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Working as a Flight Instructor

Flight instructors educate young adults on how to fly aircraft through various methods, including live flight instruction. They develop curricula and instruct the students in a classroom setting, teaching them in various subjects such as aircraft systems, operating procedures, and so on. They earn an average salary of $52,000 annually or $25 per hour.

Flight instructors report on student progress after evaluating and monitoring their performance. They accompany the students on live flights to complete their training after completing the textbook education. Some instructors specialize as examiners or check pilots in a bid o ensure proficiency. They are truly resourceful and patient, with solid communication skills to boot.

Flight instructors generally have either Commercial Pilot Certification or Airline Transport Pilot Certification before applying to be certified flight instructors. They usually need a license for the aircraft they provide instruction for and meet the required number of hours flying that type of aircraft. Since it is a rapidly growing field, gaining experience will serve as an added advantage.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a flight instructor. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.01 an hour? That's $52,026 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -1% and produce -1,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Flight Instructor Do

There are certain skills that many flight instructors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed organizational skills, patience and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a flight instructor, we found that a lot of resumes listed 7.8% of flight instructors included flight instruction, while 7.3% of resumes included flight operations, and 6.9% of resumes included aircraft systems. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the flight instructor job title. But what industry to start with? Most flight instructors actually find jobs in the education and transportation industries.

How To Become a Flight Instructor

If you're interested in becoming a flight instructor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 56.6% of flight instructors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 15.5% of flight instructors have master's degrees. Even though most flight instructors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a flight instructor. When we researched the most common majors for a flight instructor, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on flight instructor resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a flight instructor. In fact, many flight instructor jobs require experience in a role such as pilot. Meanwhile, many flight instructors also have previous career experience in roles such as first officer or captain.

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Average Salary$52,026
Job Growth Rate-1%

Flight Instructor Career Paths

Top Careers Before Flight Instructor

Pilot
25.1 %
Captain
8.8 %

Top Careers After Flight Instructor

Pilot
21.5 %
Captain
15.4 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Flight Instructor

Flight Instructors in America make an average salary of $52,026 per year or $25 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $77,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$52,026

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Stockton, CA
Salary Range50k - 96k$70k$69,746
Norwood, MA
Salary Range50k - 85k$66k$65,955
Seattle, WA
Salary Range53k - 80k$66k$65,632
Tupelo, MS
Salary Range47k - 88k$65k$64,848
Dubuque, IA
Salary Range46k - 78k$60k$60,215
Columbus, OH
Salary Range43k - 80k$59k$59,367
$32k
$96k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Senior Flight Instructor
Senior Flight Instructor
Kansas State University Foundation
Kansas State University Foundation
10/09/2020
10/09/2020
$36,35610/09/2020
$36,356
Advanced Flight Instructor
Advanced Flight Instructor
Kansas State University
Kansas State University
10/07/2020
10/07/2020
$40,15410/07/2020
$40,154
College Laboratory Asst 2-Chief or Assistant Chief or Check Flight Instructor (Helicopter)
College Laboratory Asst 2-Chief or Assistant Chief or Check Flight Instructor (Helicopter)
State of Minnesota
State of Minnesota
07/20/2020
07/20/2020
$38,83907/20/2020
$38,839
Aircraft Flight Instructor-Title 32
Aircraft Flight Instructor-Title 32
Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service
06/28/2020
06/28/2020
$91,23106/28/2020
$91,231
Aircraft Flight Instructor
Aircraft Flight Instructor
Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service
06/28/2020
06/28/2020
$91,23106/28/2020
$91,231
See More Recent Salaries

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Flight Instructor Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Flight Instructor. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Flight Instructor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Flight Instructor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Flight Instructor Demographics

Gender

male

85.9 %

female

9.8 %

unknown

4.4 %

Ethnicity

White

70.9 %

Asian

9.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

9.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

34.8 %

French

11.6 %

Japanese

8.7 %
See More Demographics

Flight Instructor Education

Majors

Aviation
48.8 %
Business
14.7 %

Degrees

Bachelors

56.6 %

Associate

15.8 %

Masters

15.5 %

Top Colleges for Flight Instructors

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

3. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,992
Enrollment
33,495

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

6. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

7. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Public

In-State Tuition
$17,653
Enrollment
16,405

8. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

9. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,101
Enrollment
23,708

10. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Flight Instructor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 7.8% of flight instructors listed flight instruction on their resume, but soft skills such as organizational skills and patience are important as well.

Best States For a Flight Instructor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a flight instructor. The best states for people in this position are California, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Washington. Flight instructors make the most in California with an average salary of $66,544. Whereas in Massachusetts and Mississippi, they would average $65,578 and $65,558, respectively. While flight instructors would only make an average of $65,455 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Michigan

Total Flight Instructor Jobs:
125
Highest 10% Earn:
$103,000
Location Quotient:
1.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Mississippi

Total Flight Instructor Jobs:
20
Highest 10% Earn:
$116,000
Location Quotient:
0.85
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Flight Instructor Jobs:
123
Highest 10% Earn:
$107,000
Location Quotient:
0.84
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Flight Instructor Employers

1. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$51,595
Flight Instructors Hired: 
67+
2. United States Navy
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$48,372
Flight Instructors Hired: 
51+
3. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$41,200
Flight Instructors Hired: 
46+
4. American Flyers
3.4
Avg. Salary: 
$55,916
Flight Instructors Hired: 
39+
5. University of North Dakota
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$44,202
Flight Instructors Hired: 
39+
6. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$105,370
Flight Instructors Hired: 
20+

Flight Instructor Videos

Updated October 2, 2020