Become a Certificated Flight Instructor

If you want to share your love of flying with others, being a certificated flight instructor might be the perfect career path for you! We'll help you understand all the requirements you need to get started!


  1. Gain your private pilot license by enrolling in a flight school or other program with a certificated flight instructor.[1]
    • Complete the coursework successfully and apply for a private pilot license. This means you can fly a private aircraft without pay.
    • You must be at least 17 years old to take part in testing for your private pilot license.[2]
  2. Get an instrument rating.[3]
    • You gain this rating by flying according to instrument flight rules (IFR).
    • This allows you to fly in certain weather conditions such as rain and fog.
  3. Apply for a commercial pilot license.
    • You must be at least 18 years old, have 250 hours of flight time in the air, hold an instrument rating and undergo an additional medical exam.[4]
  4. Seek a flight instructor certificate.
    • Your commercial pilot license and instrument rating must be issued for the type of aircraft with you will be using for teaching prospective pilots.
    • Gain a logbook endorsement from an authorized flight instructor that lists time spent learning the fundamentals of flight instruction.
    • Take and pass a knowledge test for flight instructors.
    • Complete and pass a practical test for flight instructors.
    • Prove that you are able to provide sufficient instruction in the areas of spin entry, spins and spin recovery.
    • Log a minimum of 15 hours of being in command of a pilot.
  5. Receive a flight instructor certificate and begin working as a certified flight instructor.
  6. Sign the logbook of every person that receives training from you.
  7. Do not give more than 8 hours of flight training during each 24-hour period.[5]
  8. Maintain your flight instructor certificate through the renewal process.


  • Flight Instructors are generally called "certificated," rather than "certified".[6] An instructor signs a student's log book to certify that he has passed his solo or some other test. When the student finishes the course and passed the final exam and check ride and receives his license or Pilot's Certificate, he is certificated. When an aircraft is inspected during an annual inspection, the A&P certifies (signs) in the aircraft log book that the inspection was done. When an aircraft has been inspected after being grounded, it is issued an Airworthiness Certificate.


  • Not complying with all of the federal rules and regulations associated with being a flight instructor can have serious consequences. Always stay up to date on news from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Things You'll Need

  • Private pilot license
  • Instrument rating
  • 250 hours of flight time
  • Commercial pilot license
  • Logbook endorsements from authorized flight instructors
  • Passing results on medical, knowledge and practical flight tests
  • Proof that you are competent to instruct others during specific areas of flight
  • 15 hours of time in command of a pilot