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4 Answers

Basic salary of a single engine flight instructor?

Asked by: 12987 views Flight Instructor, General Aviation

What is the basic salary of a single engine flight instructor? Thanks.

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4 Answers



  1. Ben on Sep 11, 2010

    Usually paid hourly which is where it get’s tricky. I worked for a school in Florida and was paid $11/hr, which then went up to $13/hr after 6 months. The problem is how many students you have and how tightly you can pack the ‘hours’ in. We did NOT get paid for airplane pre-flights or post flight briefs, we only got paid for official oral time or when the hobbs meter in the airplane was running. So getting paid for 8hrs a day typically meant you were in the school for 12+ hrs!
    I found when interviewing for other jobs later on that I was on the low side of pay and that others were getting around $15/20 per hour or a salay of $18-24k.
    Of course this can vary greatly. You typically get paid more for being an MEI, a CFI, a ground school teacher or deputy chief pilot or some other role.  It all depends on the school and your ‘usefulness’ to them.
    Of course, this is just my observation and other’s will vary greatly. But in GENERAL I would say the salary of a single engine flight instructor is going to be <$25k in the early days.

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  2. Chris Findley on Oct 05, 2010

    In my opinion this is a huge problem, especially for those who are “career” instructors (but it’s not limited to that of course). You pay thousands to earn all your licenses to be hired back on a per hour rate that is lower than a McDonald’s manager.  This is the same issue (ridiculuously low pay) you hear about in the regionals also.  Then, from that already low rate, we’re supposed to pay self-employment tax to the tune of 20%+ as independent contractors? 
    If we want to have and retain quality instructors, they have to be paid a decent salary that stretches a bit further above the poverty line ($21,097). This is tough for schools who find it hard to turn a profit in the instruction business anyway. 
    I don’t think anyone expects to get rich being a CFI, but I think some retooling of the flight instruction business is well overdue.  It’s a tough question, but worth the effort to work thru.
    I’ve found that my most profitable times come from teaching owners in their planes where the flight school isn’t taking 50% off the top. 
    Don’t mean to gripe about pay but I do think it’s an indicator of other issues we need to address within the larger scope of the flight training business. 

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  3. n6149s on Oct 22, 2010

    Just think, if your doctor, dentist, or teacher of your children had just finished their education (a new flight instructor). Now they are the ones teaching the people walking through the door (the student pilot). – I didn’t think you would want to go to that dentist..

    What other industry works like this?

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  4. Kevin Karr on Mar 04, 2011

    I will be launching a new website in March 2011 that is dedicated to assisting flight students to find and locate independent flight instructors in their area. We will have online scheduling and offer payment options for the student. We will also offer all the training books and supplies that is needed by the student. Students have the ability to give their feedback regarding the instruction that they are given, if they are not satisfied with their current instructor, we will help to find the best instructor for your personality and learning style.
    What we offer to the flight instructor is an hourly rate of $30 to $40 per hour billed, be paid weekly and the flexibility of setting their own schedule.
    website is: http://www.aviateonline.com

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