If you are interested in becoming a pilot, you might have come across ATP Flight School. They are the largest flight school in the United States and are well known in the aviation industry. They focus on providing training for students who want to become airline pilots in a very structured environment.
Their program allows students to work through the training and gain the experience needed to become a pilot quickly and efficiently. One common question prospective students have is – Is ATP Flight School accredited.
No, ATP Flight School is not accredited.
What does it mean to be “Accredited”
Here in the United States, colleges and universities that can award degrees have the distinction of being accredited. This means that the quality of their educational program has been reviewed by the US Department of Education’s office of postsecondary education (OPE) and they have awarded accreditation.
When you traditionally think of going to college to earn a bachelor’s (or graduate) degree, this is what means that your degree was awarded by a real institution. Without this, a degree isn’t as valuable or recognized by most other institutions or employers.
Should this concern you?
In the case of going to school to be an airline pilot, there’s a few things to keep in mind.
First off, having a bachelor’s degree is not required to be an airline pilot. That means that if you successfully complete the training and meet all the requirements, you can be hired as an airline pilot. Considering the fact that there is also typically a shortage of pilots qualified for the job, you’ll more than likely still get hired by an airline.
Another thing to consider is that having a college degree does in fact make you more marketable to airlines that might hire you. So, earning a college degree is still a good idea even if it’s not required.
While this might initially concern you, here are a couple reasons why it shouldn’t.
Earn a degree after flight school
Since having a college degree is not a requirement to be an airline pilot, some pilots choose to earn a degree once they are already working as pilots. This means that you can start earning the salary of a pilot and finish school part time on your own terms instead of waiting to begin your pilot career until after you’ve finished school. It also means that you can potentially get a degree in any field that interests you since getting one is more of a feather in your cap that a requirement.
Related: Do you need a college degree to be an airline pilot?
College credit for flight school (Flex Track Option)
Although you can’t earn a college degree for going to ATP Flight School alone, they have a program called the Flex Track that allows you to attend flight school while also working on earning a college degree. This merges the programs enough that you can do both of them at the same time.
As a bonus, if you use this program to earn a college degree the degree you earn is specific to the aviation field. This will set you apart from many other pilot’s who have a degree in a completely unrelated field.
How this affects financing ATP Flight School (Student Loans!?)
Because ATP Flight School is not accredited, it means that the loans you would take out to attend are private loans instead of the traditional federal student loans you hear about. Think of it more as a training school that prepares you for a specific job instead of a university that exists to give you a general education.
Thankfully, ATP Flight School has options to help you finance your training with them. You are not expected to pay for your training up front and they have several partnerships with organizations to help you pay for your training. Have no fear, financing is available!
While ATP Flight School is not an accredited university that can award you a bachelor’s degree, that should not stop you from attending should you like the other aspects of the school. Having a college degree is not a requirement to be an airline pilot, but something that can make you more attractive to potential employers. Should you decide that earning a bachelor’s degree is important to you while you attend flight school, they have a program to help you accomplish both of those goals at the same time.