At my univ. I believe the instructors make 13/hr regardless of level of instruction PPL/COM/ME etc... at the FBO back home in DFW
area, they pay them 15/hr also regardless of instruction given.. or for ground instruction for that matter.
I hold my CFI/CFII/MEI
ratings, but haven't really used them, except to sign off on some training gave to fellow instructor for high alt. and pressurization endorsements... as far as working full time. YES... you will work your tail off.. If you want -Or- you can work as little as you want, but most instructors are instructors to gain hours to eventually make the transition to the regional airlines.
On a total side note, Regional airlines here in the states are Hiring like crazy!
So Bruce, more directed response to what ya wrote:
"I assume all it takes is learn to fly, get your license, and get your CFI and then you can send out resumes for a job? Flying for an airline would be fun but those job markets are incredibly tough today, so I wonder if this would be a less stressful, cheaper, faster way to work in aviation."
Getting your CFI is a HUGE step in the rating scheme, don't waste your time with it if you want a less stressful way. The statistic I heard at the time I was getting my initial MEI
/ then CFII/ then finished with CFI)... was that the US National pass rate on the first attempt at Initial instructor rating was 20%. And I can attest that the checkride is not a joking matter at all... it can be REALLY long. Mine was really short, 2 hour oral and 1.5 hr flight, but guy I flew with during summer had a 6 hour oral then an hour flight... worst I have heard is one girl that had her oral last 2 full 8 hour days... and they flew the third day for 2 hours.. and the other guy goin for his CFI with different examiner at the same time as me had a 4 hour oral and 2 hour flight.
BUT, if you're up for it.. Do it! It is such an awsome feeling to hold that instructor ticket, total honor and privilage and def teaches you more about piloting than the other ratings really do... as far as the prep needed for the checkride... And thats the game in aviation, Never stop trying to learn new things!
I wish you the best man!