Real Answers from Real Pilots

Are my career plans realistic?

Hi all!
I am currently 21 years old will turn 22 soon (Hopefully not too late to someday to be working with major airlines). No flight experience except when I was 15 I joined the Young Eagle Aviation program. I am currently attending a local community college planning to get my associate degree if by the time I still can’t find loans. Right now, financial is my biggest problem. I am planning to do the integrated ATPL so when I graduate flight school hopefully I am able to become an CFI, while waiting on the interviews call from regional? (or do i require more hours from being an CFI?)

If everything goes according to plan (I can take out loans and solve my financial), I will put my associate degree to a hold and finish the flight training, then, if necessary, will I be able to flight instruct while attending to finish my associate?

I haven’t try to take out any loans yet, I had never loan before, so I am not sure if I am able to take out loans as much as $120k.

Also, what are reputations and difference of ATP flight school compare to L3 or CTC flight academy? Do ATP have or offer partnerships with any of the airlines? (Regional or Major doesn’t matter to me for start). I am truly dedicated to becoming an airline pilot for my career. I am not afraid of taking out high amounts of loans if possible. Therefore, since I am putting down a big investment of my own, I want to ensure the best I can get out of my investment. I want to know what are my chances of working with the regional at first when I finish the fast pilot track program.

Thank you for reading,


Couple of things. First to fly for ANY airline in the US (Regional or Major) you must build 1500hrs of flight time so no you would not be getting calls (or hired) after ANY flight school. You will need to build time, the most common route is flight instruction. Not sure where you’re getting this $120K figure but ATP costs $66K which is considerably less. If you haven’t in fact ever borrowed money and are in school chances are you’ll need a co-signer. ATP has relationships with many Regional airlines (pretty much all of them). I’m not familiar with CTC or L3 other than both are based outside the US so I’m not sure those would be my first choice since again ATP has been training pilots in the US for over 40yrs.

I recommend you spend some time on ATP’s website and this forum. This will answer many of your questions and then perhaps come back with some more specific ones.



Thank you Adam for fast respond.

I got the $120k figure from I’m guessing those Airline Pilot program such as Jetblue, or EasyJet. At the time I wasn’t aware that EasyJet was operate in Europe. But anyway, I saw some other post saying the tuition at ATP is around 85k.

I’ve been spent quite some time on this forum now and they are very helpful. I saw that ATP requires a 2 year associate degree (If so, GPA require or just the certificate of degree?) or PPL to get in? If so I am most likely going to finish my associate, mean while figure a way to get approve for my loan. Is it true that ATP guaranteed a CFI position when student finished their flight training and received their frozen ATPL? How many years average will I be expecting to get 1500 hours by instructing medium hours at ATP? How many hours will I get coming out of the program?

My major planned was going to be an mechanical engineer, but all I wanted is to fly. To be honest, my parents wasn’t very supportive because of the cost. I come from an middle class income family, which filed bankruptcy a few years back. But like I said, my life are dedicated to the sky, I want to fly regardless. As soon as I find a way to beat my financial issue, I am lighting up the first step of my dream.

I will keep my time surfing the forum to see if other have similar question as I do.
Thanks again. Wish me luck.



As I said you should check out ATPs website ( The cost of the program is not $120K or $85K, it’s $65,995. ATP requires either a 2yr degree (no GPA) OR your PPL OR equivalent work experience but we generally recommend you finish your degree first. There’s no such thing as a “frozen ATPL” here in the US (that’s a European thing and you should really start focusing on US programs unless you want to fly for a European airline). Yes ATP guarantees instructor positions to successful graduates and it generally takes about 2yrs to build the 1500 hrs. Again keep reading.


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