While many people consider becoming an airline or commercial pilot as the ultimate goal for aspiring aviators, there are many other opportunities to fly for work. One alternative way to earn a living as an aviator is to become a flight instructor, which can be ideal if you prefer not to travel far from home and yet want to spend as much time in the air as possible.
Since you will be responsible for the safety and training of others as you set them up for success in the industry, becoming a certified flight instructor is challenging. Even still, it is a rewarding career that will put all of your skills and knowledge of operating aircraft to the test and will give you plenty of opportunities to fly often. If you are keen on earning your instructor certificate, here are some essential facts you should know before you get started.
What Are The Different Types?
If you are a new candidate, you may wonder what qualifications are necessary before you can begin flying with students. You can earn a few different types of certifications that will determine the parameters of your training curriculum and the conditions under which you can fly and provide instruction to aspiring aviators.
- Certified Flight Instructor (CFI): Qualified to provide instruction for operating single-engine aircraft.
- Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII): Qualified to provide instruction for instrument flying and operating aircraft in IFR conditions.
- Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI): Qualified to provide instruction for aircraft with multiple engines.
The extent of your training and qualifications will determine the type of aircraft you can operate and provide instruction for, as well as set the conditions under which you can teach. If you want to fly in IFR conditions or provide instructions for more complex aircraft, you will have to progress further in your training and acquire the requisite certifications that will enable you to do so.
What Are The Requirements?
To become a CFI, there are a few requirements you will have to meet before you can earn your certificate. First and foremost, you must be at least 18 years old and already have a commercial pilot or airline transport pilot license. If you do not meet these requirements, you must wait and qualify for them before you consider becoming an instructor.
Furthermore, you will also need to maintain an up-to-date medical certificate to ensure you are fit to fly and provide instruction, in addition to taking and passing the required FOI and FAA written exams. These tests consist of multiple-choice questions that will test your aviation knowledge and ensure you are ready to instruct others. There will also be a practical exam following the FAA written exam that you must complete before earning your certificate.
What Skills Do You Need?
As a flight instructor, not only do you have to acquire the necessary certifications before you can begin instructing, but you will also need to cultivate the necessary skills to be successful. Flight instructors must have a strong understanding of proper aviation methods and techniques to teach them successfully. Additionally, you must have great interpersonal skills and mathematical skills to provide in-depth training to your students.
What Are The Benefits?
Besides the obvious benefit of getting to fly without having to travel far like you would with an airline, some of the benefits of being a CFI include the opportunity to meet new people, boost your resume, and have a great work/life balance. You may find the opportunity to teach others to be a rewarding experience, in addition to finding it a great way to hone your aviation skills.
Finding the right school is essential for setting yourself up for success in the aviation industry, which is why you should consider Airlink Flight School. Call us today to learn more about our programs or enroll in one!