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View Full Version : CFI Yearly Gross Pay

02-21-2015, 04:21 PM
I'm just about done with my CFI training and will be searching around for work. Just wondering what people made at the year's end and also where you instructed? I know it varies by location, but would like a figure nonetheless. Also, if you could suggest any great places to instruct? Much appreciated!

02-21-2015, 04:23 PM
Most places between $20k and $30k / year.

02-21-2015, 06:59 PM
Varies by schools, some of the pilot-mill type like Trans Pac and others can pay decent if you stick around, you can be making 40K in a couple years, but the QOL can be pretty bad and they try to abuse you. You end up working 6 days a week and long hours. Some of the bigger universities like UND, ERAU and a few others have a better QOL and not quite as much abuse, while retaining the same or higher pay. When it's just a small 141 school or part 61 school, all bets are off. A lot of it comes down to what you see as billable time and making it worthwhile for the student, rather than only "charging for engine time". Some things are inherently unethical, like charging for ground time during lunch at a destination or while the student is preflighting while you aren't there with them, but on the other hand it's easy to shortchange yourself. If you're supervising preflight because you are physically there, you should be teaching something, checking the plane yourself, doing something, etc, and that is billable time. The biggest issues usually turn out to be places that want to to show up and work for free for much of the day, essentially treating you like a "contract employee", rather than getting paid for all the time you are on property and doing work.

02-21-2015, 07:06 PM
i made about 17k last year, full time.

Steve McCroskey
02-22-2015, 10:56 AM
I made about 17k working full time for part time pay (thanks Obama!). I made my schedule 100% of the time and would either find someone else to fly with my student or tell them to take a day off whenever I felt like taking a break. That being said I probably worked 40 hours a week for 25-30 hours of pay because I try to help my students out with the costs and not bill them for every thing and sitting around between flights (and flight time = the real pay you are looking for). One of the worst paying CFI jobs off the bat but I don't regret anything because of the flexible schedule and how much you have control over your life. Plus not having many foreign students was a stress reliever. Overall, great program but most CFI hires are internal since the program requires a CFI to graduate and most students enjoy the experience.

I was after getting time fast while not overworking myself. 18 months and about 1000 hours with 6 months of that working another job before I dedicated my time to flying.

02-25-2015, 08:53 AM
Stay away from ATP. I worked there for less than a year as a way to build some time. They are a horrible flight school for a lot of reasons, but specifically as an employee you can expect:

- You will be paid with a 1099, you are a contract employee.

- They might fire you at the drop of a hat. They need instructors to leave ATP so the next group of brand new instructors who are sitting in the call center can start instructing. They have a whole flow program going from students to instructors and it's crucial for them to keep that flow going.

- I flew my butt off and struggled to consistently gross more than $2000/a month. In one month I literally did not take a single day off.

- Since you're being paid with a 1099, you'll be forking over more in taxes at the end of the year.

- You will be working with instructors who have no idea what they are doing. I've seen student pilots solo without endorsements.

- Don't offer your opinion, they don't value it. If you disagree with something, you'll probably be shown the door. No I'm not kidding.