Real Answers from Real Pilots

Instructor Pay at ATP

I am planning on attending ATP starting next spring. I am curious about instructor pay after I complete my training. They told me it was $1000 a month base salary plus flight time. I’m curious what total monthly looks like, without an tuition reimbursement from an airline. I know this can vary a lot, just looking for a general estimate. Thanks for your help! I’m excited about getting started on a dream I have had since a kid!

Gabe

Gabe,

Basically, the more you fly the more you get paid. Now thats pretty obvious (usually you get paid more if you work more) and I’ve seen some skeptical remarks about this on other forums, so let me explain.

You are guaranteed a base salary of $1000 per month, which is referred to as a ‘Ground school guarantee’. Paychecks are written every 2 weeks, so ~$470 on every paycheck (pro-rated per day [$1000/30]*14=$466). On top of that you get paid for flight and sim time by the hour in a tiered system.

Let’s get into some example pay checks:

If you fly between 0-30hrs in a pay period (2 weeks) you get paid the base rate of $7.50. Let’s say you flew 25 hours:
$470 + 25x$7.50 = $653

Between 30-40 hours in a pay period, your hourly goes up to $10. Let’s use 35 hours:
$470 + 35x$10 = $816

Between 40-50 hours, you will get $15/hr. With 45 hours you will get:
$470 + 45x$15 = $1141

Above 50 hours, you reach the highest tier at $20/hr. For 55 hours:
$470 + 55x$20 = $1570

Now add to this about 10 hours of sim time (@$7.50/hr) every period and 3-4 written exams proctored (@$15 each), and that is what your paycheck will look like.

Let me know if this doesn’t make sense.

Yarden

6 Likes

That is the info I was looking for. I appreciate the response! Thanks!

Alright Yarden,

I see one category for up to 55 hours in a pay period. Does the 100 flight hours monthly not apply until you reach an airline? Just curious!

Also, being paid as in independent contractor, what does that mean? Is the income taxed prior to reaching us, or is that something we have to pay out later?

Thank you,
Aurora

Aurora,

ATP instructors are paid twice a month, so a pay period is 2 weeks. I averaged 100 hours a month during my flight instructing period, so I received 2 50~hr pay checks.

Being an independent contractor means that you are self-employed. You are not an employee of ATP and therefore you are responsible to take care of your taxes. Your paycheck will not have anything deducted, and you will receive a Form 1099 at the end of the year.

Yarden

Aurora,

Just to clarify the one pat of your question, no, the 100 hrs a month only pertains to airline flying. The same restriction does not apply to instructing. There is however a restriction that you can’t instruct more than 8 hrs in any 24hr period.

Adam

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Thomas,

Yes these numbers do not include tuition reimbursement. This only includes ATP instructor pay. I joined the cadet program in February last year and I believe I had around 1000hrs at that point, but this wasn’t a job offer. I interviewed in May with around 1300hrs and only then was I offered a job.

I didn’t want to commit myself to any airline until I was at the point where I had to choose (when I reached 1500hrs).

Yarden

2 Likes

Going back through an older thread so hopefully the above numbers for ATP instructor pay are still relevant.

With that in mind, what is the “work week” like as an instructor? Are you there at ATP the normal M-F, 9-5? Or is it dependent on the students you have signed up? Could you theoretically schedule students on varying days of the week if you needed days off (i.e. Fly 3 days a week? 4 days a week? Instead of the traditional M-F banker hour schedule)?

Scott,

Instructors work Monday through Friday, all hours of the day as sometimes night flights need to be made. Instructors who are dedicated and want to get to the airlines quickly also work weekends. Being an ATP instructor is a full time job, you will need to work a full schedule and will not be able to alternate or stack days.

Chris

Scott,

In short, no you can’t. ATP instructor hours, while Mon-Fri, are anything but “banker’s hours”. You have a responsibility to your student to get them done in the allotted time. Often the weather doesn’t cooperate so rather than flying in the morning you need to fly later. There are night flight and long cross country requirements. Some days they may not get a concept and you’ll need to stay much later then planned etc.

There are part time instructor positions out there but that’s not how ATP works. In the same way I’m certain you wouldn’t want your instructor dragging out your training to accommodate their schedule after you dropped $66k it’s not fair you do that to yours.

Adam

Thanks for the response. Maybe that came out differently than it should have. I wasn’t asking if I just make my own schedule and students have to conform to that. What I just wanted to clarify was if instructor have set hours and if instructors know in advance Who and what they are flying or if they are just constantly on standby normal hours of each day of the week ready to fly whoever is there. If it were the former, then I could see you making your own schedule with a student instead of just having down time at the school whether you’re flying or instructing or not. Essentially eliminating downtime, trying to maximize both flying hours and student opportunity when you are actually working on campus.

Scott,

Instructors at ATP have control over their own schedule. Most schedule
lessons only a day ahead of time because things can change so quickly.

Tory