How Much Does It Cost To Become A Flight Instructor?

Approximately $20,000 - if not more! There are several costs to consider when becoming an instructor. The first is that of the Certified Flight Instructor Course, which costs on average $8,000-$10,000 at the time of writing. 

You then must take the CFII add-on course for approximately $5,000 in order to be able to train students for their own Instrument rating. Likewise, if you want to be able to train your students in multi-engine aircraft, then you’ll want to take the MEI add-on course also, which is another $5000 or so.

There are no rules stipulating you must do the second two in order to teach, but the majority of students will want the most qualified instructors possible to get the best bang for their buck. As such, it’s in your best interest to do all three courses.

Plus, if you haven’t got an FAA 3rd class medical certificate, then you won’t legally be able to serve as the pilot-in-command during instruction sessions; if you’ve already keenly been logging PIC hours then yours will probably be up to date. If not, that’s another cost to consider!

You should already have your Commercial Pilot License and Instrument Rating, but remember that these are also requirements before you are eligible to earn your CFI status. Every item must be ticked off the list to proceed!

Certain academies will allow you to take out student loans with them in order to take on the CFI courses, which can be helpful if you don’t have the money as a singular lump sum. Do your research to find out which training school is best for you.

Remember, the price of every CFI academy is different, and they break down the reasons for their prices in different ways. Be sure to do your due diligence and seek out the best deal for you, without compromising on quality, of course!

How Much Does A CFI Rating Cost?

Earning your Certified Flight Instructor status can only be achieved by attending a Federal Aviation Administration certified CFI academy. Prices vary depending on where you attend and complete your course, but you’re looking to pay at least $8,000 for the first CFI course.

If you would then like to be able to serve as pilot-in-command and bestow students their Instrument Rating, you’ll then want to do the CFII add-on course, which is approximately $5,000 - some academies charge more, and others less.

Likewise, if you fly multi-engine aircraft and would like to tutor students to fly in them, then you’ll need to study the Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI) course, which again can be either side of $5,000.

In order to be as qualified as is physically possible right now, it will cost you upward of $20,000. As already mentioned, the second two courses are not required in order to work as a certified instructor, but students will seek out the instructors with the best qualifications. It makes sense to get all of them if you can!

Shop around and try to locate the best possible deal for you - bear in mind that if cash flow is tight, some academies offer a student loan program that enables you to repay course costs over time, at an agreed rate.

Remember: before you are able to seek out your CFI rating, you need to have fulfilled the following criteria:

  • At minimum 250 logged hours (or 190 hours studying Part 141) in total flight time
  • Currently hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate (or ATP - either ASEL or AMEL) and valid Instrument Rating
  • Also have an in date FAA 3rd Class Medical Certificate (or above)

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Flight School?

Six or seven figures, at least! As you may imagine, the cost of starting your own flight school is extensive and far surpasses that of the average business startup. Aircraft are costly, as is maintaining and storing them, and that’s just the beginning!

Not only are you going to need to pay for an office to run the business out of, but also a learning environment or indoor classroom space for theory lessons - it’s not all about logging those flight hours, remember! If it’s not buying those outright, then it will be monthly rent, so calculate your first twelve months and prepare to pay that upfront.

After that, it’s buying your own planes and hangars - this is where things really start to add up. You want decent quality aircraft for a successful flight school, so it’s important to get the best of the best, though you could save some money by shopping second-hand from reputable sources.

Then you’ll also need to consider both liability and property insurance for yourself, staff, and students, and that’s not even getting started on fuel and salaries for everybody! As you can see, there are thousands, if not millions of dollars in costs.