ATP Flight School comes highly recommended for those looking to become an airline pilot in an efficient manner. In this article we’ll look at how they stack up against other flight schools and if it’s really worth it.
Background on ATP Flight School
Before diving into the reviews of ATP Flight School, let’s look at some background information on the company for those that might not be familiar with the organization.
ATP Flight School is the largest flight school in the United States. They have been around for over 35 years and specialize in providing education and flight training for those who want to become airline pilots. The pilots that graduate from their training programs go on to be airline pilots at small regional airlines as well as some of the largest national and international airlines in the world.
ATP Flight School vs Other Independent Schools
The main difference between ATP Flight School vs other flight schools is that ATP Flight School is set up to get students from where they are now (sometime zero flight experience) to the coveted ATP certification as quickly as efficiently as possible.
Because of how big ATP Flight School is, they can really take advantage of economies of scale. Think of the difference between going into a small corner convenience store vs walking into a Wal-Mart. ATP Flight school has the most locations, largest fleet of aircraft, most instructors, and more.
They are also a Part 141 school meaning that they work closely with and are monitored by the FAA to ensure that they practices are meet certain high standards. Since ATP Flight School is specifically a flight school and not a college that has aviation as part of a larger university, they can really focus all their attention on being the biggest and best flight school.
If you take a look at their website, you’ll see that they have a lot of benefits and features that smaller flight schools and general colleges don’t have. Although some flight schools do have some of these features, few have all of them.
Benefits of Attending ATP Flight School
- Partnerships with airlines to get you hired upon graduation
- On Site housing for those who wish to live on campus
- Access to financing packages
- Entire school oriented towards being an airline pilot
- 68 Flight Training centers around the country (USA)
- Fleet of over 400 aircraft
Is it Expensive?
The cost of attending ATP Flight School depends on what training you need/want and how much (if any) you come into the school already having completed.
If you are starting from scratch and want to go through the full airline pilot training program, the current price starts at $83,995.
This is complete program that takes you from zero hours of flight time to being ready to be hired as an airline pilot.
That might seem expensive ($83k IS a lot of money) but depending on your goals and background it might be well worth it. Being an airline pilot can be a very high paying career that comes with a lot of benefits.
Yo put things in perspective, there are a lot of people that have spent whole lot more than $84,000 on college to end up with a job that pays significantly less than what a pilot earns.
Another thing to keep in mind is that since ATP Flight School is catered around making you a pilot and getting you hired by an airline as efficiently as possible, the process will be much quicker. In some cases you can go from start to finish in 7 months. To compare this to other fields of study, you can easily spend 4-6 years in college for a job that makes less money and you are less excited about.
The Downside of ATP Flight School
As mentioned above, ATP Flight School can be pricy. That price is well worth it for someone who wants to become an airline pilot as quickly and as efficiently as possible. However, in some cases students will dive into the program only to find out that being a pilot might not be for them.
In that case you can find you spent (or borrowed) quite a bit of money to end up not even having the career you originally set out to have. Unlike a traditional college, you can’t just switch to a different major at ATP Flight School. If you decide to pursue a different field of study, you will likely have to leave the school and with that lose quite a bit of money.
Will You Get Hired?
Aside from a brief period in 2020 due to factors unrelated to the aviation industry, there is often a large shortage of airline pilots in the workforce. ATP Flight School works closely with major airlines (both regional and national carriers) to help fill jobs for pilots.
ATP Flight School has partnerships with all of these airlines because they have a long history of working with them to train and develop new pilots that are ready to fly.
Becoming a pilot requires you meet certain training requirements, and assuming you meet those training and testing requirements, you should have no problem getting hired as a pilot based on what flight school you went to.
The types of things that would hurt your chances of getting hired by an airline after graduating from ATP Flight School would be no different if you went to a different flight school.
The factors that would prevent you from getting hired can include:
- Failing exams/check rides
- DUI or other criminal charges
- Unprofessionalism while working through hiring process
For most students that are serious about becoming a pilot, these things are not an issue and should not keep you from getting hired as a pilot if you attend ATP Flight School.
What do Former Students Say?
A big part of reviewing a school is getting a sense of what the students who attended that school say about it once they complete the program.
We searched the web far and wide and researched feedback from past students in a variety of programs and from a variety of locations of ATP Flight School.
Here are our findings:
We read through dozens of reviews by current and former students that are posted online. We checked every source available including online forums, review sites, aviation sites, and more. We also made a point to read through the review and see what students of ATP Flight School liked and didn’t like.
The consensus was that it was a positive experience that allowed students to get the training they needed in a quick and efficient manner.
Many of the students made a point to mention how much they appreciated that ATP Flight School has the resources to work through all the training and flight hours as quickly as they did. If you want to get your training and experience as quickly as possible, then this is the route for you.
Other things that students mentioned that they really liked included:
- Experienced instructors
- The option to live on campus
- Top of the line technology for educational purposes
- Assistance with job placement
The only negative aspects of the reviews available online are from students who either did not want the program to go as quickly as it did or would have liked to take their time in getting their training. Since ATP Flight School focuses on a structured environment for students, this is more of a preference than it is a true negative against the school.
Who ATP Flight School Might NOT be a Good Fit For
As mentioned above, ATP Flight School has a focus on using a structured environment to facilitate you learning at an accelerated pace. This is a program designed for people who want to live and breathe flight school until they are complete the process and graduate on to become an airline pilot.
The school is not necessarily designed for someone looking to slowly be introduced to flying at a slow pace or a very part time basis. If you want to take lessons on the weekends as a hobby or aren’t yet sure if being a pilot is a good career for you, you might be better off at a smaller local flight school where you can learn at your own pace.
To write this review, we looked at all available information on ATP Flight School and it’s competitors. We also considered how they stacked up against each other in categories like cost, access to information, instructors, and more. In order to make sure that the experience for students was reviewed, we looked through all available resources at the feedback being provided.
ATP Flight School comes with a strong recommendation for many types of potential students.
If you want to become an airline pilot and are serious about doing it in a professional and organized manor, ATP Flight School is a great option. It provides a structured environment and access to all the experts and equipment you’ll need to get the training and experience to become an airline pilot.
So, Is ATP Flight School worth it?
It sure is if becoming an airline pilot is your goal.
Attending ATP Flight School has many benefits as well as some drawbacks. Making the decision to attend any college or trade school is a big decision. In the case of someone wanting to become an airline pilot, deciding what flight school to attend is an even bigger decision.
There is a lot to consider as you make your decision. You’ll have to take into account things like cost, location, instruction, your career goals, and more.
The best advice if you’re interested in attending ATP Flight School (or any flight school for that matter) is to make an appointment to to visit the school. Meet some of the instructors and ask a lot of questions. Get a feel for the people and how you think you’ll fit in with them and the program. Make sure to also visit and explore other schools as well so you have a basis for comparison.
At the end of the day, even a big decision like ATP Flight School is something you can research and make sure sure you’re making the decision that’s right for you.