Would being a CFI be a good career option?

Nicole, a student pilot, recently asked on the Ask a Flight Instructor site, about the potential career path for CFIs. Specifically, she asked:

Hi, I’m beginning my path as a student pilot and I would like to know if there’s is anything like a Flight Instructor career. I know most CFIs are only interested in building up hours to go to a better job, but can anyone live from being a flight instructor? Are there any good salaries or benefits?

James MacGregor CFI responded by commenting that one can make a good living by being a flight instructor and he suggested the book, Savy flight instructor, along with taking a few business and marketing classes at a local community college. James also pointed out that his last flight instructor gig paid him $50 a hour and he had an agreement with a few FBOs and private aircraft owners who did not fly that much and allowed him to use their aircraft at a discount. He also did some advertising on Craigslist, a few mailings, gave out 100+ business cards a month and put up posters or flyers in pilot lounges or tourist stops. However, James did point out that it took time to build up a client base.

Meanwhile, commenter Micah pointed out that to be a CFI, you will either end up working for a flight school as an employee or a contract employee or you will be self-employed where all other considerations such as benefits would be the same as if you owned your own business. However, Micah also added:

I don’t think you should expect very much from a CFI career (except to enjoy it) but that doesn’t mean you can’t manage a living from it (even though it will probably be a hard beginning).

Hence, we want to ask any of our readers who are CFIs, especially in the UK or Europe, about their CFI career path. In other words, would you recommend it? Moreover, have you tried to be a self-employed CFI?


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