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How To Become A Certified Flight Instructor (CFI): Requirements, Training & Benefits

If you’re looking for an exciting career training others how to fly airplanes, then consider going through the right CFI training program to become a flight instructor. With a certified flight instructor (CFI) designation, you’re able to get paid to teach students how to safely and effectively operate many different types of aircraft. Whether it’s small airplanes and private pilot licenses for hobbyists or for those pursuing a lucrative career in the commercial space, you’ll be exposed to a variety of flying scenarios and become a master pilot yourself.

So, if you’ve always wondered how to become a CFI, here are some of the requirements you’ll need to meet, lessons to expect and benefits of graduating from such a program – let’s take a look.

What Is A Certified Flight Instructor?

A certified flight instructor, abbreviated as CFI, is the person who teaches the operation of single-engine aircraft flying in the United States. There is also the title of CFI-I, or “certified flight instructor – instrument”, who teaches instrument flying. Even further, some choose to pursue a multi-engine instructor (MEI) certificate, the highest of the three where you teach students on larger, more complex aircraft. 

Many pilots decide to get their CFI, CFI-I or MEI rating in order to make money while building flight time for more lucrative positions at places like an airline or corporation. Beyond this, however, becoming an instructor is an exciting, rewarding adventure where you’ll impart your knowledge to other enthusiastic individuals like yourself – all while getting to do what you love best: flying!

CFI Requirements

There’s technically no specific time requirement to become a flight instructor after you obtain a commercial pilot license (CPL). A CPL requires at least 250 hours of flight time under Part 61 requirements and 190 under Part 141, broken down into several sub-categories like cross-country or instrument flying, for example. 

There are other requirements that come along with a CFI rating, like:


  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have logged at least 250 hours of flying time.
  • Hold a CPL, airline transport pilot license (ATP), single engine – land certificate (ASEL) or multi-engine – land (AMEL) rating, as well as an instrument rating (IR).
  • Hold a valid FAA third-class medical certificate (or higher).
  • Receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor.
  • Pass a knowledge test on required aeronautical knowledge areas inline with the flight instructor rating.

Benefits Of Becoming A CFI

There’s nothing quite like a day in the life of a CFI. With so many job benefits, you’re about to enter into a rewarding new career. Let’s take a look at some benefits of becoming a CFI to help get you excited to start the training process.

Make Good Money Flying

Depending on where you live and who you work for, you can make a higher-than-average wage in most CFI jobs. In Minnesota, for example, the average salary is almost $47,000. And, the top 10 percent of earners in this job category make almost $75,000, so there is a lot of potential depending on how much training you can accomplish. With more advanced certifications and ratings, the more earning potential you have.

Build Flying Hours

One of the most common reasons why pilots pursue flight instructor certification is to increase flight time and build experience. The most advanced certifications, like ATP licenses, require a high number of hours in order to be eligible for employment. Not only can you contribute CFI hours to ATP hour requirements, you’ll gain unmatched experience as you learn to fly a plane from the passenger’s seat.

No Specific Time Requirements

If you prefer learning at your leisure, you’re sure to enjoy the CFI training process. There’s no specific time requirement to become a flight instructor, so the time it takes to graduate is completely up to you. Whether you want to get it done in a few weeks or in a year, there are programs to suit every learning style.

Rewarding, Challenging And Exciting

Overall, a career as a CFI is a rewarding, challenging and exciting career path. Every day is a unique opportunity to help others grow as better, more competent pilots. You’ll gain both work experience, and maybe even more importantly, life experience. It’s all possible with the right CFI training!

Start Your Training Today – Contact Our Team Of Instructors

Looking for a reputable CFI school? Get in touch with our team of professional instructors at Inflight Pilot Training today!

 Inflight is a leading certified flight instructor training facility in Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a variety of training programs and a deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help you become a professional pilot in a timely, affordable and effective way. We can help you realize your dream of taking off in a new career – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.