Real Answers from Real Pilots

Going to ATP after right after high school

Hello my name is Joshua I am 16 years old and a junior in highschool. I’ve had a dream since i was little on flying. I have tooken a few discovery flights and I now realize I wanna become a commercial airline pilot. I wanna attenend ATP over here in Mesa Arizona. Would it be a good idea to go straight there after highschool? What supplies would i need to bring to be prepared such as Ipads and certain books? Also do i have to have a degree to be a pilot for a regional airline? I wanna be a regional pilot more than I wanna be a pilot for a major carrier like Delta or American. When i attend ATP i will go through the CFI stuff as well after I graduate.


First off you can’t go to ATP right after High School. ATP requires either a 2yr degree, equivalent work experience or a Private Pilot license to enroll. While I know you believe you’re ready but ATP has found that most people right out of High School don’t have the discipline to be successful in the program.

While the Regionals do not require a degree the Majors do. Now while I know you say now you’d rather be a pilot for a Regional, after you’re there for a few years and see all your friends moving on to Majors, flying heavies around the World and getting paid 3 times what you’re making you may feel differently.

Best advice I can give you is to continue your education. Earn at least a 2yr degree, THEN start your flight training. That way you’ve got something to fall back on and if you do decide to go to a Major (or do something else) you’re half way to a 4 yr degree.