Driving Instructor Careers

How to become Driving Instructor

What does a Driving Instructor do?

A driving instructor’s job is to teach people to drive safely and to prepare them for their test.

The instructor introduces the pupil to the controls and the basics of driving, but the rest of the lessons are usually held on the road with the learner driving the car and carrying out manoeuvres. Before the lesson, the instructor plans a route. During the lesson, they monitor the learner, the road and other vehicles very carefully. The car will have dual controls so that the instructor can stop if necessary.

They teach general road craft, including knowledge of the Highway Code. When the pupil is ready for the test, they apply for a driving test date.

The driving test has recently changed to include questions about checking fluid levels and tyre pressures. There is also a separate theory test. Part of a driving instructors job may be to prepare learners for these parts of the test.

Instructors who are self-employed are responsible for keeping their own paperwork.

Specialist Instruction
Some instructors may specialise in particular area of driving instruction. This could be advanced or high- performance driving, tuition for passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) or large goods vehicle (LGV) driving. They might also be asked to assess newly recruited drivers before a company takes them on.

What's the working environment like working as a Driving Instructor?

Working hours vary and can often include weekends and evenings. Part-time work is possible.

Most of the instructor’s time is spent in the car, driving to collect pupils and then sitting in the passenger seat during the lesson.

What does it take to become a Driving Instructor?

To be a driving instructor you should:

  • have excellent driving skills and enthusiasm for driving
  • be able to give directions and tuition clearly and concisely
  • be able to adapt your teaching style to suit all kinds of pupils, such as nervous learners
  • have patience and good interpersonal skills
  • be able to stay calm and point out errors in a constructive way
  • have a sense of humour
  • be able to react quickly and safely to any problems
  • be able to assess when not to intervene and when to encourage the learner
  • have a basic knowledge of car mechanics for explaining the use of gears, steering and so on.

Driving Instructor Career Opportunities

Nearly all driving instructors are self-employed, but may start off by operating within a franchised driving school.

They may also work as a specialist instructor for a large commercial transport company or a bus and coach operator. The police, fire service, ambulance service and the armed forces employ their own driving instructors.

The main career progression is into self-employment, which means they need to own and maintain a dual-control car. Because there are no restrictions on how many instructors can operate within an area, competition can be intense.

There may be opportunities to become a senior instructor or a driving school manager and the DSA occasionally recruits experienced driving instructors as driving examiners.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Driving Instructor that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
ADI Branch
Stanley House
56 Talbot Street
Tel: 0115 901 2618
Starter Pack Orders: 0870 121 4202

Driving Instructors' Association (DIA)
Safety House
Beddington Farm Road
Tel: 020 8665 5151

Concorde House
Trinity Park
B37 7UQ
Tel: 0121 635 5520

Facts and Stats:

    60 per cent of people remember a good teacher, compared to 75 per cent who remember a bad teacher. Sting used to be a teacher (be still your beating hearts, girls). An actual answer from a GCSE question paper read: "The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths, A myth is a female moth."

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