Real Answers from Real Pilots

Best order of training/college

(Karen Thompson) #1

I’m pretty ignorant about piloting, so be gentle! My daughter just finished her 1st year of college (Aviation Technology program at UAA). If I understand correctly, she can get all of her licenses/ratings as part of her degree. However, I have heard that there is a delay in getting all of the flight hours, etc. necessary because they don’t have enough instructors. (I guess the job market is too darn good!). Does it make sense (a.k.a. would it get her into a commerical piloting job quicker) if I sent her to ATP for a year to get her private piloting license, instrument rating, commercial pilot license, and CFI license. Then, she goes back to college for the rest of the degree and she builds time as a CFI during those 3 years. At the end of her 5 year journey, she would have enough hours to get a job with a regional airline.
Please lay out your pros and cons! I’m looking for the route that is most efficient in terms of time to get her a piloting job.
BTW: This online community has been incredibly helpful! Thank you for taking the time to answer questions!

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(Michal Halski) #2

Welcome to the forums Karen!

Seniority is everything with the airlines, so the faster you can get signed on and start flying with an airline, the better. From my personal experience along with talking to pilots, mentors, and reading through the many topics on here regarding that same question, the best route to take would be to start ATP as soon as possible to start gaining your flight hours. ATP also has many locations throughout the US, so your daughter would be able to instruct anywhere there is availability for an instructor (she can also call ATP directly and they can offer her advice on locations and availability). Once she gets signed on with a regional, she can go back to school and finish her degree online.

To sum it up, I believe that finishing your degree first and then going back to ATP to earn flight hours is a waste of time. Complete ATP, sign a contract with a regional after you accumulate 300-500 flight hours (this way they’ll reimburse a partial of your training costs while you earn flight hours), finish your degree online while instructing / fly for regionals (after accumulating the required minimum 1,500 flight hours), then move on up the chain!

Best of luck to your daughter! Cheers!


(Ankel Rodriguez) #3

Welcome to the Forum Karen, I agree with Michael and it’s true it makes sense. Getting the licenses and ratings and hours and getting to the regionals is in my opinion the most efficient being that to get hired by a regional you only need a high school degree. Personally my plan is to attend ATP and get all the licenses and ratings, build the time, get hired by a regional and while I’m there finish my education requirements for the major airlines. So I would attend college as a pilot for a regional.

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These are decisions only you and your daughter can make. That said the idea of participating in an aviation degree program where you can’t fly is kind of ridiculous. Personally I’ve never been a fan of aviation degrees as there’s not much you can do with them and the airlines don’t require them. I do like the idea of your daughter finishing her degree. While others seem to believe this is a race (and yes seniority is important), doing well in training and having the maturity to be successful is considerably more important. The fact is ATP won’t even accept her as a student without her PPL or a 2yr degree because they’ve found most young people out of high school aren’t ready for the program and wash out. Perhaps she’s busy and I appreciate your concern, but the fact that you’re on here speaking on her behalf vs her asking the questions herself does seem to reinforce the concern. At the very least I’d like to see her finish 2yrs of school and then perhaps train with ATP. In that way she could get to the airlines in a relatively short period of time and finishing her degree after would be considerably easier. Know that if she does her training with ATP she will not qualify for the hour reduction of earning an aviation degree.

Hope this helps some.




Your daughter would need to complete two years of college before enrolling in ATP. At that point, I would recommend fully completing her studies and then going to a fast paced flight school. I have found that people do better when they take on one task at a time. Also, very few flight schools will want to hire a part time instructor.

I would encourage your daughter to join the discussion here herself as I am sure she would benefit from being directly engaged.


(Tory) #6


As the others have said. Your daughter would need either a PPL plus 78+ hours or 2 years of college before enrolling in ATP’s program.

Kind of late to be asking these questions after she’s already enrolled in an aviation college. Normally people choose one or the other and stick with it.

If she’s at UAA then it’s probably part of a 141 program. If so, she will be eligible for a restricted ATP which requires less total time. That might take care of your efficiency problem. She’s also not obligated to instruct at UAA. Upon graduation, she’ll be able to take her ratings to any flight school and teach there.


(Karen Thompson) #7

You’re absolutely right, Adam… My daughter has motivation, but possibly not the same desire for efficiency that her mom has. :wink: She has the time, I have the money!
Great information from everyone. I like the idea of a 2 year associates degree to start with (since she cannot attend ATP yet anyway), which would reduce the 1500 hour flight requirement a little bit. She could then attend ATP and finish a 4 year degree while instructing.

(Aaron) #8

Just so you’re aware a 2 year degree alone won’t allow someone to qualify for a RATP. In order to get the hour reduction the instrument and commercial phases of training would have to take place at the college where the degree is from, or other schools that have an approved partnership with the college. If she went to ATP she would’t get an hour reduction, but I wouldn’t worry about 250 hours anyways. Also she doesn’t need a 2 year degree for ATP thats just 1 of the 3 options required for admission. She would just need her PPL and the flight time Tory mentioned above, 2 years work experience, or military experience.