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What Type Of CFI Training Program Should I Pursue?

If you’ve always wanted to get paid to fly, then a CFI training program should be the next step you take in the pilot certification process. Certified flight instructors are given the opportunity to teach others the art and science of flying aircraft, contributing to their own flying experience while getting paid at the same time. 

So, if you’re interested in starting a career as a flight instructor, here are the three main types of certifications you can achieve – let’s take a look.

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)

A certified flight instructor, also known as a CFI, is someone who’s responsible for teaching others how to fly single-engine aircraft under visual flight rules (VFR). In this position, you’ll have such job duties like developing or following a curriculum around the private or commercial pilot licensing process, training students in both the classroom and cockpit on the basics of flying, preparing students for FAA tests and checkrides, and assisting with client relations.

CFI Requirements

Before you can become a CFI, you must meet a number of requirements, including the following:


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

Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFI-I)

A certified flight instructor – instrument (CFI-I) designation makes you eligible to teach student pilots how to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR). As a CFI-I you’ll be tasked with the duty of helping students achieve their IR, normally the step taken directly after a private pilot program or concurrently with the commercial pilot certificate.

CFI-I Requirements

To obtain an instrument add-on to your CFI license, make sure to complete the following requirements:


  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a valid FAA third-class medical certificate (or higher).
  • Finish a CFI training program.
  • Pass the instrument flight instructor knowledge test.
  • Receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor on the areas of operation required for an instrument flight instructor.
  • Pass the instrument flight instructor practical test.

Multi-engine Instructor (MEI)

A multi-engine instructor certificate, or MEI, is the highest of the three instructor designations, allowing you to teach on more advanced, larger aircraft. The biggest advantage of having all three CFI, CFI-I, and MEI ratings is that you can train single-engine, multi-engine, and IFR students to build your time faster and in a more diverse way toward an ATP certificate.

MEI Requirements

Before signing up for an MEI program, make sure to complete the following prerequisites. Remember, it’s not necessary to hold a CFI or CFI-I to begin MEI school, but is highly recommended in order to provide the most comprehensive training structure.


  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a valid FAA third-class medical certificate (or higher).
  • Hold a CPL, ATP or multi-engine certificate.
  • Complete ground training through the Multi-engine Practical Test Standards.
  • Complete flight training, completing all necessary maneuvers from the right seat and within the parameters of the Practical Test Standards.

The Best CFI Programs Craft Competent Aviators

In the end, you should pursue the CFI training program that best meets your goals as an aviator. If you just love to fly and want to make some extra money from the cockpit, a simple CFI license may be best for you. If you have dreams of pursuing the highest levels of certification and the most prestigious jobs, advancing through an MEI is probably a smart decision. 

No matter what you choose, have fun and fly safe – best of luck with your CFI training!

We’ll Help You Become A CFI

Looking for a reputable CFI school? Sign up for our flight instructor training program today! 

 Inflight is a leading certified flight instructor school 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 or call (952) 698-3000.