There are several ways to make a career out of flying. Though the most commonly thought-of career option is that of a commercial airline pilot, many students who have received their instrument rating and Commercial Pilot certificate might choose instead to pursue a Flight Instructor certificate and start their career as a flight instructor. There are many reasons pilots might choose to become flight instructors. These reasons include:
Option to move on to work as a commercial airline pilot.The most common reason people become flight instructors is to gain experience. Working as a commercial airline pilot is one of the most coveted positions in the aviation field, and airlines require pilots to have a great deal of experience before the airline will even consider hiring the pilot. Working as a flight instructor is a great way for international students to gain flying experience in order to achieve their ultimate goal of becoming a commercial airline pilot.
Ability to work for yourself.As a flight instructor, international students have a choice: they can either work for an educational institution or open a flight program of their own. This is an extremely attractive option for flight instructors who are more independent and want to work for themselves. With luck and talent, the business will flourish and become highly successful.
Rewards of being a teacher.When asked what they love most about their jobs, the first answer most flight instructors give is the thrill of imparting knowledge to their students. Any teacher or instructor knows the exhilaration of seeing a student finally “get” something that you’ve been teaching them. This is no different for flight instructors. Knowing that you are responsible for another person’s education is extremely satisfying.
Challenging.Working as a flight instructor is extremely challenging. It is said that the flight instructor certificate is one of the most difficult check-rides in all of aviation. While for some international students, this might not be much of a draw, many people who are drawn to the aviation field are looking for a challenge. As a flight instructor, you must be constantly on your toes, and you will certainly never be bored.
High demand for flight instructors.Flight instructors are in high demand at the moment, and are expected to remain so for many years to come. Profound change, prompted by new legislation in the US and by the rapid growth of airline and business aviation, is expected to come to the flight-training industry. One of these changes is expected to be a shortage of pilots. Flight instructors are being hired by airlines faster than they can be replaced, which means that there is currently a need for qualified flight instructors.
Gain experience.It is common knowledge that the best way to learn a subject is to teach it to someone else. This is no less true of aviation. By working as a flight instructor, your knowledge and flight proficiency will increase every day. Teaching other people how to fly is a great way to improve your skills as a pilot.
Highly respected position.Telling people that you are a flight instructor will prompt a great deal of fascination and a number of questions. People will always want to know more about what you do, and will treat you with respect. While this alone is not a good reason to become a flight instructor, it is certainly an added perk.
Meeting people.As a flight instructor, you will meet many people from all walks of life, and they all share one important similarity with you: a love of flying. You will have the privilege of helping both international students and domestic students achieve their dreams of flight, and you will be the one who influences their future in aviation the most.
Salary.In the past, earnings for full-time flight instructors have been fairly limited. However, with the current shortage of flight instructors, pay and benefits for flight instructors are rapidly going up. If you charge appropriately and are good at your job, you can make a very decent living as a full-time flight instructor.
Get paid to fly.The most important and rewarding reason to work as a flight instructor is the opportunity to make a living as a pilot. No one would pursue a pilot’s license if they didn't love flying, and the opportunity to actually make a living doing something you love is an opportunity not many people are lucky enough to have.