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How do I Become a Driving Instructor?

By Merrilee Willoughby
Updated May 17, 2024
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The path to become a driving instructor is relatively straightforward with slight variations in requirements depending on where the instructor will be teaching. There are usually national or local regulations regarding what is required for certification and it is best to check with the local motor vehicle department for details. In the United States, each state has its own set of requirements that usually involve taking a certification course and passing an exam. Often, these courses must be recognized and approved by the jurisdiction granting the certification so it is always best to confirm the applicable requirements before enrolling in any program. Many areas also require that an applicant have a high school diploma, meet a minimum age requirement, and have a driver’s license.

Driving instructors typically provide instruction both in the classroom and behind the wheel. As a result, potential instructors should be capable of teaching in both group and one-on-one settings. Additionally, instructors should be comfortable working with a variety of personalities.

Patience is also a key qualification for someone wanting to become a driving instructor. Since students will frequently make mistakes as they are learning to drive, an instructor should be equipped to handle these situations and offer guidance. Given the safety issues inherent in learning to drive, a calm demeanor as students learn to drive is also very important.

Employment opportunities for someone wanting to become a driving instructor are usually found at private driving schools. These schools may have their own job requirements in addition to those mandated locally so it is best to check with a school directly before applying. In some cases, an individual might decide to work as a freelance driving instructor. This would additionally require the ability to manage a business and in some areas, a specialized independent driving instructor's license. Opportunities are also available for instructors at high schools and sometimes community colleges; however these positions may require a college-level degree.

Some instructors specialize in instructing students how to drive specific types of vehicles such as trucks, commercial vehicles, or buses. Other instructors choose to focus on teaching technique classes like defensive driving, driving in extreme conditions, or even race car driving. To become a driving instructor in one of these specialized areas, a driver’s license for the appropriate class of vehicle and additional certifications will likely be required. The local motor vehicle department and driving school would be able to provide further information regarding qualifications for these types of positions.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon69652 — On Mar 09, 2010

This is quite a simplified article. If you are considering becoming a driving instructor in the UK, do more research for detailed information and help.

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