I’m a senior in college who has decided to make a change in career choice and become a pilot. I’m trying to decide the best route to take in order to become a pilot for the airlines. I’m currently living in Atlanta and commute to college. My short term goals are to obtain my BBA in Information Systems since that is a requirement for employment for the major airlines and I’m about 30 credit hours from graduating. After getting my undergraduate degree, I would like to begin my pursuit of becoming an airline pilot. Even though Atlanta has a few options to attend ATP, I have aspirations to move out west and would love to attend ATP in Southern California (specifically San Diego). As far as finances go, I have no idea how I should go about getting financial help for ATP. I’m debating whether or not I should obtain my licences in a piecemeal fashion instead of all at once. For example, I am considering if I should go into the workforce with a job related to my degree and gradually pay for it with my income instead of taking out loans. Would that be a viable option to take or would it make the most sense to take out a loan and complete the ATP course all at once? I’m not sure what it is like to acquire a lot of debt since I was fortunate enough to have my undergraduate expenses paid for. With that being said, I’m incredibly motivated to become a pilot and just want to make the most informed decision possible. So a couple questions…
Is there anything I should do before attending ATP since I haven’t had any prior aviation experience? Any books or applications I should look into that would help me get my feet wet?
Is it a better investment to take out a loan and complete ATP as soon as possible? Or complete certifications gradually so I don’t have to worry about debt?
How long does it typically take ATP students to pay off their student debt? Are we required to pay back the loan as soon as we get our first job in the field or is it at a set time?
If I do become full time at ATP, would I have enough time to work on the side in order to pay rent and other necessary living expenses? I hear the standard of living in California is much higher and I want to be prepared for that.
What are the most common reasons for failure in ATP among students?
Any general recommendations before attending ATP?
All advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!