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6 Answers

CFI Career

Asked by: 7337 views Flight Instructor

Hi, I'm beggining my path as a student pilot and I would like to know if there's is anything like a Flight Instructor career. I know most CFIs are only interested in building up hours to go to a better job, but can anyone live from being a flight instructor? Are there any good salarys or benefits?

Thank you very much!

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6 Answers

  1. Best Answer

    James MacGregor CFI on Aug 16, 2011

     You can make a good living at it, get the book “Savy flight instructor”.  You might want to take a few business/marketing classes at your local community college.
     My last gig I was free lance, I made $50 a hr (directly to me), I had a communical aggrement with the other FBOs and a few private owners who didnt do much flying where I could use their aircraft at a discount (then I added my markup).
    I did a bit of adversiting on craigslist, had a few mailings (both snail mail and email), went through 100+ biz cards a month, sponsered a few charity events, and had posters at all the pilot lounges around, also had my 3×5 flyers at all the turist stops and a discounted flight card included in the new home gift packs realators give out.
     The thing to keep in mind with marketing as a CFI (or anything) is it takes a while to build you client base, your brand and your visibility to the public. I am not looking to be a carrer CFI (as most people want to learn in 172s/newer planes, only want to land on runways and the like which is not my style) so I went elsewhere.
     So in short yes, you can go career CFI, just be sure to do honest assesment with yourself on your ability to think outside of the box, this is a MUST if you are to do what you are proposing.

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  2. James MacGregor CFI on Aug 16, 2011


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  3. Micah on Aug 17, 2011

    If you want to work as a CFI you’ll either work for a flight school (of some reasonable size) as an employee (probably a contract employee) or you’ll be self-employed and all considerations (benefits, etc.) will be the same as if you own your own business (which you do… that’s how self-employment works.)
    This is true with flying jobs in general (all jobs in general, really), but in the latter case it takes time and effort to establish a good reputation and client base. I don’t think you should expect very much from a CFI career (except to enjoy it) but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage a living from it (even though it will probably be a hard beginning). 

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  4. Andy Neumann on Aug 21, 2011

    Don’t foreget that you can make a decent career out of flight instructing at a place like Flight Safety International.  You’re home all the time and you don’t have to worry about all the freelance legwork.  I think the one trait that good career flight instructors have in common is that they really love teaching, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if they are in an airplane, sim, or classroom–as long as they are teaching they are happy.  Do you love teaching?  Are you patient enough to “suffer” along with your students to see them fulfill a goal?  (I don’t mean literally suffer.)  Are you a genuine people person and willing to bend your teaching style to fit individual students?  If so, I think you can make a career out of instructing.  (Also, consider that you may have to move to a place where there is a high demand for flight training!)  It’s good that you are asking these questions early.  Even as a student pilot, train with the goal that you will one day be a CFI.  Push yourself beyond what is required to become a private pilot.  Your instructor will love you if you come to lessons ready to basically teach him/her about what you’ve learned on your own.  Plus, you’ll finish your training quickly and have the confidence to move forward.  Best of luck with whatever path you decide! 

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  5. James MacGregor CFI on Aug 21, 2011

    Also if you are going to be working for others as a CFI, dont let them be lazy and cheap and 1099 you, in the end of that day its a pain in your butt and will cost you more in taxes.
     If you want to carrer CFI, get a job as a CFI with a GOOD company, learn how things work, go out and freelance, build your base up and go from there.
     Should you be able to think out of the box you will be able to make more then working for someone else, but you will be working alot harder.

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  6. CFI Academy on Sep 20, 2011

    I’d rather be 1099ed. But that’s just me.

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