I am working on renewing my CFI certificate and associated ratings, which are about to expire on Nov 30. It is allowed to complete the renewal process and obtain a new CFI certificate within 3 months prior to the expiration date and still retain the original expiration date (Nov 30 in this case) 2 years down. There are 10 ways listed here to renew a CFI certificate, and at least 9 to renew before expiration. If the certificate is allowed to expire before renewal, then there is only one way; #1, by taking a practical test and get CFI Reinstatement done.
Take a practical test (checkride) – This method is usually used by someone whose CFI has already expired, but in any case, this method is still an available option to renew unexpired CFI certificate as well. Once a CFI certificate expires, you must pass a checkride for any one rating (CFI, CFII or MEI) on the CFI certificate and renew the certificate with all the rest of the ratings as well.
Take a practical test (checkride) for an additional CFI rating – If you do not have all the CFI ratings on your certificate, you can train and pass a checkride for an additional flight instructor rating; this will renew your CFI and associated ratings.
Maintaining and demonstrating via proper documentation, first time pass rate of at least 8o% out of a minimum of 5 recommendations for a practical test in the preceding 24 month period.
Serve as a check airman in part 91, 121, 133 and 135, demonstrating your experience evaluating other pilots may allow you to renew your CFI. Proper appointment credentials and logbook entries can be used to document such experience.
Attending and successfully completing industry sponsored Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC). There are numerous options in this category. One may attend and complete this course in person, or online.
Attending an FAA sponsored CFI workshop. Information and announcements about upcoming CFI workshops are made in most aviation print media, and at www.faasafety.gov.
Participating in FAA Wings program – A CFI may utilize FAA Wings Program for CFI renwal as well. Here are the requirements – (1) be a participant in FAA Wings Program, (2) Provide 15 hours of flight training to other participating pilots (3) Sign off at least 5 other pilots for their phase of this program.
Earn Gold Seal Certification – Maintain and demonstrate that you have over 80% first time practical test passes out of a minimum of 10 recommendations (sign-offs) in the preceding 24 calendar months. This will get you a gold seal and can also be used to renew a CFI certificate once in a life time.
Earn or renew Master CFI designation – Earning or renewing a Master CFI designation (there are 2 different programs for this) can also be used for renewal of a CFI certificate.
Renewal based on duties and responsibilities – In rare cases, an FAA inspector may allow a CFI to renew based on his/her duties and responsibilities within the FSDO’s jurisdiction and FAA inspector’s thorough and personal knowledge of your activities. FAA FAASTeam (Safety Team) Manager in your FSDO should be contacted and consulted.
First published in 2003 by Robert Jex, CFI