ATP Flight School Cost

With over 85 locations across the United States ATP Flight School is the leader in airline-orientated flight training. So what does ATP Flight School cost?

There are plenty of options available to student pilots in order to obtain their licenses and choosing the right organization can be difficult. The following article will look at the pros and cons of the ATP flight school, the job prospects available to graduates upon completion and answer the question, what does ATP Flight School cost?

The Good

  • 85 locations across the USA
  • Exclusive partnerships with 38 airlines and cargo operators
  • Access to financial support
  • For those wanting to be a pilot as quickly as possible, their course is one of the fastest
  • Airline-orientated training

The Bad

  • With the speed of which pilots can complete the course, some aspects may need further training in the workforce
  • Focus on quickly completing course deadlines may not be suitable for different learning styles

Verdict: If your goal is to become an airline pilot as quickly and efficiently as possible then ATP flight school is strongly recommended and well worth the cost.

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pilot in cockpit in flight
Pilot Training through ATP is very costly as it is fast-tracked – 7 months until you gain your pilot certificate

Introduction to ATP Flight School Cost

One of the downsides of pursuing a career as an airline pilot is the significant cost incurred during training. There are plenty of options available to students in order to obtain their licenses and choosing the right organization can be difficult. ATP Flight School is the largest provider of pilot training in the United States. Since 1984 ATP has delivered a structured and efficient path to a successful career with regional and major airlines.

Is ATP Flight School a good choice?

If you’re looking for a fast, proven way to become a pilot, ATP advertises efficient airline-orientated training, taking students with little to no experience to an airline in the shortest timeframe possible. Due to the size of ATP Flight School (85 locations across the United States) there are lots of benefits and features available to students that smaller training organizations or flight schools cannot provide. These include:

 –         Modern and professionally maintained fleet of over 550 aircraft including single-engine Piper Archers and Cessna Skyhawk 172’s along with multi-engine Piper Seminoles.

–         Exclusive partnerships with 38 airline, cargo, corporate employers with hiring opportunities after graduation

–         Access to financial packages and career support

–         Availability of on-site student accommodation

–         Airline orientated procedures

ATP flight school cost
ATP Flight School has 85 locations across the USA

So to answer the question of whether ATP flight school is a good choice, yes it is if your goal is to become an airline pilot. Graduates from the ATP program have gone on to fly for Delta, JetBlue, United and American Airlines. There are many career paths in aviation and flying passenger aircraft for a commercial airline isn’t for everyone. Not everyone learns at the same pace and therefore will not be suited to fast-tracked, intensive education.

For more information, AOPA has a dedicated article on what to look for when deciding about flight schools.

Is it hard to get into ATP Flight School?

 If you can afford the cost of ATP Flight School then there are only a few simple prerequisites that need to be met in order to gain admission. Eligibility requirements are:

1.     Successfully complete a pre-enrollment interview with ATP

2. Successfully complete an introductory training flight with ATP

3.     Be at least 18 years of age or older

4.     US citizen or permanent resident

5.     At least a High School Diploma (3.0 GPA) or GED, or two years of college experience, or two years of professional work experience, or 2 years of military service with an honorable discharge

6.     FAA First Class Medical Certificate and meet the height and weight limits

How much does ATP Flight School Cost?

For ab-initio students with zero hours of flight experience, the total cost comes to $114,400 US dollars. For this students will receive a Commercial Pilot Certificate (minimum 250 flight hours) with a flight instructor rating. If you already hold a private pilot certificate, ATP will credit prior learning with a reduced cost to the sum of $92,585 US dollars. You can read more about the different pilot licenses and certificates on the FAA website.

If students struggle to meet the cost of training ATP offers competitive low rate finance with flexible financing options, to help with flight training costs. This will cover all costs of pilot school and living expenses whilst training and may be deferred until a start date with a reputable airline. On top of financial assistance, students also benefit from airline sponsorship with partner airlines contributing towards flight training.

These programs vary in eligibility and the amount offered to candidates. To learn more about ATP costs and finance more information is available on the ATP website.

How much do ATP pilots make?

According to the Occupational Outlook handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for commercial pilots calculated in May 2022 was $103,910 USD. Airline Transport Pilot salaries vary depending on the following factors; the company itself, the experience level or seniority of the pilot and the aircraft type flown.

Pilots begin their careers as first officers and receive wage increases as they ascend through the ranks. In addition, they also receive allowances or “per diem” when they are away from their home base. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $54,100 compared to the highest 10 earning more than $217,530.

More information regarding pilot wage statistics is availiable on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

How long does ATP flight training take?

If you’re looking to complete your training in the shortest time possible then look no further. The greatest advantage of ATP flight school is the fast-tracked, accelerated learning. ATP advertises that their total immersion flight training can be completed in just 7 months and proven graduates could be flying with an airline in two years.

The downside of burning through training in just 7 months, which would normally take over a year to complete at other institutions, is that student pilots don’t finish with the same level of know-how and exposure to important flying experience that you get when training over a longer period. Sure, successful candidates have met an adequate standard but retaining knowledge learned so quickly can be difficult and their flying skills haven’t had the time to be refined.

On the other hand, getting qualified quickly means getting to an airline sooner and continuing further training and development.

cockpit displays view
There are many options when it comes to doing pilot training – ATP is just one of them

Is becoming a pilot worth the cost?

Becoming an airline pilot is a rewarding career both financially and in terms of job satisfaction; however, being a pilot is not always a smooth ride. It’s not all beautiful skies, the latest avionics, and flying big jets. You need to be a hardworking, ambitious, career-minded individual that can deal with the grind of building up your hours following your passion for aviation.

Just like any profession, you start at the very bottom.  It’s not about the destination but the journey that matters and it would be hard to find the energy or enthusiasm in other jobs if they are not your passion. Follow your dreams and do something that makes you happy. An office with a view beats a desk job any day. There are airlines that pay for pilot training too!

“Don’t ever let a fear of failing keep you from knowing the joys of flight”

Lane Wallace

ConclusionATP Flight School Cost

ATP Flight School provides its customers with a fast-paced, intensive, efficient course designed to secure their graduates jobs as airline pilots. Paying tens of thousands of dollars in fees for flight training is quite a bit, but not unreasonable considering the benefits and opportunities that are offered. There are multiple methods of finance and sponsorship available to students and the potential salary repayments justify the significant investment that pilots take on during their training.

There are many benefits as well as some drawbacks to choosing ATP Flight School as a training provider. Taking into account the cost, location, instruction and career goals when researching your options will assist in making the decision that’s right for you. 

There are many training courses and flight schools around, as well as the option of completing a bachelor’s degree. Training quality does vary so make sure you get some background information before committing to pilot training with any institution but ATP is a solid choice in my opinion.

Learning at an accelerated pace isn’t for everyone however and the criticism of large training providers such as ATP is that they are a bit like a sausage factory, churning out pilots but not delivering the quality experience that you may otherwise have received had you not been pushed through a course with a tight deadline. Despite this assessment, if your goal is to become an airline pilot as quickly and efficiently as possible then ATP flight school is strongly recommended and well worth the cost.

Jet flying into the sunset
“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill” – Wilbur Wright, inventor of modern flight
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ken johnson


Ken is a passionate aviator, a professional pilot and flight instructor. He has over 17 years of flight experience across hundreds of aircraft ranging from recreational, aerobatic, historic, commercial and military aircraft, training hundreds of students along the way. Find out more.

Ken has 124 posts and counting. See all posts by Ken

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