Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free trial today! Click here

Top Five Things You Should Look for in a Flight School When Becoming an Airline Pilot

With a post-pandemic pilot shortage expected, now is the time for aspiring airline pilots to start training. The first step is researching which school is aligned with your goal. Here are the top five things you should look for in a flight school when becoming an airline pilot.

1. Speed of training

Airlines operate on a seniority-based system. Getting hired before other pilots allows you to enjoy better schedules, crew bases, and aircraft, as well as quicker career advancement. The faster you complete training, the sooner you can get to the airlines and gain seniority. Look for an accelerated program offered by a school that has the resources and experience to deliver it.

 ATP Flight School provides the fastest track to becoming an airline pilot – proven by thousands of successful graduates.

ATP Flight School pioneered fast-track training in 1984 and is the largest flight school. ATP's resources and highly efficient training make the Airline Career Pilot Program the fastest track to become an airline pilot.

2. Training methodology

When becoming an airline pilot, you need a program designed to prepare you for your career. Programs focused on airline pilot development will ready you for your interview, initial airline training, and operating in a complex crew environment. To help you succeed, make sure the program teaches using an airline-oriented methodology.

From day one, ATP students fly using standardized operating procedures built on the practices and methods used at airlines. Airline-based procedures and callouts combine with crew resource management principles and airline-style operations to prepare students for their careers.

3. Aircraft and maintenance

Accelerated training requires ample aircraft availability—fleet size, age, and maintenance all impact your ability to train. Ensure the school owns their airplanes and has multiple of each class. Look for a young fleet with the opportunity to learn with modern avionics. Verify the fleet is maintained to high standards by dedicated maintenance facilities.

 ATP Flight School is taking delivery of factory-new Piper Archers equipped with Garmin G1000 NXi glass cockpits.

ATP owns the largest training fleet, which gets progressively younger as factory-new Garmin G1000-equipped aircraft are delivered. Nationwide ATP maintenance facilities keep these aircraft reliably maintained and ready for training.

4. Airline connections

Airline partnerships accelerate your career advancement and allow you to earn financial incentives along the way. Look for both the quality and quantity of these partnerships. Having more options will enable you to take advantage of the best airline offers and gives you multiple pathways toward your end goal.

With 30-plus partnerships, ATP graduates have a fast track to all the major airlines. Regional airline partnerships offer tuition reimbursement and flow-through agreements, while programs like the Frontier Direct Program offer a path from ATP straight to the Airbus flight deck.

 30-plus airline partnerships provide ATP graduates with a fast track to all major airlines.

5. Airline placements

Make sure the school delivers on what it promises by seeing its airline placements. Review how many pilots are being hired and by which airlines. A lack of transparent placement data is a red flag.

The success of ATP graduates is proven by 20,000 pilots and with the highest ratio of airline placements to students of any flight school. You can view the thousands of successful professional pilots who trusted ATP to fast track their careers at

Topics: Flight School, Aviation Industry, Training and Safety

ATP Flight School

ATP is the nation's largest flight school, providing students with the most efficient path to a successful airline pilot career. For over 35 years, ATP has been the leader in professional flight training and supplying pilots to airlines.