I have recently decided to make a career change from Law Enforcement. I currently work a very low demand/stress job Fri-Mon night shifts, which permits me to have 4-5 hours of uninterrupted study time per night. Similar to previous forums that I’ve read on this site I am 30 years old, with a BA, military service (working logistics on the flight deck), a mortgage and a very supportive wife. ATP caught my eye as it is located only 20 minutes away and offers an expedited path to this amazing profession. It has always been a dream of mine, since I flew a cessna in high school.
I don’t want to put all the financial burden on my better-half and was hoping to keep my working schedule(w/ minor adjustments if necessary) while completing my training at ATP. Do you think that this is at all plausible, considering my work schedule and the potential for studying while on the clock, or am I in the same boat as the number of others that have inquired about working while training?(Not to beat a dead horse)
Has anyone had the experience of utilizing the G.I. Bill while attending ATP?
What advice can you give me in order to prepare prior to my training? I have already read the suggestions offered on the ATP website. Do you have any additional ones?
What kind of salary/work schedule can I expect as a CFI in California? How long will it take to land a regional job? How long does it take to move up to the Majors?
Does anyone have any opinion on other alternatives such as: corporate or cargo?
I apologize for the wide ranging slew of questions, but I truly feel like I am going down the river without a paddle. This is a complete overhaul of my professional life and any advice or insight comes greatly appreciated.
We don’t recommend that anyone work during the program, but it’s ultimately your call. With your situation, I don’t see how it’s possible. Often the weekends are used to keep students on track and not all of the training is done at the same location.
About 2 weeks is spent on crew cross country flights and crew pairings should plan on being away from home during that time. Some nights are spent at home, some away. Students should also plan to be away from home during CFI school (2-3 weeks) and Basic Indoc (1 week).
Taking out a stipend for cost of living is always an option if you’re worried about supporting yourself and your family.
The GI bill won’t be able to cover the tuition, but you can use it towards examiner fees and written exams, or save it for something else.
See the FAQ section for answers about pay and timelines and other guidance to help you be successful in the program.
There are alternatives out there. All comes down to what kind of lifestyle you want to have. Corporate is known to vary vastly in types of flying and scheduling. Starting pay is typically higher than airline pay. Long term earning potential is typically less. Some corporate jobs offer quality flying experience, with options to upgrade. Some offer poor flying experience and all they want you to do is perform pilot monitoring duties, like radios, navigation, aircraft configuration, etc. Based on my knowledge from friends that have flown corporate, job security is poor. That was the main deterrent for me, but again, the jobs are out there. If it’s something you want to do don’t let me stop you. Once you start training, network with local FBOs and you’re sure to find something. You mentioned you live if California. If you live in Northern California, I know that one of the examiners that ATP likes to use flies for a small corporate gig based out of Modesto. There’s tons of opportunities in the bay as well. So Cal has even more.
Cargo is different. The jobs are scarce compared to corporate. I don’t know much about them other than they fly on the back side of the clock. Again, with a little effort you will find opportunities. Best if you just call them directly for more info.
No apology necessary. Glad to help.
Lots of questions but I can address the most pressing one—working while at ATP. I know very few (and I mean VERY few) students that maintain a side income while in school as a student and none of our CFIs have time for a side job. I need to stress that this is a highly concentrated program and is challenging even as a sole endeavor, let alone if it is mixed with other activities. During the program, especially in the early stages, you have little to no time for extracurriculars. I used to get to the center at 0600, study, fly, and be done by 1-2 pm, rest briefly and get back to studying. I was so beat by the end of the day, that I could not function in an employee capacity even if I tried.
CFIs are here 5-7 days a week for 8-12 hours a day. A side job ain’t happening…
Thanks for the prompt response Tory. Perhaps I can consider staying on as per diem. Work on those days that I can. I too live in the Bay Area. I figured Silicon Valley might have some corporate options. I have no preference yet, as I simply don’t know enough about the industry, but thanks to you, I am learning.
Is corporate hard to get into vs. regionals and majors?
If anyone of you are local, I would love to meet you guys. I understand if that might be against protocol of the forum. But it would be great to pick your brain on a more personal level.
Thanks again for answering my questions. This is amazingly helpful.
I don’t suppose you hail from the motherland? Based on your name. Nice to meet my old country men in the business.
Thanks for the response.
Indeed I do. Feel free to contact me with any questions. I’ve been in your same shoes only last year.
Just to jump in here since corporate is a much smaller segment of the industry the are obviously less jobs which makes them (particularly the really good ones) harder to get. In many cases it’s more who not what you know.
I wouldn’t say that entry level corporate jobs are hard to get, they’re just not as well known. Like Adam said, it’s who you know. Ask around and do some research online. That’s entry-level, and then there are the really rare corporate jobs that require a lot of experience including turbine time.
Those are hard. You REALLY need to have tight connections to get those. When I was in ATP CTP, I sat next to a pilot that was about to be flying a Gulfstream for his Dad’s friend’s company. Don’t ask me the name of the company because I don’t remember. Probably because I tuned him out anytime he talked about it. He often gloated about his first-year six figure salary that he was about to be making. Point is, he was only a few years older than me with a lot less experience than other applicants, but he was getting the job because he was family.