Real Answers from Real Pilots

ATP out of HS

(Andrew Treulich) #1

Hello, my name is Andrew. I am 17 years old, a senior in high school, and will have my PPL within the next month or so. I have been interested in the ATP program for quite a while now. I am considering going into the program out of the ISP (Islip) location after I graduate high school in June 2017.

Some questions I have:

  1. Does ATP allow scholarship money to be used towards the program?
  2. Will the Airline Tuition Reimbursement Program still apply to me, even though I will technically be 18 upon competition of ATP?
  3. Is it manageable to get an online degree in aviation (or any degree; only asking because I can get 33 credits from flying) whilst instructing and/or flying for a Part 135? I am considering going to Embry Riddle Worldwide (online) upon competition of ATP’s program.
  4. Are loan payments manageable working as a CFI? I may have the luck of not carrying any personal loans thankfully, but I may have to chip in on the loan to ease financial burdens in the family.

Thank you,



Welcome to the forums. Let’s get to your questions, but to begin with ATP actually requires students to have either two years of college or equivalent work experience, so your plans of starting training soon are going to have to be pushed back a bit.

  1. If you can find a scholarship that pays directly to the flight school then yes they would of course accept that. That being said, there are very few aviation scholarships out there. The vast majority of people self finance their training.

  2. The Tuition Reimbursement would be available regardless of age.

  3. Yes, many people get online degrees while working other jobs. I am not terribly familiar with the 135 environment, but at the end of the day it is a job like any other and it will be challenging, but doable, to balance both.

  4. I do think that loan payments are manageable as a CFI, especially with the tuition reimbursement program. I am not saying that you will be rolling on money, but you should be able to manage. Scroll down to the bottom of this thread to read what Yarden said about CFI pay: Making the Right Decision

Thanks for your questions, let us know what else we can answer for you.




Chris is dead on in answering all your questions but I did notice that you asked about managing an online degree while teaching/flying for a Part 135 operator. Does that mean you’ve got something in mind or lined up OTHER than Instructing for ATP? If you do that’s great BUT you also as about the Tuition Reimbursement Program. While age is not a factor a requirement is that you instruct for ATP. While you wouldn’t necessarily be forfeiting that money as many of the Regionals will then offer a comparable Signing Bonus, you won’t have it available to assist with your loan payments prior to getting hired. Just FYI.


(Andrew Treulich) #4

Thank you all for the feedback. I will actually have my Private Pilot with 80+ hours TT prior to entering the program. I spoke to ATP representatives and I would be eligible for the program regardless of the limited work/college experience at that particular moment.

And I am aware about forfeiting the loan payment relief if I go to a Part 135. I am just laying two options in that upon completion of the ATP program I will likely either participate in the program and instruct at ATP, or instruct somewhere else and try to get in a 135 such as Ameriflight at 500 TT prior to entering the regionals at age 21, and a major at 23. (I would have a good amount of years to build up my time starting at 18 years old).

My plan is to do college online when instructing, regardless where I may instruct. I know the bachelors is required for the major airlines, but are they necessarily required for all regional carriers? I know a college education degree is important, but I feel like going to ATP out of High School will open the door for myself to gain a lot of experience, hours, knowledge, etc.




A bachelors is required for the majors, but not the regionals. You should not have a problem being hired there without one.

I have to say that your plan is a little on the optimistic side. You could very well get hired at a regional at 21, but getting hired at a major after only two years is a stretch. The major airlines are highly competitive and seek out the most qualified candidates. They are looking for pilots with thousands of hours of jet time and would like to see a good chunk of that be Captain jet time. I would plan on spending a solid four to ten years at the regionals before moving on.

Also keep in mind that it takes four years to complete a degree and that is for a full time student at a traditional school. With you working full time as a CFI or part 135 pilot I can’t possibly see how you would be able to manage a full course load of 15 credits per semester. What I am getting at here is that it is likely going to take you much longer to get your degree than four years, which will also impact your plan to apply to the majors at the age of 23.

I am not trying to rain on your plan here, it certainly has its merits, but I want you to have realistic expectations about the amount of work and time involved in your plan.


(Andrew Treulich) #6

Thank you for your reply, Chris.

(Andrew Treulich) #7

I know somebody in particular who graduated the program out of HS and is now taking college part-time online. He works for Ameriflight as well (19 y/o). It may very well be possible, but it may be very demanding I must assume. I will definitely weigh all of my options!


Anytime. I really don’t want to seem like a defeatist about this, I just want you to have the best odds of success and the most realistic expectations.



Chris is not being defeatist nor is he (or I) trying to rain on your dreams. There’s optimistic and then there’s reality. While you may know a guy who’s at AmeriFlight and studying part-time online, how many pilots do you know that have finished a 4 yr BA part-time AND more importantly have gone from a Regional to a Major in only 2 yrs. I know ALOT of pilots and none have completed a BA in 4 yrs part-time while instructing/flying and I only know One who made it from a Regional to a Major in 2 yrs and that guy is practically aviation Royalty :wink: Again nobody’s telling you it can’t be done we’re just telling you it might be better (and less disappointing) to be a little more realistic.


(Andrew Treulich) #10

Thank you for your reply, Adam. I never really expected a two year transition from regionals to majors. I know it can be usually closer to 4-5 years. I’d like to go to ATP, but it wouldn’t make sense for me to go if I go once I turn 21 after college; when I could be in the regionals by then if I start at 18.

At the same time, upon completion of ATP, I could always go and get a degree from a college and do some part-time instructing on the side. Obviousky in this case I wouldn’t be able to partake in tuition reimbursement.

Thank you all for your guidance!



You might have a bit of a tough time finding a flight school that is willing to hire you on a part time basis. Flight schools and their customers want their CFIs to be readily available, being part time is not conducive to that.

It sounds like you have your original plan pretty well worked out, I say go for it.


(Andrew Treulich) #12

You think the ATP then college online I should aim towards?



My personal vote would be that you go to a four year college, get your degree, and then attend a fast track school like ATP. I know that you have a strong desire to get right into an airplane, but the way that I have seen people have the most success is college right out of high school, then got to flight school. I think that any other path is going to be a massive juggling act and that it will be very easy to get side tracked or run into problems along the way.


(WS) #14

I can second this. I had my pilot dream ruined by not following the steps you described sequentially. I got side tracked and ended in a totally different path than what i wanted.

(Andrew Treulich) #15

Thank you for the advice everyone. I am going the college route for aviation, and I’ll potentially double-major as well. I am going likely to a 141 aviation college that is relatively cheap compared to schools such as Riddle.



Out of curiosity, what college is that? I am always leery of part 141schools, I find that the extra regulations they place on flight training often drive the costs way up compared to part 61 training.


(Andrew Treulich) #17

Hello Chris,

It is Farmingdale State College in Long Island, NY. I train out of that airport with a part 61 for my PPL currently. What is cheap about it is the state tuition ($3000 or so a semester). Flight costs are $9000 per semester. Now, compared to schools such as Embry Riddle, I would have a $100,000 loan instead of a $280,000 loan. In NY, flight training is expensive. I have spent $190 per hour with the instructor in order to rent an airplane. What Farmingdale offers is a very good deal at state tuition for a degree. Plus, it is 30 minutes away :slight_smile: . Last but not least, I can qualify for the restricted ATP at 1000 hours.


(Andrew Treulich) #18

Would also like to mention: my parent’s plan is for me to be debt-free out of college. Of course I am not guaranteeing I am not going to contribute at all towards the cost, but I should likely be okay in terms of financial burden once I go to the airlines.



Sounds like an interesting program. Out of curiosity, did you do the BOCES program in high school? I spent a few years of my life in Centerport, near Huntington.


(Andrew Treulich) #20

I wanted to do the BOCES program, but my High School only offers that program with seniors, and it is a two-year program. I would be out of HS by then, thus I would have to pay for the remaining costs. I live close to Long Island MacArthur Airport (KISP). $100,000 or less for a degree and my ratings sounds reasonable no? It will likely be less than $100k because I am going into the program with a PPL already (after taking a competency evaluation course).