Advice for CFI Training

Hi everyone, I currently am a student at ATP and just started crew. I have no passion for becoming a CFI and don’t feel like it would be a good path for me. I plan to join RAVN Alaska right after I finish school to gain hours and I really enjoy the idea of what they have to offer. I just wanted some advice on if CFI is worth the time and effort if I never plan to use it. Currently 23 so loosing a year of seniority isnt the end of the world for me if it takes a bit longer to gain those hours.

Side Question- How much does ATP charge for CFI training overall and how much of that will i be able to get back if I do decide to not continue beyond Commercial Ratings?


While some pilots do actually enjoy instructing I think the majority don’t and simply do it as a means to an end. That said I believe you’re making a mistake. First off the CFI training at ATP is exceptional and since you’re required to know EVERYTHING for the CFI checkride it really wraps up all your training in a very cohesive manner. Second whether you enjoy it or not there is no better way to hone your skills than instructing. Students will challenge your skills and knowledge like nothing else and you will inevitably be a better pilot for it. Another thing to consider, if for some reason RAVN doesn’t work out and you have some difficulty finding a back up there are ALWAYS flight instructor jobs to be had, provided you have the ratings. Lastly if you ever want to get into the training dept at an airline, many like to see that you’ve instructed before. ATP’s program is very well known in the industry and there are thousands of their pilots at the airlines. If you were being interviewed for a Check Airman slot and they saw on your resume you trained at ATP but didn’t get your CFI what reason would you give? Would you state what you wrote above “I have no passion for instruction and didn’t think it would be a good path”? There’s a reason the vast majority of pilots build their time instructing and it’s for all the reasons stated above. That all said it’s your decision.

As for the cost there is no CFI program cost per se. If you resign from your training ATP will give you a credit for the balance of your flight hours. But keep in mind again, if for some reason RAVN (or whatever plan) doesn’t work out or you change your mind a few months down the road, ATP will not reinstate you back into the program. You resign you’re done.

Again totally your call but I would give it some serious thought. You can never know too much or have too many ratings.



I think that getting your CFI is incredibly valuable and that you will learn a lot from the experience. I also think that teaching other people to fly is one of the best experiences that you can have as it really helps to cement your own skills. That being said, it isn’t for everybody.

Losing a year of seniority is a huge deal and could end up being the difference between you someday being an international wide body captain or not, amongst many other things. I would think twice about any path that lengthens the amount of time it takes you to get to the Airlines.

You will need to contact the admissions department or student support for specifics on price differences if you do not continue your flight training through the CFI.



I think being a CFI makes you a better pilot. Choosing not to be a CFI is your call. Some people aren’t cut out for it. I know a couple of people that opted out of ATP’s CFI program. They are still flying, but they have not been as successful as their peers that went on to become CFIs.

You should have received signed copies of the flight school agreement on day one. The last pages explain what happens if you opt out of CFI school.


Question for the mentors… forgive me while I try to wade through my thoughts.

While becoming a CFI is no doubt very valuable, what are your thoughts on the risks of busting that check ride? I believe I read that initial CFI Checkrides have a first time pass rate of only about 40%. That is not exclusive to ATP of course - just an overall average. With Major Airlines being the pinnacle of the business and the ultimate goal of many commercial rated pilots, and knowing they take busts heavily into consideration when making hires - how much weight should be given to that risk?

I guess more simply stated: If I ever have the opportunity to interview for a job with an airline, they likely aren’t going to ask me why I never became CFI rated, but they would ask me about a CFI check ride bust.



I have a couple of thoughts. This question has been asked before and it usually causes me to go into one of my rants but I’m trying to be a kinder, gentler mentor. My first thought is you’re right checkride busts are never a good thing however as you pointed out since more bust than not there are quite a few pilots out their with at least one. Interview panels generally have pilots on them, pilots know about the CFI bust rates and if that’s all you have it really won’t be an issue (provided you own it and don’t start pointing fingers and saying how you were “robbed”). If you’ve had other busts prior now you’ve got a concern.

Now here’s where I usually lose it. I have a fundamental problem with any pilot who’s more concerned with their career progression than being a better pilot. Flying planes is cool. It’s fun, you get to see the world, and get paid very well to do it. As far as I’m concerned it’s the greatest job on the planet. BUT, we can never forget if it wasn’t for those warm breathing bodies in back most of us would be working at Walmart and we as pilots accept a HUGE responsibility for keeping them warm and breathing. Now if a pilot really doesn’t enjoy instructing or doesn’t think they’re good at it and therefore wants to go another way, while (as I said above) I think that’s a mistake, it’s not a decision based on fear. BUT, if someone opts out because they’re afraid they can’t cut it or may bust well then why should I feel comfy with that same pilot flying my family? How about that same pilot says I don’t want to be a “statistic” and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be the best pilot I can because it’s more than just getting to wear Ray Bans at work. Ok, that was a little rant but I’m trying.




While that is a good point, I also don’t think that the airlines will be terribly concerned if you have a checkride failure somewhere along the way, just don’t make a habit of it.

I think that there is real value to being a CFI and that those benefits far outweigh any risks of a checkride failure.


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