Importance of flight school choice as a new CFI


Well-Known Member
I'm at a flight school now, one that has ceased hiring instructors for now so it looks like I will be looking for a job at FBOs when I finish. I have also considered changing to another flight school, one that is less expensive, offers more multi time at a faster pace, but hires a fair number of its graduates. In all cases, my expectation is to find and instruct at an FBO at home-anything better is a bonus. My main question, to those who can answer from experience, is this: If I am a newly minted CFI, and I walk into the chief pilot's office looking for a job, how much will it really matter that I went to a large, well-known academy-type school versus a smaller, less formal Part 61 school? It would seem that this would have the most impact at the beginning of my career, as later jobs will depend on my experience, not where I went to school. I've been to a fair number of places that know what flight school I am attending, and most of the chief pilots I have met give me a business card, a handshake, and suggest I call them when I am done. Am I getting the warm reception because of the uniform I wear and the "known quantity" training it represents, because of my personality and professionalism, or are there other factors? Being in this environment it is difficult to get a perspective from the outside.

I've read through probably hundreds of posts here on Jetcareers and other boards, and have seen both sides: "the airlines like to see a structured training program", and the opposite position that "it does not matter, ratings and time are more important," to the pragmatic "right place, right time, right ratings, right attitude." Is ACA or AirNet or Jones Charter Service really going to care where I went to flight school?

Some of the larger schools, along with some of their students and instructors, maintain that a good flight school adds "resume impact." I'm just trying to judge what that is worth in today's aviation economy where competition for a CFI job can be formidible.

Thanks guys....
The only place I can see a structured curriculum that only an academy offers would be going for all varieties of the CFI.

Otherwise, it really doesn't matter where you go.
I graduated from the school PSCRAIG is attending and let me say it does have its benefits when looking for a CFI job. I have had three job offers since graduating, two of which made refernce to my school and the excellent training it provides to CFI applicants.

One of the two jobs was an interview offer that I am currently working on. The Chief Pilot has told me on numerous occassions that he knows the skill level and quality of CFI training at the above mentioned school is second to none and he loves hiring graduates of that school. My interviw is pending completion of my CFI-I next week and a successful evaluation flight with the Chief Pilot.

So PSCRAIG, think carefully before you switch schools. The CFI program is second to none. At times I feel more qualified as a CFI than the CFI-I that is doing my CFI-I training at the moment. It is expensive, but well worth the money. It does stand out on your resume despite what anyone on JC says including Doug (sorry Doug!). If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a PM on JC. Good Luck!
Plus, things might be turning around...the aforementioned mystery school
had 11 CFI's get hired out in the last month and will lose probably 10-12 more in the next 2 weeks due to internships at various centers. Plus, there are 4 or 5 waiting to hear back from Chatacqua (sp?) and every CFI from the mystery school that has interviewed there (save one) has been picked up. That's 30 guys in 2 months! It's not pretty for any of us, but that ain't bad!

No, not Comair. While I appreciate the responses so far, I am hoping to get some opinions from outside the Vero area. I agree that the CFI training is excellent, almost overkill-but I am attempting to gauge how much it will help me get a job somewhere else.

I agree that some CFIs have been hired recently, but they had mega-hours and started here back when business was good. There also aren't that many CFIs here with that amount of time, so it may slow down. The people who are starting out as CFIs now have it much worse-I can do the math, and I know I would need another job to be able to eat.

Another consideration is the 800-hour CFI contract. Assuming I was hired and called back 12-18 months later, it will still take 2-3 years to fulfill my contract. If and when a turnaround occurs in the industry, the last place I want to be is tied down to a contract somewhere. Since we are now talking about 2007-2008, I suspect the industry might have improved by then. Flight school enrollment won't necessarily increase when the industry experiences an upturn.