Real Answers from Real Pilots

Will I be transferred to another location after my 6mo to become a CFI elsewhere?

I am attending ATP in December. I am going to the Mesa, AZ location. I have my PPL. ATP said I may be transferred to another location to be a CFI, but I would prefer to stay in Mesa or Scottsdale, if possible since I am not staying in ATPs apartment housing, but renting with a friend near ASU and I have family in AZ. The Mesa location has a CFI training center so I called ATP and they said its likely I would stay there for training. However, ATP says they can’t guarantee I will get a position at Mesa as a CFI (they will give me a list of options for locations), but from what you know and your experience with ATP, what are the odds I would stay at Mesa as a CFI if I wanted? They also said if I needed to go to another location, they could transfer me back to Mesa when a CFI spot opens. Bottom line is I want to stay in Mesa (or even Scottsdale) and become a CFI so I can stay close to friends and family and not break my lease agreement. I looked and Mesa has the largest fleet of aircraft out of all locations so looks promising, but I would like insight. Thank you so much!


This is ATP’s policy. ATP has gone back and forth on this, but this is how it currently stands. Successful ATP grads are guaranteed a job, not a location. I couldn’t tell you what the odds of you being assigned Mesa or Scottsdale as a training center when you become a CFI are. In reality what matters is how many spots are available when it comes time to cross that bridge. I would suggest you ask around when you start training. The current CFIs at the Mesa location would be your best resource right now.

More importantly, you say you’re starting the program in December. That’s enough time to get at least three, if not more, of written tests completed before you start. Here’s a link for more information on that.

Congrats on your start date and welcome to the forum!



Virtually impossible to give you odds. Things are dynamic based on many factors beyond your or ATPs control. Everyone wants the location of their choice but ATP will not staff a location beyond what’s fair and productive for all.

If you absolutely must stay in Phoenix I recommend you visit some other flight schools in the area who might be hiring as backups.


Thank you, Adam and Tory! Very helpful.

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Hey Chelsea—
My advice is to maintain a good relationship with your TC management, do your best not to fail any checkrides and work hard as a student. I looked at my time at ATP as a student as a long job interview. If you do so, although there are no guarantees on anything related to the location, you are more likely to be considered for a spot than someone else who is just doing enough not to get let go.
That being said, position availability based on location fluctuates literally almost every day…


You could very well need to go to another location for a few months, then transfer back to Mesa when a spot opens. Over-staffing a location does not do anybody any good as it means that there is not enough flying to spread around the CFIs there.

Also keep in mind that you might not get hired by a regional with a base at Sky Harbor and could very well end up needing to move for work, or commuting.