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How Do I Get a Flight Instructor License?

By K. Reynolds
Updated May 17, 2024
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In order to obtain a flight instructor license a person will first need to have a commercial pilot license. The requirements to acquire a pilot license will vary from country to country, but once obtained, a person will then be eligible to get a flight instructor license. Individuals who have a commercial pilot license will need to take a flight instructor course in order to be in a position to gain a flight instructor license. The flight instructor course normally consists of both ground and flight training courses and is designed to educate pilots on the nuances of training students to perform various flight techniques and maneuvers. Upon obtaining a flight instructor license, many instructors will be rated based upon their skills and training, with each rating specifying the parameters in which the instructor can operate.

There are many requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to obtain a flight instructor license. In order to instruct other aspiring pilots, flight instructors must have either a commercial pilot certificate or a transport pilot certificate. The requirements needed to obtain these licenses are universal worldwide, as agreed upon by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). To obtain a pilot license, candidates must be able to read, speak, and write English as well as successfully pass a variety of written exams. After successfully obtaining a valid pilot certificate, individuals will be ready to pursue a flight instructor license.

In the United States, those looking to get a flight instructor license will need to complete approximately 50 hours of flight training as well as over 40 hours in ground training. Upon completion of the class, aspiring flight instructors will need to successfully pass two written examinations on the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) as well as a practical test. After the examination has been successfully completed, those looking to obtain a flight instructor license will be eligible to qualify for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Instructor Certificate.

After acquiring a flight instructor license, each instructor will have numerous sub-qualifications and ratings which will determine the capacity in which he or she can operate as a flight instructor. In Canada, flight instructors are classified in one of four classes. Instructors who are rated as Class 1 instructors have different privileges than those who are rated Class 4 instructors. New Zealand also has a similar rating system as the flight instructors in this country are rated in categories ranging from Category A through Category E.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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