Modular vs Integrated
There are two main routes to get your Air Transports Pilots Licence: Integrated or modular training.
What does Integrated and Modular mean?
An integrated course is a full time training course, combining all of your ATPL theory plus flight training – from zero hours right up to a frozen ATPL licence. These courses vary in length, depending on training provider, but typically last 16-18 months. The cost for integrated training varies between £70,000 and £100,000. This type of training can also be called ‘Ab Initio’ training – and entry requirements are typically as follows:
Aged 18 and over
No flight experience required, although anything up to a PPL (A) with night rating is acceptable. Schools will not accept cadets with any additional flight training to this, and so will require you to go down the modular route.
Able to obtain and maintain a Class 1 medical
Proficient in the English language
A modular course encompasses everything that an integrated cadet will do, but broken down into modules – meaning cadets can continue to work and earn money, whilst doing their training. Modular training can take as long as you like – providing you do not exceed the expiry limit for EASA exams, which is 3 years. This type of training allows for the ‘hour building’ element of training to be conducted in other countries, such as the USA or Spain, with flight training being significantly cheaper than the UK. The stages of modular training are outlined below:
Why go Integrated?
The training is fluid and flows from phase to phase. There is no time for skill fade, and no need to continually revise the same things.
Airlines generally prefer integrated students – and will often directly employ cadets from integrated training providers. In addition, all airline sponsored/tagged programs are integrated. This is not to say that airlines will not employ modular students!
The course is intensive and shows to employers that you are strong minded and resilient.
EASA/CAA must approve integrated training programs. This means training is of the highest quality.
The training is quicker and will probably result in employment faster.
There is continuity in your training. Integrated courses prepare you to be a commercial airline pilot from day 1, and with airline partners will incorporate SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) from an early stage, better preparing you for employment with airlines.
Downsides of integrated training:
The vast training fees are paid on a fixed payment schedule. You cannot pay as you go and cannot work whilst in training.
Training is conducted on a strict and tight timeline. There is little time for social events and little flexibility.
The training is often double the cost as modular cadets.
The cost of Integrated Training:
For reference, I have included below the cost of integrated training at the main training providers (as of Feb 2018):
L3 CTS Airline Academy -- £96,800
CAE Oxford Aviation Academy -- £90,000
FTE Jerez -- €117,000
FTA Global -- £63,950 (Spain)
-- £77,950 (UK)
Airline Pilot Academy (APA) -- £79,875
Stapleford Flight Centre -- £69,995
Why go Modular?
Modular training is much better suited to individuals who are unable to finance the training all in one go. It gives a great amount of flexibility as to how long the training will take, and where you can complete your training.
Modular students with some flight training organizations will also have access to the same airline hold pools, and so the myth that modular cadets cannot seek employment is very much untrue. Many airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet will also accept direct entry applications from modular cadets.
~ ~ ~
In conclusion, this is very much a personal decision. There are advantages and disadvantages to both Integrated and Modular training. Hopefully, this information gives a good basis to decide which is better for you - but for more information, visit the websites of individual training providers.