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I would like to know about the whole step-by-step process to become a ground instructor in the US.

My understanding is that any previous pilot or CFI certificates are not needed. So, are only needed the FAA written tests (FOI/BGI/AGI/IGI)? And that's it? What about endorsements?

After passing the FAA written test, do I need to submit an application in the IACRA system to request the card, or it is done automatically?

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You may want to check out this document from the FAA also linked in that document is this document which may shed more light on the matter

The general qualifications for an Instructor Rating require you have a combination of experience, knowledge and skill. Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61 requires that pilots must be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. If you cannot meet these requirements of English fluency, an airman certificate cannot be issued. For medical reasons, an appropriate limitation may be placed on the certificate.

You must pass the Fundamentals of Instructing Knowledge Test and a Flight or Ground Instructor Knowledge Test specific to the instructor rating sought. You may take these tests on the same day, and you do not have to take them in any particular order. An instructor rating obtained by passing the Military Competence Instructor (MCI) exam does not require the candidate to take the Fundamentals of Instructing (FOI) exam.

When applying for any additional instructor rating, you are not required to take the Fundamentals of Instructing Knowledge Test again. Once you have acquired a Flight Instructor Certificate, you are eligible to give ground instruction required for a Pilot or Instructor Certificate or rating, based on the ratings on your Flight Instructor Certificate. Because of this, it is not necessary to obtain a separate Ground Instructor Certificate since you would already have these privileges.

AskACFI breaks it down nicely here.

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Yes, you need to complete your FAA Written Tests - FOI (if you're not already a CFI) + the particular GI test (Basic/Advance/Instrument).

You do NOT need any endorsement or sign-off to take the written test. Just study, schedule and attempt the test. +70% is all you need. The testing center proctor will only need the basics from you (ID/Address Proof).

After passing the written test, you need to start an IACRA application (Instructor > Ground Instructor > Standard). Then, you have two options:

  • Go to your local FSDO office (they'll most likely need an appointment). Once you're there, the person on-duty (Aviation Safety Inspector or otherwise) will be able to process the Ground Instructor certificate for you. You'll receive a temporary certificate to be able to exercise privileges, and the card will be mailed to you just like any other FAA Certificate. FSDO will do it for free. However, the drive and the long-waiting times can be the "cost" to do this.

OR

  • Get in touch with any DPE that you know, and they'll do the same thing as the FSDO. However, they might charge you. I did a couple of checkrides with a DPE and he was happy to process the my IGI/AGI for free since he was doing a checkride for someone else and I just met with him for a few minutes after he was done with the checkride. I've seen some DPEs charge $200 to do this (ridiculous!).
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