the point where you can fly professionally. Know that to earn your ATPL in the US you must build 1500hrs (the most common method is instructing and usually takes about 2 yrs). The actual ATPL training will be done by the Regional airline that hites you.

  2. To train at any ATP location you simply need to contact admissions and apply. You’re degree is the only prerequisite aside from the funding. Initially you’ll need to give a deposit to secure a slot angs of course secure the money for the course. Since you’ll be new to the US you will need a co-signer here if you’ll be trying to get a loan in the U.S…

  3. All your training (flight and ground/theory) will be accomplished within the 9mos however we always recommend students complete as many of their written exams as possible to lighten the with load.

I would also recommend you work on your English. Regardless of where in the world you fly it needs to be better than ok.



Thanks a lot for the quick and very bright responses to my questions. I will work on my english more that’s for sure.
In France if I entered a school there, the first part of it is just theory (9 months of brain washing on 14 items) then comes the flight / ground (9 months)…so 18 months of schooling !
If I got you write : in the states (ATP school) you pass everything in 9 months, over that you just fly as much as possible in order to get your 1500h et finally get your ATPL ?
To tell you the truth, I would love to come back to Tahiti and be able to work for one of our local company ( that’s a dream ! but I allow myself too !)…
I would have to pass some kind of extra licence conversion I beat to be able to fly in Europe as Tahiti is attached to the state of France !


ATP also offers an EASA conversion which would allow you to convert your US FAA licenses to their European equivalent. Check it out: https://atpflightschool.com/international/airline-career-pilot-easa.html



Thanks for contributions you have made, but what exactly does the EASA conversion course entail if one already has an ATP commercial MEL, Instrument Rating, etc? I understand that there’s 14 or so courses that you have to take if you’re starting from scratch, but what about if you already have the FAA ATP?



You will have to contact a flight school that offers such a program. ATP offers the conversion for pilots that have gone through the Airline Career Pilot Program. With your experience it obviously would not make sense for you to do this.


Thank you for the quick reply Chris. That makes sense reading into it a little more.


Hi Anders, I was curious on what you decided to do? I am also from the Twin Cities area and have found a few reputable Pilot Training programs. Did you end up attending ATP or stay in MN?