Real Answers from Real Pilots

CFI Hours

Hey all,

I am curious as to how a CFI gets all of their hours in, and the actual length of time that takes. Speaking with some of the students at the Mesa location, the pay is not very great, and not very many hours are logged. (I think the CFI said he was full time and made less than 12K for one full year, if I remember properly) How exactly can a CFI get more hours is possible? Once you agree to be a CFI for ATP flight school, do you have any option to leave and perhaps instruct for another school? Does seniority play any role here?

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions, I apologize for any possible miscommunication.

Kind regards,


Not sure who you spoke to but currently ATP instructors average about 75hrs a month. Additionally I made close to $20k/yr instructing for ATP 13yrs ago when the pay scale was half (and ATP currently has instructors making over $30 with incentives). Here’s a link to a thread Instructor Pay at ATP by Yarden (a recent grad/current Regional pilot) outlining the current pay scale and stating he averaged 100hrs/mos. At the current average of 75mos most instructors build their time in about 1.5yrs or less.

That all said ATP requires no contract and if you’re not happy or can do better you can of course leave at any time. I would keep in mind a primary reason many people train with ATP is the guaranteed instructor position. If the money and time building potential was so poor I doubt anyone would care or want to instruct for them.


Thank you Adam,

I appreciate the feedback, the CFIs that I spoke with just did not seem happy with their pay, or the hours that they were logging when I visited the school. Do you know if that 75hrs/mos is putting in weekends, and extra days? Or is that just the normal mon-fri 8-5 time frame that ATP says students do? So if I were to instruct on weekends as well, would I get more than the average 75?


From what I’ve been told that’s the average working the regular shift. Yarden (and others) have said if you fly weekends you’ll be closer to the 100hr mark. As for the rest I know Capts making $300hr who complain about their pay. We’re pilots and pilots LOVE to complain :slight_smile:



Haha thank you Adam, I appreciate it!