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Certified Flight Instructor

What Does the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate Allow Me to Do?

A CFI certificate allows a pilot to train individuals and issue endorsements that are required for pilot certificates.  Essentially this certificate gives the holder the responsibility to let the FAA know that an individual is able to meet the requirements to get a pilot license, and let that individual take the required tests. A flight instructor can also perform flight reviews, which are required for any pilot to keep exercising the privileges of each pilot certificate they hold.

A Certified Flight Instructor is equivalent to a Master's/PhD teaching degree. It is not a pilot's license, rather a teaching certificate that must be renewed every 2 years, and requires the most stringent and refined professional attitudes, skills, and further development through your own research and review of the aviation industry. It requires basic teaching skills and basic (101 and 201 type) psychology study during the training. It is the one flight test that must be done by the FAA directly in most areas of the county. Comparatively, a Private Pilot's certificate is equivalent to an Associate's degree, an Instrument rating is equivalent to a Bachelor's degree, a Commercial Pilot certificate is equivalent to a Master's degree, and the ATP is the academic equivalent of a PhD/Doctorate. 

What Are the Requirements for Getting a Certified Flight Instructor Certificate

-Must be at least 18 years of age

-Must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English Language

-Must hold at least a Commercial Pilot Certificate or Airline Transport Pilot Certificate

-Must pass two knowledge tests and a practical test

-Click here to see detailed requirements on earning your Flight Instructor Certificate and scroll down to "Subpart H - Flight Instructors..." 

When Can I Start Classes to Earn My Certified Flight Instructor Certificate?

As mentioned in the requirements, you must hold at least a Commercial Pilot Certificate or Airline Transport Pilot Certificate to become a flight instructor. Having a Flight Instructor Certificate is like having a graduate degree in aviation, as you must demonstrate a very high level of knowledge on various subjects.  Not only do you have to have this knowledge, but you must also demonstrate to an FAA examiner that you are able to effectively teach the material, both on the ground and in the air. Much of the training for this certificate is done by self study and putting together lesson plans and appropriate materials in a binder that you will present during your practical test with the FAA. Although there is no additional flight time requirement, an applicant often does some flight training to learn the appropriate maneuvers from the right seat of an aircraft, and teach them as well. In addition to self study, time will be spent with an experienced flight instructor who will play the role of student while you present various lessons to them.