How you fund your training will depend on where you choose to complete your training, how (with an integrated or modular course) and your time frame. Read on for some information regarding the finance options for both modular and integrated flight training.
Option 1: Professional and Career Development Loan
Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work. You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000.
You can apply for these loans for courses such as postgraduate courses; a specialist course at a privately owned learning provider, such as pilot training; Management courses, Technician level training; a National or Scottish Vocational Qualification (NVQ/SVQ) and courses leading to a professional qualification.
To be eligible for a loan you must:
- Be 18 or over (the Co-op has an upper age limit of 69).
- Have been living in the UK for at least 3 years before your course starts.
- Plan to work in the UK, European Union, or European Economic Area after the course.
Once you've chosen the course you want to do, you need to check that your provider is on the Professional Career and Development Loan Register, or that they’re applying for registration. Your pilot school will be able to tell you if they’re registered. If they are, remember to quote their registration number on your application form.
Each bank has a different application form and it’s important you follow their guidance when completing the form. You can only apply to one bank at a time, but if the bank you initially apply to turns you down, you can still submit an application to the other bank. It can take time to process your application, so do factor this in when you apply.
Information about Career Development Loans is available here: https://www.gov.uk/career-development-loans/
Option 2: Secured loan
There are a few banks that will lend larger amounts of money with security - usually in the form of a property. If you are in a position where you need a bank loan to fund your flight training through a secured loan, you will either need to own a home with a value in excess of £150,000 (most banks will only lend up to around 60% of the value of the property) or be in a position where someone (usually parents) are prepared to take out a loan on their property on your behalf.
Option 3: Flight training finance specialists
There are companies which offer loans specifically for pilot training such as Pegasus Finance. Details about applicant criteria and eligibility are available on the company's website: www.pegasuspersonalfinance.co.uk
Option 4: Savings
A number of students fund their training with an inheritance or finances they’ve managed to save over time. A cool £63,950 is not the typical amount found in the average teenager’s piggy bank so if sizeable funds are an issue, it may be that you opt for the modular route to a frozen ATPL. You could then use savings to kick start your training. Flight phases can be completed over time and you can work between modules to earn enough funds for the next part of your ATPL. The pros and cons of integrated vs. modular can be found in our online guide: ‘Integrated vs modular – which is the best way to get your frozen ATPL?’
Option 5: The bank of mum and dad
It can be tough to ask a parent to fund your pilot training, but it is worthwhile. Pilot training costs can easily be compared with those of going to university.
By taking a commercial pilot training course, many students have the ability to start earning as soon as they qualify, within 14-18 months of starting their course.
Your starting salary upon completion is generally higher than that of a university graduate and you’re starting your career at a younger age. Can many 19-year-olds say they were earning £25,000 per annum in their first full-time job?
It’s not just starting salaries that prove attractive. Commercial Pilots consistently top the polls for the highest average salary, and this year the average salary of a commercial pilot was stated as the highest – a whopping £84,592 – above CEOs and Senior Officers. Read the full article in the business section of The Telegraph online
The prospects for graduates are very positive – with Boeing continuing to predict unprecedented growth for airlines globally over the next 20 years. So, work hard and the opportunities are there for the taking.
Read all about the prospects of pilot careers on the following website: prospects.ac.uk
Option 6: Pay in instalments
FTA cadets pay an initial £14,000 (to enrol on an integrated course) after which the balance is paid over 12 months. This is particularly useful if it’s easier for you to pay the money over time.
FTA's Integrated Flight Deck Programmes start at £63,950. After the initial payment of £14,000 you make 12 payments of £4,163. If this is still a stretch, you can chose to complete your training in phases. FTA offers modular flight training and a competitive rate for completing your MEP, ME IR and ME CPL. The three-course package costs £24,950 and usually takes around 3-4 months to complete, subject to weather and student performance.
What is the best route to take?
How you choose to fund your pilot training is of little consequence to your future employer. Some airlines have training partnerships or sponsored placements with pilot training schools. Typically the cadet will enrol on the course and repay their course fees upon successful completion of their training. As the funds are deducted from the cadet’s salary, this relies on successfully securing a job within the airline affiliated with the scheme.
There is no guarantee that upon completion of your training you will be offered a role, and so for many, the option of selecting an independent provider that offers more competitive course fees and high employability rates is preferable.
The most important thing to do is give careful though to the best and most affordable option for you. As Jonathan Candelon explained to Pilot Careers News in 2016: ‘There are many licenced and approved ATOs in the UK but a huge disparity in course prices…What could you do with the £40,000 saving in training costs?’
He goes on to add: ‘At FTA, we firmly believe that it’s not about getting the biggest loan or making that debt any larger than it needs to be. You don’t need to spend £100,000 or more to succeed. Because at the end of the day, the commercial airlines will recruit the best pilots, how much (or little) you’ve spent to get there, or the route you chose, will pale into insignificance when they are comparing one CV and training record with another.’
‘FTA want pilot training to be more accessible for all. We have worked hard to reduce costs and plan our courses, operations and resources effectively, which in turn, allows us to pass on savings to our cadets and their parents’, he says.