Job Market Trends for Flight Instructor Jobs

Once a pilot has completed her Certified Flight Instructor training, she can apply for flight instructor jobs.

Certification

Most positions for flight instructors will require that the applicant has completed Certified Flight Instructor training. According to the FAA Advisory Circular for Flight School Certification, part of the certification process for the school involves testing the knowledge and abilities of the flight instructors, so certified schools will make every effort to hire certified and knowledgeable instructors. In addition, schools will look for instructors that can provide students with additional training, such as flying gliders, by completing additional category privileges.

The minimum requirements to become a certified flight instructor include attaining a pilot’s license, completing the medical examinations, maintaining a logbook and receiving endorsements from other recognized professionals. The FAA's online document "Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors" establishes all of the criteria for ground and flight instructors, as well as the required knowledge tests and additional categories available for flight instructors. 

Job Market for Flight Instructors

Since September 2008, the number of job postings for flight instructors indexed by the search engine SimplyHired has decreased by 33 percent. However, the number of flight instructor jobs indexed by the site makes up less than one percent of the total postings available on this search engine, so a month with even one fewer flight instructor job posted than the previous month can indicate a significant decrease in the number of flight instructor jobs available.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which classifies flight instructors with pilots and flight engineers, the job opportunities in this category are expected to increase by 7 to 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. Flight instructors may supplement their employment by working as pilots or by finding employment with software development firms that create flight simulation software for training purposes.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for pilots employed at technical and trade schools is $83,000 per year. These schools are not the only employers available for flight instructors, and some instructors may make more based on their experience and the number of categories in which they can provide instruction. Some flight instructors either employed by the military or with previous military piloting experience can expect to make significantly more than the average. The top paying states for pilots are Florida, New Jersey and New York.

Based on the salaries provided with job postings indexed by the search engine SimplyHired, the average annual salary for flight instructors is $43,000 per year or approximately $22 per hour in 2010. Not all job postings will provide salary information within the posting, and some instructors will be able to negotiate higher salaries based on their education and experience.

Sources for Flight Instructor Jobs

A vertical search engine, such as Indeed or SimplyHired, provides some flight instructor job postings. These services are especially useful for job seekers who need to find employment in a specific region since the engines include keyword searching with restrictions on geographic area. These search engines collect job postings of technical and trade schools and also find employers that post infrequently, such as software companies that develop flight simulation software.

A niche job board provides job postings specific to the industry. For example, the niche job board Aviation Employment provides job postings for the aviation industry. This site also offers a database of Aviation Schools and Training Programs that the job seeker could use to look for available opportunities.