It’s not an easy task to land your first commercial pilot job as a fresh graduate. Reasoning new graduates have less flight experience, and the airlines are skeptical before hiring these commercial pilots.
Therefore, fresh graduates are looking for ways to gain more flight hours. One way to earn hundreds of flight hours is by becoming a certified flight instructor, CFI.
Although tons of resources are available to become a certified flight instructor, I wanted to share my knowledge online.
In this article, I described:
- How to become a CFI?;
- How long does it take to become a CFI?;
- Is becoming a flight instructor worth it?
Many fresh commercial pilots think that becoming a flight instructor is the easiest way to build hours and apply for an airline job. However, it’s not true. Commercial pilots realize once they begin training for a flight instructor license that it is a challenging occupation.
How to become a certified flight instructor?
Like all other pilot licenses, there are also specific requirements to become a CFI.
To become a flight instructor, one must fly for at least 250 hours.
Assuming you have a commercial pilot license and are willing to become a flight instructor, you must take CFI training.
First, you have to start by taking CFI ground classes. You can either take a CFI ground class in an actual flight school or an online ground class.
With the accessibility of the internet globally, it’s common today to take online classes for pilot licenses.
Once you complete the CFI ground class and get your endorsement to take the exam, you must register for your exam.
To become a CFI, a commercial pilot must take two exams:
- Fundamentals of Instruction exam;
- Certified flight instructor knowledge test.
After you pass the test and have adequate hours to you can apply for a checkride.
Once you take the checkride and the DPE is satisfied with your performance, you will get a flight instructor certification.
Having your flight instructor certification, you can apply for jobs as a CFI in flight schools.
Often it happens that fresh graduates become certified flight instructors at the flight school from where they graduated as commercial pilots.
How long does it take to become a CFI?
The answer to that question depends on who is asking this question. I assume someone who recently graduated as a commercial pilot is asking this question.
A fresh CPL graduate can become a CFI quickly depending on their progress.
There is not much to do to acquire a certified flight instructor license after CPL. The crucial thing to learn is the Fundamentals of Instruction. At this stage, you have adequate knowledge to teach aeronautical subjects to students pilots and train students in actual flights. However, having all the aeronautical knowledge will not help if you don’t understand the process of tutoring students.
Thus it’s crucial to learn instruction techniques to be able to teach student pilots.
Also, if you don’t understand aeronautical subjects sufficiently, you cannot teach students accurately.
Getting a flight instructor license is not difficult for bright students, but if it takes longer for you to grasp knowledge, it will take longer to get your CFI license.
Articulating information to the student in a comprehendible way is the most critical skill for certified flight instructors.
Also, if you have a CPL without an instrument rating, you can only teach student pilots for the private pilot license stage.
Without an instrument rating, a CFI can’t teach for the commercial pilot license stage.
Is becoming a flight instructor worth it?
Many pilots have a passion for teaching, and other commercial pilots choose to become certified flight instructors to build hours.
Either way, it is worth it to become a flight instructor.
In my opinion, if you want to become a flight instructor for the money, then you must not choose this route.
Truly, CFIs earn good money while teaching others to fly the airplane. Nevertheless, merely working for the salary is not sufficient to satisfy a pilot’s need. A CFI must have other long-term goals, such as building hours to meet airline hour requirements.
Airlines in the USA require pilots to have at least 1500 hours of actual flying time before hiring them.
It is not easy to acquire 1500 flying hours, and paying to build 1500 hours is an expensive option.
Hence, it is best to have patience and work as a certified flight instructor. What could be better than teaching other student pilots while they pay you to fly and the aircraft rental fee.
Finding a CFI job is the best route if you aim for an airline job and intend to build hours momentarily. To find a job as a flight instructor, you must get your flight instructor certification.
If individuals want to become flight instructors for a career change, I don’t suggest doing so. Because to obtain a CFI license, one has to pass through several other pilot licensing stages, and it would be a costly career shift.