Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP Instructor Pay

I have 12 years active duty service in the US Army and I am considering getting out and attending flight school. With benefits I make around $45,000. So being an instructor will definitely hurt some. My question is, does ATP have a program that allows me to use my GI Bill?

Hi Richard,

Unfortunately the only way you could use you VA bennies AND train at ATP is if you went through a degree program at a university that uses ATP for their flight training (like ASU).


Do you have any information on ASU’s degree programs?


You can find information on ASU’s program here:


I have heard a plethora of great things about Embry Riddle. Does anyone
have any experience with that university?


Emery Riddle has a good program that certainly has the advantage of a four year degree along with it. My concerns with them are that you would be getting a degree in flying, which is completely unnecessary to enter the pilot world. I think that a degree in something else, such as finance or marketing, makes you more well rounded and gives you a back up plan should anything happen to your ability to fly.

My other concern with them is the cost. From what I have heard their flight training and tuition can be very expensive. Do some research and compare their costs to other schools and see what you come up with.

I made a list of questions that I think you should take a look at, you can do so here: Questions For Any Prospective Flight School

I hope this helps, let me know what other questions you have.


I appreciate your concern and information. Some background may be of
assistance. I am currently in the US Army and considering getting out. If I
do I will have over 12 years active duty service so I will be using my GI
Bill to pay for school. E-R has the advantage of allowing me to get a
degree and pilots license using my GI Bill as it will all be covered. If I
use my GI Bill to only learn to fly then I will still be left without a
degree and with out financing for a degree if flying doesn’t work out.

I am not completely familiar with the GI Bill, but isn’t it capped at a max rate of $12,500 per academic year?

Not exactly. The post 911 give a little more but only covers 36 months. So
regardless of how many classes in a semester, it will cover it a point.
Then there is the yellow ribbon program to help cover the rest.

It sounds like you have a pretty good knowledge of this program. Just make sure that the actual flight training portion is covered under this program.


My 2 cents. There’s no question ER has a fantastic program. Their name is well known and respected throughout the industry. While I agree with Chris I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket, ER does offer alternative degrees in aviation mgmt. and other aviation related fields. While I know many pilots who went to ER and got excellent training, everyone of them complains about the expense. If the GI Bill covers it I believe it’s a great program. I’d contact them and find out.



I can’t help but notice the similarities between us. I just re-enlisted with the Navy for 5 more years which would put in 12 years if service after I get out. I will be about 32 by then end of my enlistment. like you, I’ve been doing my research and have really found this forum very helpful! I am currently going through ER to get my Bachelors Degree online and using the TA to pay for the cost. I’m really hoping I can get my MBA before I get out to be more competitive when it comes to getting a gig in the majors. Anyway, I’ve also been trying to get as much information from the VA about flight training. It this is what i’ve got… If you are under MGIB (Montgomery GI Bill) it can pay for 60 percent of approved charges of flight training. the only prerequisite is that you have PPL before you apply. and with Post 911 covers 100 percent tuition if your flight training leads you to get a degree in the process also while collecting BAH(Basic Allowance for Housing) while you train. Anyway, Embry Riddle and Arizona State University do this. I’ve also found Coast Flight Training in San Diego! check them out. In my two cents, they are probably the one that fits more of what you’re looking for 100 percent covered by the GI Bill, 18-21 months of training, Associates in Applied Science after graduation, you can get hired as a CFI while time building, and they are partnered with Envoy air which most of their students get hired with. They are very professional and very helpful to any questions you can think of. As for myself, I am really trying to figure out which one to go to. ATP is just unbeatable when it comes to getting you on the right seat of a regional airline. I still have a few years. Anywho, good luck! and thank you Chris, Adam, and Eric for the honest and informative responses!


Thank you for you’re input. Unfortunately I’m not as knowledgeable regarding the VA bennies as I’d like to be, but then again I’m just a silly pilot :wink:


Hey thanks Bryan!! Great info! Unfortunately I’m looking for the bachelor

Just spoke with the banks regarding a loan. For me my loan with expenses and atp will put my payments around 950. Anyone else run into these similar numbers? How hard did you guys find it to make your loan payments, and expenses while solely instructing for ATP?

I know this thread is a year old, but I didn’t want to start a new one on the same topic. I’m 40 years old and considering a career change as well. I’m a paramedic and work 24 hour shifts on a 24hrs on 48hrs off schedule. Would it be possible to keep my job while instructing for ATP? Thanks!


Short answer, definitely not. ATPs program is highly accelerated and requires a full-time commitment to be successful.


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Max, sounds like we are in a similar boat. Depending on what you want to do, ATP does not require their students to instruct for them. There are several other flight schools that have part time instructors but working 24/48’s will limit how fast you build hours. If your wanting to make that career change quickly, you’ll most likely have to leave the job. I will have to leave regardless because there are no ATP locations where I live. It’s a tough choice especially since our jobs are most likely here to stay and have really good benefits.

Adam, Thank you for your reply. One more question. Is it possible to have a part time job (pick up one or two 12 hour shifts a week) while being enrolled full time at ATP? Thanks!

Yes the decision isn’t easy. Good luck with your training, sir!