Instructing as a Career?

FAYEV

Well-Known Member
Just wondering if anyone actually does this and whether it's do-able? I've been with a regional for a short time and have come to the conclusion that an airline lifestyle isn't for me. I instructed for about a year prior and, for the most part, enjoyed it. Thinking about going back to it and trying to make a career out of it. I realize it's probably not something that's really gonna pay well in the long term, but it's something I was happy doing and had a great QOL. Would love to end up teaching ground schools and perhaps open a flight school someday, but that would be many years down the road.

Anyone else made a move like this or am I crazy to even consider it?
 

rframe

pǝʇɹǝʌuı
I think if I wanted to be a full-time career instructor I'd want to be at a smaller college flight school, where I would get to see students develop over 1-2 years instead of pumping them through in 3 months, and enjoy the diversity of teaching classroom and different flight programs, and enjoy some stability and benefits.

I think it'd be a tough to grind it out as an hourly instructor with minimal pay and benefits in most locations, but if you can establish a source of other passive income, then that might work.

Or you could try to build up your own school over time, but there's even more risk there...that's basically what I'm doing and similar to the beagle, will transition it to more of a full-time gig when I semi-retire in another 5-10 years.

Longer term, as beagle said, DPE's make pretty good coin for their time, if you're in an area with some substantial training activity, it wouldn't take too many check rides per month to pull in a decent income stream...
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Agree with all of the above. Consider getting special certifications like in Cirrus aircraft and that sort of thing. Best to stay in a high populated area with good weather. I think a guy could find a nice, though. I've always thought about opening an IFR school in Houqiam, WA and teaching people right. Problem is, I really don't want to live there...
 

Cessnaflyer

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Agree with all of the above. Consider getting special certifications like in Cirrus aircraft and that sort of thing. Best to stay in a high populated area with good weather. I think a guy could find a nice, though. I've always thought about opening an IFR school in Houqiam, WA and teaching people right. Problem is, I really don't want to live there...
I would love to do that as well. What is so bad about Houqiam?
 

chrisreedrules

Master Blaster
I have a friend who is a 3,000+ hour chief and wants to open a school of their own. Nothing wrong with it if it is your passion. Its how many of the schools that are around today got started years ago.
 

Chief Captain

Well-Known Member
You're not crazy. If it wasn't for the financial aspect, I could see myself instructing for a very long time. As a career CFI, you're going to need somewhere that will provide you a decent salary as well as benefits. Somebody raised the point of one of the larger universities. They probably have decent benefits, but I don't think the pay is that great.

If you do find a place with a good compensation package, let me know ;-)
 

subpilot

Squawking 7600
International Flight Training Academy. Www.ifta.aero

They are not hiring now but may be very soon. Starting salary in the $50k range and full benefits (medical, vacation, sick, 401k, etc).
 

FAYEV

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the comments. I think I would be more interested in going back to teaching a college environment. Practically a guaranteed stream of students and at the last place, the money wasn't the greatest, but the benefits were decent (free health insurance) and some opportunity for advancement. I just don't think the airlines is where it's at for me. With instructing, there was something new every day and each student was different. Plus, I was home every night and had control over my schedule. I had the shiny jet syndrome and rushed through everything. Regretting that now...
 

Cessnaflyer

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Nothing. Not too far south of where I come from. It's not Arizona, but it's all beautiful in that general area. Always green. Moderate temps. Ocean fronts. You could do worse.
Oh I know. I am originally from Sammamish and my wife and I spend time over there all the time.
 

bb10pilot

Well-Known Member
My dear friend went from a corporate pilot to an independent CFI... charges $70/hr in a metropolitan area at a flying club. She has more clients than she can handle (often pushing them off to other CFIs). She made the move so she could be at home every night. She lives comfortably. Excellent QOL. It took time to build up a strong reputation and build her client base, but she is loving it. She told me today she still absolutely loves flying even after instructing for a decade and a half.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
I think I'm going to have to find one of those metro area flying clubs someday to instruct at!
 

dmahan

New Member
for what it's worth I know eastern kentucky university is looking for instructors. I looked into it but Its not for me. As a starting cfi the pay isn't great but it does go up to something you could live on (I think $22 an hour as an MEI) and you can fly as much as you want based on everything I've heard. Cost of living is next to nothing also.

Just a thought
 
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