Why Do So Many Pilots Become Flight Instructors?

Posted: May 11, 2021 | Author: Jaidyn Crookston | Read Time: 6 minutes

SUU Aviation planeDid you know that it’s extremely common for newly licensed pilots to become flight instructors right out of flight school? You may be wondering what the next step is after flight school, and for many pilots, that next step is to become a flight instructor.

There are many reasons why so many pilots choose to instruct others, some of those reasons are below.

Build Your Flight Hours

The biggest reason pilots choose to become flight instructors is to build their flight hours while getting paid. In the aviation world, it’s extremely important to have plenty of flight hours. Most high-paying pilot jobs won’t hire a pilot unless they have at least 1,000 flight hours. But you’ll only graduate flight school with around 200 flight hours. Clearly, there’s a gap here that needs to be filled. As a new pilot, you’ll need to find a way to build your flight hours, which can take a couple of years. This means getting a lower-paying job with a company that will hire low-hour pilots. Flight schools are one of the few places that will hire a pilot right out of training with only a few hundred flight hours.

Continue Your Education

Another main reason many pilots become flight instructors is that they’re pursuing a bachelor’s degree. If you attend a university flight school, you’ll be qualified to work as a flight instructor after getting your associate degree. But many students want to continue their education and get a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree. By working as a flight instructor while still in school yourself, you can start your career, earn money, build your flight hours, and still qualify for financial aid and scholarships, which will give you more time to pay back any loans you may have taken out.

Sharpen Your Skills

You learn better and sharpen skills when you teach techniques to others. Teaching others is one of the best ways to ensure that you always remember something and are able to do it throughout your life. That’s one reason why new pilots choose to teach other students these techniques before they get a job flying helicopters or airplanes for another company. Many students find this extra step and training very helpful and beneficial throughout their careers.

You Love Teaching

Another reason you may choose to become a flight instructor is that you loved your experience in flight school and want to help other students have a similar experience. Of course, building flight hours is probably a big factor on top of this, but teaching other students and giving back to the flight school is definitely a bonus.

You Love The Location

Maybe you love the location of the flight school and aren't quite ready to leave that place for your career. In this case, you can stay in the same place, fly around all day over the area, and still earn money, build your hours, and start your career.

You Want To Build Connections

Many pilots choose to become flight instructors because they want to become closer to other pilots and continue learning from their peers. While teaching, you can build relationships with your coworkers and students and make connections with other companies partnered with the flight school. Maybe you haven’t quite figured out what you want to do for your career or what company you want to work for, so you want to work as a flight instructor while you figure things out and build a plan. This is a perfectly acceptable way to approach flight school and flight instruction.

Another strategy for being a flight instructor is not to be a flight instructor at the flight school you trained at, but to work for another flight school. This will help you build more connections and expand your professional network. It would also be beneficial to work for a flight school that flies different aircraft than you learned to fly. If you can get flight hours in several different aircraft, you’ll be a better pilot and will know how to handle and fly more aircraft that may be needed throughout your career. This is a smart way to build your hours, strengthen your skills, and get experience in more aircraft. Keep in mind, though, that it may be more difficult to get a job at another flight school because you won’t have the same connections there and the hiring committee won’t know firsthand who you are.

Should You Become a Flight Instructor?

All of this certainly doesn’t mean that you have to become a flight instructor or that it’s the only way to build your hours. In fact, there are several options for new pilots to build hours and begin earning money. Being a flight instructor is just one of the more popular options. You can also get a job flying for tour companies or other places that hire pilots with fewer flight hours.

Learn more about how to build your flight hours as a new pilot.

Being a flight instructor isn’t just for new pilots, either. Many pilots who have been working for years and have an established career choose to become flight instructors. Many established pilots become instructors because they’re looking for a change, want to settle down, are ready for a more steady, regular schedule, or want to teach others about what they’ve learned while flying airplanes or helicopters. It doesn’t matter why or when you become a flight instructor, your knowledge and experiences are valuable and will help many other students begin their own careers.

This also doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to get a job working as a flight instructor at your own flight school or at another. Flight schools have a limited number of instructor positions available, of course, so not every graduating pilot will be able to work there. If you go into flight school knowing that you want to stay after graduation and be a flight instructor, you should do everything you can now to boost your chances of being hired. This includes becoming close to your own instructors and faculty members, showing that you’re dedicated to flying and teaching, getting good grades, and putting yourself out there. You can make your interests clear early on and this may mean that those in charge of hiring pay more attention to you and may give you a better chance.

If you have any questions about why so many pilots become flight instructors or how to become one yourself, feel free to contact SUU Aviation. SUU Aviation is one of the leading flight schools in the nation and loves to hire graduating students as flight instructors. To learn more about this program, you can request information or come in for a tour. We would love to see you and help you decide what career path is best for you.

Produced by SUU Aviation
The university's fleet includes 16 airplanes, 23 helicopters by the end of 2020, and state-of-the-art maintenance training facilities. SUU Aviation offers advanced and relevant flight training in the safest and most efficient way possible. The program continues to be on the cutting edge of the industry, training tomorrow's aviation leaders. To learn more about building your flight hours or to learn more about the school, contact SUU Aviation

Tags: College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Aviation

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