Real Answers from Real Pilots

21 Year old student debating between Embry Riddle or ATP

Hi everyone! I’m new to this website but I’d like to get some opinions on my situation here and what you think I should do considering where I am. I’m 21 years old now and finishing my first year of community college (I did three semester of a four year school as an engineering major before realizing I wanted to be a pilot more than anything else). My college, Bergen Community, has an aviation program where we learn the basics of aviation as well as having agreements with Embry Riddle that give transfer students like us a much better chance of getting accepted to finish our degree down there. My question is however should I tough out the next three years of school and graduate at 24 or go with ATP and the Professional Pilot Course. On the one hand Embry Riddle will be much more expensive it seems but at the same time is it even possible for me to get my Bachelor’s degree while simultaneously flying after ATP in order to apply to work at the Major airlines? I just am not too sure where to go after next spring.

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Matthew,

If I were you I would finish my associate’s degree, then go to ATP and get your licenses there. I would not continue any flight training with Bergen County, it is just going to cost you more and take longer than at a school that offers accelerated training.

After you finish your training at ATP, I would recommend that you instruct there to build your hours as it really is the fastest way to do it. You should be airline ready about two years after you start your training. Once you get hired on at a regional and finish training, you should have plenty of time to finish up a bachelor’s degree online while you are flying.

You will not need any sort of degree for the regionals, but the major airlines will definitely want to see a bachelor’s degree.

Just out of curiosity, what town in Bergen County do you live in?

Chris

Chris,

Thanks for the quick response! I’m in Washington Township. The closest ATP school to me is in Morristown. That was my plan originally to go ATP though I just started to get doubts when my professor was talking about Embry Riddle and other flight schools. So I figured I’d get advice from everyone here as well

Matt

Matthew,

There’s no question Embry Riddle is a fine and respected university. My problem is this, why spend double and take 3-4yrs longer get to your goal? Honestly the vast majority of pilots I know are ATP, Riddle or military. We all got hired at the same airline and all get the exact same pay only I did it MUCH faster and much less expensively. I honestly can’t say anything bad about ER, the produce good pilots and have a good reputation, just like ATP does. Difference is EVERYTHING at the airlines is based on seniority and the sooner you start is ALWAYS better. The effects of even a few weeks can radically impact your entire career with regards to upgrade, schedules, bases and advancement. I just don’t see anything on the Riddle side that offsets that and justifies the expense… except they do have really nice sweatshirts :slight_smile:

Adam

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Adam,

Thanks for confirming my beliefs as well! Out of curiosity how long did it take you to get your Bachelor’s while also flying after you finished ATP?

Matthew

Matthew,

I am old and tired and finished my education decades before you were born. Yarden I believe is currently working on his BA WITH Riddle online while working as a Regional pilot. I’m sure he can (will) give you an idea of time frame.

Adam

Matt,

Are you actually flying with Bergen County or just taking classes there?

Chris

Chris,
No I’m just taking classes there for my Associates then flying with AGO after

Matt

Hey Matthew, I’m in the same boat as you, although I am 18 readying to leave high school. I had the chance to do a 4 year school with scholarships, or ATP in Morristown NJ as well. I stuck true to my heart and went with ATP, and believe me, it is a huge leap. I already have my PPL, but I am just as nervous as the next guy as to where this journey will lead me. I do plan on getting a degree online once I make it to the regionals. If you do attend ATP Morristown, let me know because I would not mind meeting up with some people my age once I get there.