Real Answers from Real Pilots

College/flight school

So lately I’ve been looking at many potential colleges and flight schools. I honestly don’t know what I would prefer to do. I know you guys have stated it’s best to go get your 4 year degree first but I’m worried the process in become a pilot would take a bit longer then if I went strait into an aviation college. Do you guys believe it would be maybe equivalent to if I went to an aviation college, what I’m refering to is the time and process for everything that makes me qualify to apply, interview and lastly get hired, if I therefore do everything correctly. I know nothing is guaranteed and I I’m not guaranteed a job as a pilot at a certain age. However I was wondering if there is any difference in time to train, flight instruct, and getting an interview with an airline. Cost is also one of the things I’m really looking at. Most aviation colleges are pretty expensive and some are pretty competitive making hard to be accepted into the school. I plan to work hard so I can be hired at the majors hopefully before I’m 35 which I dont know if it is possible for me. The process in become a pilot for the majors is pretty hard which is something Ive really been noticing. I hope to find the best and most efficient pathway in become a major airline pilot. I know i must obtain that 4 year degree before anything, obtain all my flight certifcates and licenses that are required, get interviewed and hired by a regional airline, what else should I know?

Alex,

It seems like you have a good grasp on the steps it takes to become an
airline pilot.

Our opinion about getting a degree before flight training hasn’t changed. I
understand that efficiency is important, but you also state that cost is a
concern. Why even humor the thought of an aviation college? Aviation
colleges are absurdly expensive.

Another option, would be to get your Associates, then attend an accelerated
flight training program, gain flight hours as a CFI, then fly for a
regional. You can work on your Bachelors degree while flying for a regional.

Tory

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Alex,

While we always recommend college first, that is generally directed at young people out of high school. You’re 35 and while you’re not old by anyone’s definition you’re also not 18. In your case, IF you want to be an airline pilot I wouldn’t go near an aviation university or any university for that matter. You need to get hired and building seniority. Pilots have a finite amount of time in their careers and every year you delay is one more year less you can fly AND also puts you further away from the opportunity to earn the high pay levels.

I would seriously look at ATP. In 2 yrs you could be flying at a Regional getting paid and building seniority. During your time at the Regional you could complete an aviation degree online (with credits for your licenses and ratings) and have that degree in time to get to a Major. Would that mean a lot of hard work? It definitely would but $300k+ a year is a considerable amount of money to say goodbye to.

Adam

Thanks Tory and Adam it helps me out alot. Although there is one thing I forgot to state and that’s that I am still young. I’m 16 and I’m still enrolled currently at a highschool as a junior. Lately I been doing alot of research on the best possible routes in becoming a major airline pilot. I have stated I wanted to become a major airline pilot before 35 but that is because my goal is to start as early as possible in the majors. I appologize if I wasn’t specific.

Alex,

My bad, I misread your post as if you were 35. With that said I stick by my original statement that you should go to college first, do well and then focus on flight training. You’re 17 and there’s no hurry.

Adam

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Thanks Tory and Adam. This really helps me out a lot.
Alex

What is the difference between 40 hour multi and 100 hour multi?

The difference is simply the amount of multi engine time that is offered as part of the training. The ratings and education are exactly the same. I strongly recommend the 40 hour program, especially if you plan on later instructing for ATP. If you plan on building your time via some other means, then you might want to do the 100 hour program as it can be hard to acquire multi time outside of ATP.

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The program takes 9 months to complete. It takes 18-24 months as a CFI for
ATP to build 1500 hours.

Tory

Great thread. I have been wondering about attending ATP in relation to my current level of schooling. I turn 30 this month and started a private pilot class about 3 months ago. I have a two year associates degree in electrical tech. Glad to hear that I would be able to work for a regional and still be able to get a four year degree. Any other advice for someone in a situation such as mine? 40 hour multi? 100 hour multi?

Ross,

Welcome to the forum!

How deep into your private pilot training are you? How many hours and how close to taking the checkride?

I absolutely recommend the 40 joe program, especially if you plan on instructing for ATP. The program gives you the exact same certificates and education, just less multi time. As an ATP instructor, you will get plenty of multi time. I say save the money and go for the 40 hour.

The only other advice that I have is to not waste any time. At 30, you are not old, but you are not young either. This industry is driven by seniority, so it is important to get into it as quickly as possible.

Chris

Ross,

If you plan on instructing for ATP then the 40 hour multi program is the
way to go since you’ll get plenty of muti time as an instructor. If you
plan on teaching somewhere else then I would do the 100 hr.

Tory

Ross,

Just to second what Chris said, depending on how far along you are in your PPL training you might want to consider stopping if you decide to go to ATP. I appreciate you’re not training daily but after 3 mos you should be ready for your checkride and that’s the probably with local, casual training. Flight training is a process and that process is highly dependant on consistency (which is why the airlines, the military AND ATP train their pilots daily). Unless you’re close or just simply want to complete it before you decide to make it a career, I’d seriously consider saving your time and money.

Adam