My name is Clayton. First of all I would like to thank everyone in advance for answering my questions, and for being such an amazing resource for help, guidance, realistic expectations, and information! Let me give you a run down of where I’m at and the questions and concerns I have.
I’m currently 21 years old, and am living on my own. After graduating high school I went to college where I studied to be a music education major, but was forced to leave because of things that had happened between me and my family. I no longer had a way to finance my education, and I wasn’t able to return the following semester.
That was three years ago, and like I said I’ve since been on my own paying off my loans and such. I’ve been absolutely miserable living paycheck to paycheck, and just hating my job. I’m ready to go back to school, and I’ve payed off the loans I had taken out to finish my last semester there. The question I’ve recently faced was do I really want to go back to where I left off. The answer is no. I love music and it’s a great passion of mine, but I don’t think it’s what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. That’s when it hit me: Look into becoming a pilot! I’ve always loved aviation, and one of my earliest and fondest memories was being taken into the cockpit of a commercial jet before takeoff by the captain and first office because they had learned it was my first time flying. Lately all I can do is think about flying and becoming a pilot. Looking back on it I’ve always had the urge to fly, but never really thought about it as a career until now.
During my research I found ATP, and really think I would excel in the program. My main concerns are of course the financial difficultly, but also my educational history. In the end I don’t feel so daunted by taking out loans, I’ve done it before for school, and I know I have the discipline to repay them in a timely manner. However, it would be the largest loan I’ve ever taken out, and I worry with the income of being a CFI that I would struggle to make ends meet and be able to meet the monthly payments for such a large loan amount.
I also worry about not having completed my bachelors degree. I’ve read major airlines require a bachelors degree of some sort as long as it’s from an accredited four year university. What about regional airlines? Also do you know of people who completed ATP without a degree and then continued their education either part time or online while being a CFI or working for a regional airline? Do you think that is realistic? Again, I worry about meeting ends meet and paying off my loan I take out for ATP, much less paying for school in addition to that. Do you have any advice or suggestions? This is what concerns me the most, but I know that being a pilot is what I want to do with my life, hands down. I just need to figure out how to best go about it.
Again, thank you so much for your input.