How To Become a CFI – Training, Certificates, and More
From fledgling cadet to CFI, training to be a commercial airline pilot has many steps, all of which AeroGuard is here to support our pilots with. This time on the blog, we are looking at CFI training, what it takes to become one, and more.
But before we go much further, a reminder, AeroGuard is always hiring Certified Flight Instructors, so if you already meet the requirements and are looking for work, head on over and get ready for your interview! Our CFIs are salaried employees with full benefits, vacation, holidays, sick time, and more. Not too bad of a gig while you rack up those hours!
CFI Training, What You Need, What You’ll Do
A Certified Flight Instructor, or CFI, is one possible career option that pilots choose for many reasons. As a hobbyist pilot, training new cadets independently can be a great way to stay up in the air. For most, it’s the most reasonable way to accrue flight time while working their way to a commercial airline pilot.
CFI’s need to be at least 18 years old, able to speak, read, and write English and hold one of a variety of pilot certificates. While you won’t actually need a 3rd class medical certificate to act as a flight instructor, you do need one if you are acting as pilot in command or performing any other duties as a crewmember. Since many are trying to accrue necessary flight time for advancement, you’ll want to keep your medical certificate up to date!
Take the Tests
To get the CFI certificate, prospects need to take two exams: the FAA Certified Flight Instructor Knowledge Exam as well as the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) Exam. The FOI exam focuses on teaching strategies, the fundamentals of the learning process, training best practices and the like. Getting a study guide for these exams is highly recommended. The knowledge exam will cover a wide range of topics including instruments, single and multi-engine planes, and more.
Note: To become a CFI with AeroGuard you’ll also need to get the CFII and MEI certifications.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’re new to teaching or instructing, it might not likely be second nature to you – not everyone is an educator. But anyone who has mastered their skills can pass along that know-how, it’s just about finding your way to do it. You’ll not only want to practice your teaching methods but practicing your own skills is crucial too.
You know what checkrides are, so don’t get too nervous. This is time to get another instructor to sign off on your ability to practice as a CFI. You’re not just testing to show your own piloting capabilities, you’re also being tested on your abilities as an instructor. With that in mind, follow all your best practices for a job interview, be professional, dress appropriately, and behave as if the examiner is a cadet – meaning explain everything.
Now you can take all that info and go out and become a CFI! Or, if that all seemed a little overwhelming coming straight out the gate there’s another option for you! Join up with AeroGuard and start training today! After 8-10 months you’ll be ready to become a CFI, training new cadets and accruing that crucial flight time to move on to the big leagues.
Now, what if you’re already a CFI? Training isn’t what you need. You’re ready to get hired on in that role! Here’s what those first steps look like.
What’s the Interview Like?
If you’re already a CFI, then prep yourself for an interview, review your regulations and standards, and reach out today! At AeroGuard the interview process usually consists of a few key things. The interview, which can be conducted over Skype or in person, a prospective CFI will teach a topic, say steep turns, answering questions on flight planning – that kind of hands-on stuff. Of course, the standard interview topics are touched on, background, experience, so if you haven’t interviewed for a job in awhile you might want to brush up on it.
Should you make the cut, the process begins to get you onboarded and integrated into the AeroGuard. You will go through a 2-week standardization process, ensuring you can fly and teach to our standards. You want to be the best, and we want the best out of our CFIs. Just like our students, we give our CFIs as much support as possible to make sure everything goes smoothly.