Real Answers from Real Pilots

Conundrum

So basically I’m having an issue with choosing my method of flight school plus school. I live in JAX, and we have a community college with an aviation branch. But also a ATP. I’m going to the community college regardless to get a A.S. BUT here’s my issue the CC has partnered with a school and offers everything to Commercial pilot with a r-atp of 1250 hours. You can choose to add on CFI but even then you’re not guaranteed a job I dont think. Your degree is also “Professional Pilot Technology” which I had never heard of until looking in the CC. Not thrilled about the degree but it seems a bit faster to do the schooling and the certs compared of waiting an extra 9 months to do ATP after school. Its also a bit cheaper than ATP, hte CC being around 50K or less.

Hours go a little something like this
"The two-year Associate of Science degree program in Professional Pilot Technology at FSCJ consists of 64 credit hours. A full-time student can complete the program in two years. A typical sequence of FAA certificates and ratings would be as follows with FAA minimum flight hours the parentheses:
First Semester: Private Pilot Certificate (35 hours)
Second Semester: Instrument Rating (35 hours)
Third Semester: Commercial Pilot Certificate (120 hours)
Fourth Semester: Multi-Engine Rating (10 hours) or Flight Instructor Certificate (25 hours)"
The thing that has me leaning toward ATP for flight school is the tuition reimbursement and guaranteed flight instructor job.
I want some opinions from you guys into this matter. Thanks.

Like yourself I am also weighing my options on which route to choose. Being a veteran I found a school that, if I will pay for my private, the GI Bill will cover every other cert to match what I can get at ATP. So I can spend 10k or 60k. Like you said in your post, with ATP you get a guaranteed job, tuition reimbursement, and all of their connections at the airlines. If you want to be a pilot and want to get there as fast as possible, ATP is the way to go. Most of the guys are going to tell you that you don’t need a degree in aviation because a degree in something else will make you more well rounded. With your community college your only getting an A.S. degree. The majors are going to want you to have a Bachelors. I think ATP is the best choice and would be better for me in the long run since I’m a little older but, it’s hard to make yourself attend a school that’s going to be 50k more for the same certifications. Just something to think about.

Whoops made a mistake typing. My heads in a twister thinking about this stuff, but the community college is around 50K, so it’s cheaper than ATP. I was thinking going to regional with just the A.S then doing online or something to get that Bachelors degree. I’m 19 so I got a bit of time to think about this haha.

Brendan,

As always the choice is yours but a few things to consider. First you mention cheaper. Well the CC program doesn’t include the 3 CFI’s and you I can guarantee you if you check the fine print the cost is based on the FAA minimums for each rating and your ACTUAL cost could be more. The factor in the fact that ATPs Regional partners will give you at least $11,000 in Tuition Reimbursement, I’m thinking the cost is negligible if at all. The 250 hours that you save by doing a CC program is great but if you don’t have a job to build time or get a job at the local FBO flying 25hrs a month or you saving any time?

Listen as I said the choice is yours but there’s a reason why ATP placed over 300 students with the airlines last year alone. This is not a loaf of bread you’re buying, it’s your future and worth doing the research and maybe a few dollars more.

Adam

Brendan,

Do understand that all three mentors on this website went to ATP, did well with it and are advocates of ATP. That being said, if you look at our responses, you will see that we always strive to give fair and balanced responses that are best suited to helping the student achieve their goals.

First and foremost, I want to make sure you know that the major airlines will absolutely require a four year degree. While an associate’s is technically a degree, it is not in the classical sense of the word, it is really a half-way-there certificate. At some point, if your goal is to work for the majors, you will need a four year degree.

What really jumps out at me is that the school is quoting FAA minimum hours and I am guessing that they are also basing their prices off of that. Very, very few pilots ever obtain their licenses at the FAA minimums. The FAA says 35 minimum for a private, but most students come in between 60 and 70 hours. Same thing with the instrument. This means that your costs will actually be much higher than the minimums that they are quoting you.

It looks like you will only have ten hours of multi time if you go there. Many airlines, like Envoy, require 50 hours of multi-time. You will find that it is incredibly expensive to rent a multi airplane, if you can even find a place to let you do it at all.

Plus, the community college is quoting that you can get your Multi or your CFI? Guess what? You need them both, it isn’t an either or thing. Not to mention that you will be missing your CFII and MEI with this school, all of which you will need and all of which will add significant costs.

You hit the nail on the head with the CFI job. Having a guaranteed connection is huge. Now plenty of people get hired for off the street CFI jobs, but having the guarantee sure reduces worry.

So factor in that the community college could end up costing tens of thousands more, the lack of multi-time, the missing certificates, the guaranteed CFI job and the Tuition Reimbursement and I bet the price gap is non existent, or might be in ATP’s favor.

Again, not trying to sell you, but this community college is quoting prices based off unrealistic flight times and not arming you with the full compliment of licenses that you will need to build your flight time.

Chris

Jeremy,

I completely understand and if I could’ve done all my flight training on the government’s dime I’m certain I would have. BUT, having been in the industry and knowing what I know now it’s really not that simple.

First as you’ve probably heard SENIORITY is EVERYTHING. I literally just finished a trip with a Capt who was the last guy furloughed after 9/11. That 1 number set his career back 3yrs of seniority and 2 years extra to upgrade. ONE NUMBER! I haven’t sat down and done the math but that’s a ton of not just money, we’re talking quality of life. Now things are great, the airlines are doing well and hopefully will continue to. Even if they do, if not going to ATP costs you 1 extra year in training and building time that’s a $300k in future earning potential you’re giving up.

Again I know it’s not an easy decision but you really have to look big picture.

Adam

Thanks for the input guys I agree completely. The degree threw me off completely as well not sure how much weight a “Professional Pilot Technology” degree caries if things turn for the worse. I believe I’ll pick a degree in something I don’t mind doing, accelerate the degree to 18 months, find a mom and pop school get my PPL then finish degree and head over to ATP, build hours through instructing, get to regionals with the A.S, then finish my bach degree while working my way through the system if all goes well haha. Major thanks for pointing out the flaws with the hours.

That’s exactly how I’m looking at it. Spend money now and get to work faster or save money now and have my career pay for it later. My problem right now is my wife just finished school and hasn’t gotten a job yet. I looked into ATP 10 years ago. The closest location was 5 hours away and my wife was pregnant so it just didn’t work out. I can’t help but wonder where I would be had I just made it work 10 years ago.

Brendan,

Honestly, I would not bother getting the PPL at another school. If you are going to condense 60 credits into eighteen months you are going to be working hard, really hard. It will be important for you to get good grades in these classes as your GPA will matter to the university you go to and to the airlines. I think if you try to take on all of those classes, plus a PPL, either the classes, the flying, or both are going to suffer.

I understand you want to get to the airlines quickly, but care must be taken along the way to also doing things right. My vote is get your AS, go to ATP, instruct with ATP, get hired at a regional and then finish your degree. This is a tried and true method that many before you have done.

Yeah I need to slow down a bit, I’m still young and have a lot of time ahead of me. I just have that itch to fly so bad. Thanks for the help.

Jeremy,

DON’T EVER ponder what coulda, shoulda, woulda. You’ll make yourself nuts! Trust me I’ve been doing that for years!

Now’s your time :slight_smile:

Adam