Flight Training Timeline

With ATP's accelerated pilot training, you will complete the Airline Career Pilot Program in 6 or 9 months and can become an airline pilot in about two years. Click the timeline to see a description of your flight training milestones in the Airline Career Pilot Program.

Private Pilot

The first step towards becoming a commercial pilot is earning your single-engine Private Pilot Certificate. Keeping your end goal in mind — ATP's philosophy is to deliver airline-style training and flight experience at the very onset of a pilot's training career. This is accomplished through standardized operating procedures and training students to a high level of proficiency. In your primary training stage, you'll learn the fundamentals of flight before moving on to cross-country and accomplishing your first solo.

What's Included

Aircraft Flown

Certificate Earned

  • Private Pilot (with single-engine privileges)

From a Student's Perspective:

Full immersion is an understatement... Two weeks into the program and I've done nothing but lived and breathed aviation – loving every minute. During the private pilot stage, my days start off with self-study, using King Schools Courseware. Here I'm learning all of the fundamentals of flying, which I'm confident is setting the foundation for the rest of my training. Mid-afternoon, I meet with my flight instructor for a preflight briefing and to go over a few questions I ran into during my self-study session. With questions answered and lesson objectives covered, I head out to preflight the aircraft at about 4pm. I'm excited for the flight ahead, as it is sure to be plenty full of stalls, slow-flight, ground reference maneuvers, and inevitably finishing with a round of landings.

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Typical Training Day5 Days Per Week

SSBSelf-Study & Briefings
FFlight
8am
noon
8pm
  • SSB: Self-Study & Briefings
  • B: Briefing
  • S: Sim
  • F: Flight
  • G: Ground

Learn more about required availability.

Time Away from Primary Training CenterSome Time Away May Be Required

To keep your training on time, the single-engine private pilot checkride may be scheduled at a location other than your primary training center. In such cases, travel will be required and ATP will coordinate transportation and housing as necessary.

Instrument Rating

Airlines conduct flights under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), allowing them to fly in less than ideal weather conditions. Accordingly, these pilots must have an Instrument Rating. During this stage, students conduct flights under simulated instrument conditions and learn IFR procedures such as approaches, holds, arrival and departure procedures, and emergency operations.

Not unlike other stages of the program, students are trained using standard operating procedures, flows, and callouts. This practice not only increases safety and consistency, but will prepare students for flying in the airline environment.

What's Included:

Aircraft Flown

Rating Earned

  • Instrument Rating

From a Student's Perspective:

So far the instrument rating stage of training has been the most demanding. After private pilot training, I am confident in my ability to safely fly the aircraft and so now the focus is on learning the procedures necessary to fly an airplane by instruments only, with no outside visual reference. Each day is intensive, starting off with self-study and a briefing in the morning, followed by taking what was learned and running through the procedures in the simulator. After a short break my instructor and I head out in the aircraft to run through holds, approaches, and emergency procedures. The long flight is grueling and tests your ability as a pilot, but after the flight, and at end of each day, the sense of accomplishment is unparalleled.

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Typical Training Day5 Days Per Week

BBriefing
SSim
FFlight
10am
noon
10pm
  • SSB: Self-Study & Briefings
  • B: Briefing
  • S: Sim
  • F: Flight
  • G: Ground

Learn more about required availability.

Time Away from Primary Training CenterSome Time Away May Be Required

To keep your training on time, the instrument rating checkride may be scheduled at a location other than your primary training center. In such cases, travel will be required and ATP will coordinate transportation and housing as necessary.

Crew-Style Cross-Country

Upon earning an Instrument Rating, students begin the crew-style cross-country phase of their training. Here you will be paired with a fellow pilot and fly as pilot-in-command to a variety of destinations near and far, dictated by operational needs. This crew-style flying requires a level of currency, proficiency, and standardization that defines ATP's excellence in flight training.

All cross-country flights (flights greater than 50 nautical miles) are operated in an airline-style environment using crew resource management and standard operating procedures, as well as enhanced scheduling with flight releases to assist with weather, routing, and performance reviews. ATP's specialized Flight Operations team ensure safety and support through scheduling and monitoring all flights around-the-clock.

Aircraft Flown

From a Student's Perspective:

The cross-country stage of my training has felt like a much-needed vacation and has been a once in a lifetime experience. Today I woke up, and at about 6am met with my training partner at the airport – planning for a 7am wheels-up departure. We left Phoenix and headed off to Los Angeles (Riverside to be exact), where we grabbed a quick bite to eat before departing to Las Vegas – finally returning home at around 5pm. Each day has been new and different; nothing beats waking up each morning and flying to a different destination.

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Typical Training Day7 Days Per Week

FFlight
FFlight
FFlight
6am
noon
6pm
  • SSB: Self-Study & Briefings
  • B: Briefing
  • S: Sim
  • F: Flight
  • G: Ground

Learn more about required availability.

Time Away from Primary Training CenterUp to Three Weeks

During the Crew-Style Cross-Country stage of training, expect to be away from your primary training center for a few weeks.

Commercial Pilot

After completing the cross-country flying stage, students will begin preparing for their single-engine Commercial Pilot Certificate, eventually allowing them to be paid to fly. As a commercial pilot, new flight maneuvers are introduced and existing ones are held to tighter tolerances. Prior to completing the commercial pilot practical test, 10 hours of Technologically Advanced Aircraft training will have been conducted either at your primary training center or at another location.

What's Included:

Aircraft Flown

Certificate Earned

  • Commercial Pilot (with single-engine privileges)

From a Student's Perspective:

After exploring different locations during the cross-country stage, it was time to get back to work and start the next step of training – becoming a commercial pilot. Continuing training in the same familiar single-engine aircraft will allow me to dial in my proficiency in the air, while I study the privileges of the commercial pilot certificate and more advanced aircraft systems on the ground.

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Typical Training Day5 Days Per Week

BBriefing
FFlight
FFlight
8am
noon
8pm
  • SSB: Self-Study & Briefings
  • B: Briefing
  • S: Sim
  • F: Flight
  • G: Ground

Learn more about required availability.

Time Away from Primary Training CenterSome Time Away May Be Required

To keep your training on time, the commercial pilot checkrides may be scheduled at a location other than your primary training center. In such cases, travel will be required and ATP will coordinate transportation and housing as necessary. Additionally, if no previous training was conducted in Technologically Advanced Aircraft, you may be required to travel to another training center for up to two weeks to accomplish this training.

Certificated Flight Instructor

Two months of the program are devoted to developing students into Certificated Flight Instructors (CFI). Here students attend ATP's CFI Academy to learn the fundamentals of instruction and hone their ability to effectively teach and communicate the knowledge and experience they have attained throughout the program.

Becoming a CFI allows you to begin earning an income in your new career while you gain the flight experience needed to meet airline minimums. Airline Career Pilot Program graduates are guaranteed a paid instructor job with ATP, earning up to $42,000 annually with airline tuition reimbursement.

What's Included:

Aircraft Flown

Certificate Earned

  • Certificated Flight Instructor (with single-engine and instrument privileges)

From a Student's Perspective:

Becoming a CFI is an intense process, as I take all of the knowledge and skills I've gained over the course of training, and learn how to teach it to others. Luckily, CFI Academy is structured and even though I'm away from home, I'm with a great group of fellow students who, with support of my instructors, have enabled me to pass my initial instructor checkride.

Highly-Qualified Instructors

AOPA Distinguished Flight Schools Awards

ATP's staff of experienced CFI Academy instructors are among the most highly-qualified and bring you an immense depth of knowledge and instructional insight. Acknowledging this, ATP's CFI Academy Standardization Manager, Todd Shellnutt, was voted "Best Flight Instructor" and also later received the Distinguished Flight Instructor award in the AOPA Flight Training Excellence Awards.

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Typical Training Day5 Days Per Week

GGround
FFlight
8am
noon
8pm
  • SSB: Self-Study & Briefings
  • B: Briefing
  • S: Sim
  • F: Flight
  • G: Ground

Learn more about required availability.

Time Away from Primary Training CenterUp to One Month

Depending on where you choose to train, you may be required to travel to a CFI Academy location. In such cases, travel will be required and ATP will coordinate transportation and housing as necessary.

Multi-Engine Add-Ons

The final stage of the Airline Career Pilot Program is transitioning to flying the Piper Seminole to add multi-engine privileges to your certificates. While the principles of flight remain the same, learning to fly the multi-engine Seminole will involve new concepts such as multi-engine aerodynamics, emergency operations, and more complex systems. This stage of the program also includes the flight time necessary to ensure that you'll meet Airline Transport Pilot certificate requirements later in your career and be eligible for airline pilot employment.

What's Included:

  • Commercial Multi-Engine Flight Instruction
  • Multi-Engine CFI Flight Instruction

Aircraft Flown

Privileges Earned

  • Commercial Pilot Multi-Engine Privileges
  • Certificated Flight Instructor Multi-Engine Privileges

From a Student's Perspective:

Transitioning to Piper Seminole has been an enjoyable challenge, adding an extra degree of complexity to the otherwise same procedures I have become proficient with in the program. In the morning, I met with my training partner, where we spent an hour and half studying multi-engine aerodynamics. The plan for the afternoon is a mix of simulator work and actual flying, practicing engine failure procedures and multi-engine commercial maneuvers.

Once complete with this stage, I'll be ready start working as a CFI. The program has been as equally challenging as rewarding, and the fast-track training has allowed me to build a strong foundation of knowledge and skill that I know will be with me throughout my entire airline career.

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Typical Training Day5 Days Per Week

BBriefing
SSim
FFlight
8am
noon
8pm
  • SSB: Self-Study & Briefings
  • B: Briefing
  • S: Sim
  • F: Flight
  • G: Ground

Learn more about required availability.

Time Away from Primary Training CenterSome Time Away May Be Required

Depending on where you choose to train, you may be required to travel to a Piper Seminole location. In such cases, travel will be required and ATP will coordinate transportation and housing as necessary.

Guaranteed Instructor Job After Your Fast Track Airline Career Pilot Program

As an Airline Career Pilot Program graduate you are guaranteed one of the most desired flight instructor jobs in the country, where you can earn up to $42,000 annually with airline tuition reimbursement and build flight experience faster than anywhere else.

Benefits of Instructing with ATP

  • Earn up to $42,000 annually with airline tuition reimbursement, based on how much you fly.
  • Opportunity to instruct at any of ATP’s 38 flight training centers nationwide.
  • Gain ATP’s assistance with regional airline job placement.
  • Build multi-engine and total time quickly to meet airline and corporate hiring minimums.
  • Multi-engine dual experience rapidly moves you to the top
  • Work with dedicated, motivated students.
  • Fly the largest fleet of standardized multi-engine aircraft.
  • Free housing available during CFI SE and CFII training in Jacksonville, FL or Phoenix, AZ.
  • Housing, furnished with no lease obligation, is available at training centers for reduced rates.

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Guarantee Eligibility

Airline Career Pilot Program graduates must meet the following requirements to be eligible for guaranteed instructor job placement:

  1. Graduate from the Airline Career Pilot Program with CFI, MEI & II
  2. Meet availability and proficiency requirements that support on-time graduation
  3. Fail no more than two practical tests (checkrides) (three or more checkride failures will require special review and may prevent your eligibility for guaranteed instructor job placement)
  4. Demonstrate professionalism, adherence to standard operating procedures, and uncompromising attention to safety-focused decisions at all times
  5. Have no prohibitive items on a ten-year background check, as required for airline employment
  6. Commit to an available training center assignment within 2 weeks of graduation. (After 2 weeks, the instructor position is no longer guaranteed.)
  7. Complete approximately 1 week of Instructor Indoc (an ATP on-boarding and proficiency program) in Jacksonville or Phoenix

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Airline Tuition ReimbursementInterview with Your Airline Between 300-500 Hours Total Time

Airlines have selected ATP as a preferred training provider to build their pilot pipelines with the best training, offering ATP graduates tuition reimbursement.

As an Airline Career Pilot Program graduate, you can begin taking advantage of this program between 300-500 hours total flight time. Here's how it works:

Step 1: Airline Career Pilot Program

Graduate from the Airline Career Pilot Program with CFIs.

Step 2: Build Experience as a Flight Instructor

Become a flight instructor with ATP — guaranteed instructor job for Airline Career Pilot Program graduates.

Step 3: Airline Interview & Airline Tuition Reimbursement

As an instructor, interview with your airline. If you accept the airline's offer, they make a financial contribution toward your loan payment and you make a commitment to fly for that airline. Depending on your airline of choice, you my also be eligible for airline health and travel benefits.

Step 4: Airline Pilot Job Placement

About two years after starting flight training, and with approximately $5,000 in airline tuition assistance received, you start new hire class with your airline.

Participating Airlines

Envoy Air

Skywest Airlines

Mesa Airlines

Horizon Air

GoJet Airlines

Trans States Airlines

Compass Airlines

Piedmont Airlines

Silver Airways

ExpressJet Airlines

CommutAir

Republic Airways

ATP is working with more airlines to join the program. Request more info for notification when new airlines join the program.

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Request more information to discuss this training timeline with a current ATP flight instructor and recent program graduate.


Life as an ATP Flight School StudentWork towards your goal of becoming an airline pilot.

What Others Have to Say

Airline Career Pilot Program graduates are being hired by the airlines

“ATP is a pilot factory. No fluff or frills. They pump out professional pilots with extreme diligence. I started the career pilot program in Jan 2012 and 5 short years later I just landed an Airbus A-321 with 230 passengers in Miami after doing a transcon [transcontinental flight].

After only three years with ExpressJet, I had offers to decide between, flying the 747 for Atlas Air, the 777 for Southern Air, or the A-320 series for Frontier. Not only am I accelerating through my career quickly, my ATP CFI is now working for Southwest.

When someone asks me how to become an airline pilot, the first thing I do is give them the link to ATP Flight School. I have recommended the career pilot program to my best of friends, and they have followed suit. I'm glad that something like ATP exists, it sure makes the dream much more achievable.”

Tayler Boone
ATP Graduate
HIRED: Frontier Airlines
Airline Career Pilot Program graduates are being hired by the airlines

“I did all my pilot training with ATP. I started from zero time in November 2012 and started working for ATP as a CFI in June of the following year… I reached the magic 1500 after thirteen months of instructing and then I got right on with SkyWest. I am now approaching a year with them and life continues to improve… I want to express my thanks to you and to the entire crew at ATP because although you have to earn every bit of what you accomplish, ATP provided me with the tools I needed to go from zero time to airline pilot in just 21 months.”

Mark Samyn
ATP Graduate
HIRED: Skywest Airlines

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Request more information to discuss this training timeline with a current ATP flight instructor and recent program graduate.