Integrated VS Modular

Integrated Flight Training Overview

Integrated training basically means you carry out all of your training on a full time course at an approved flight school. It takes you from having zero hours flying time to holding a frozen ATPL in around 14-24 months. The training is intensive requiring complete commitment from start to finish. Although the course is designed for zero hour flight time students, it does not preclude those with previous flying experience from applying, in fact a few hours of previous instruction may be beneficial. Many people, of which me, enroll on an integrated course having already obtained their PPL.Many airlines say they prefer graduates from integrated flight school.

Integrated Flight Training Advantages

  • Some airlines recruit directly from integrated flight training organisations. For example, easyJet recruit directly from OAA and L3 Aviation Academy.
  • After completing training, you are often placed in a holding pool until an airline recruits you.
  • It’s an intensive course which the airlines like as it demonstrates you can cope with a steep learning curve.
  • All of the training is done with one flight training organisation. This means an accurate record can be kept of your flight training performance, something which the airlines value.
  • Integrated flight training organisations must be approved by the state regulator. This guarantees a high standards of training.
  • The quality and consistency of the training is often better.
  • You will probably get your licence quicker.
  • It takes from you zero flying experience to the ability to pilot a commercial aircraft as a First Officer.
  • There are potentially additional accreditations that might be available through an integrated flight training course, such as bolt on aviation degrees.
  • Some flight schools provide support to their graduates until they secure a job with an airline. Some schools will offer assessment preparation sessions and practice simulator assessments.
  • Some flight schools have performance guarantee schemes due to the faith in their selection process. This means if you didn’t reach the required standard to gain various licences, you could get your money back.

Integrated Flight Training Disadvantages

  • More expensive than the modular route.
  • Training to a strict timetable i.e. less flexibility.
  • Unable to work in any other role whilst on the course so you would need the money or loan to finance the course upfront.
  • More risk in the sense of if there was a significant global event that effected airline recruitment (like the 2008 recession or more recently COVID-19 with the coronavirus pandemic in 2020), you will be committed to continue with your training.
  • You can’t pay as you go – much more money is required through specific instalments and this can be difficult to source for some people.

Modular Flight Training Overview

Modular flight training is traditionally cheaper than integrated. You can choose where and when you complete your training which gives you the benefit of being able to budget appropriately, paying for you training as you go, rather than spending a large upfront sum that is required for integrated courses. You can do it as quickly or slowly as you like, which gives you the opportunity to work while getting your various licences.The hour building required for the Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) issue can be completed in other countries, with many people choosing to do this in the United States because of the cheaper cost of flying.The typical route for modular training is as follows:

So why doesn’t everyone go through the modular route if it’s cheaper?

  • Historically, many airlines have preferred integrated students because of the quality and intensity of the training on such a course. This can’t be guaranteed through the modular route.
  • No links with airlines. Most integrated schools have links with airlines, allowing the schools to recommend students to a specific airline when they perform to a high standard.

Modular Flight Training Advantages

  • It can be much cheaper than an integrated course.
  • You can complete it in your own time alongside full or part time employment.
  • You can train at your own pace.
  • Less risk in that if there is a substantial downturn which affects the airlines, you can stop the training and continue at a later date
  • You aren’t committed to work for a particular company, which might be useful if lots of airlines are recruiting when you complete your training – you can be a bit fussier about who you apply to.

Modular Flight Training Disadvantages

  • It takes longer to complete.
  • It can be difficult to maintain consistency through having different instructors at different schools.
  • The training emphasis isn’t always on becoming an airline pilot and therefore the training can be less focussed on the end result.
  • Generally speaking, modular flight training organisations tend not to have employment ties with commercial airlines.
  • Arguably, it requires more discipline as there is more emphasis on self study.
  • Historically it has been harder to modular students to secure employment compared to integrated students.


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