Flight Instructor CertificateHow to Become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)?
As you progress through your aviation career, you may consider earning your flight instructor certification. As a certificated flight instructor, you can build flight experience quickly to meet airline and corporate hiring minimums. Being a certified flight instructor is a challenging and rewarding career that utilizes all you have learned during your own flight training. Flight instructors aim to be role models of the aviation community, sharing knowledge and experience with their students, and for many people it is the first job in aviation that earns them a paycheck.
Why Should I Become a Certified Flight Instructor?
There are many reasons why pilots choose to become a CFI, with the most common reason being to gain experience and build flight time. Most jobs in aviation, especially commercial airline pilot jobs, require a certain amount of flight time to be eligible. Many candidates opt to teach flight training to students due to the fast-paced environment and the opportunity for steady gains in flight time hours. By teaching students how to safely and effectively operate aircraft, flight instructing also reinforces the knowledge you gained during your own flight training. Over time, flight instructors become very knowledgeable, skillfully polished pilots that are also privileged to train and endorse other pilots to take FAA practical tests.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Flight Instructor Certificate?
While there is no specific time requirement to become a flight instructor, all flight instructors must obtain at least a commercial pilot license as part of their eligibility requirements. The commercial pilot license requires 250 hours of flight time as a pilot, with several associated sub-requirements. A pilot who plans to become a flight instructor is essentially preparing for the role from the first day they begin flight training, meeting the demands of each rating (essentially a milestone) along the way.
What Are the Different Types of Flight Instructor Certifications?
Further milestones may be met within the category of flight instructor, earning you different types of certifications:
- Certified Flight Instructor (CFI): A flight instructor for single-engine aircraft
- Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII): A flight instructor that teaches instrument flying
- Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI): A flight instructor for multi-engine aircraft
What Is a Certified Flight Instructor's Salary?
Salary for flight instructors varies from state to state, is dependent on the company for which you work and can vary widely depending on your qualifications. While there are some companies that pay CFIs a yearly salary, most pay is earned as an hourly wage. Compensation at an hourly rate can also be payed at different rates for the different types of instruction you are providing. For example, one might earn a higher hourly rate for flights and a lower hourly rate for ground and simulator (AATD) instruction.
According to major online recruiting providers, CFI pay ranges from $15 per hour to $50 per hour and anywhere from $28,000 per year to upwards of $65,000 per year. With this type of pay structure, to earn the most as a certified flight instructor, it is important to have advanced sought after qualifications coupled with a consistent and plentiful pool of students from which to provide instruction.