Are there better available Pilot jobs besides instructing for ATP?

I met someone who graduated from ATP, instructed out of a few different locations, then quit ATP Instructing to take a better paying corporate flying job in Wisconsin that doesn’t require the 1500 hour rule like the airlines. He also picks up a few extra bucks by instructing at a small part 61 school where I did another discovery flight with.

He’s primarily building his 1500 hours through a better temporary pilot position for a different business. He warned me about pay and benefits with ATP as an instructor, so i’m bringing this important issue to you all.

Are there a decent amount of other Pilot jobs are out there besides corporate that someone with only a couple hundred hours graduating out of ATP could get? What kinds are these, and I might as well add on an additional personal question:

Did you or did you know any fellow instructors back when you were with ATP that ‘struggled’ to make a decent living on their own; is it heard of for an ATP instructor to work a side job in something else under tough circumstances?

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First off no, you would not be able to hold a side job while instructing at ATP. ATP instructors need to be there to support their students. You wouldn’t like it if a session took long, or you needed to move a flight due to weather and your instructor said he couldn’t because he needed to get to his other job. As for other flying jobs sure there are some out there but not many. There are small cargo ops, small corporate gigs, traffic reporting, banner tow, cropdusting, forest service. The jobs are out there but many are seasonal or temporary and inconsistent. Definitely worth looking into but again there aren’t many “better” that I’m aware of.


My flight instructor that did my private was hired with a company that provides crew to corporate/smaller private jet aircraft. While he makes a salary comparable to ATPs instructor compensation, $30-$40 a year. While it seems like a good gig, much of his flying is a flight to somewhere, waiting around for a day or two, and flying back. It would be pretty good for pay and lifestyle, but if you are only building time that would be a very slow way to do it.


That has been exactly what I have seen with entry level corporate jobs. Furthermore, even when the airplane does move typically only rhe pilot in the left seat flies it, especially if the “principles” of whoever they are flying for are on board. In those types of jobs you get really good at working the radios, making rental car reservations, getting catering and washing the airplane. None of that is why I became a pilot.


I wouldn’t say that I struggled as an instructor, but I certainly wasn’t living high on the hog either. I was able to pay my bills and have a little left over. It is important to remember that a flight instructor is an entry level position and is paid as such. Although I have to say that ATP’s instructors are, at least in my opinion, paid rather well as far as CFIs go. What is more important than CFI pay is that it is the fastest route to the airlines and that is what matters.


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