How to become a driving instructor

How to become a driving instructor

The main duty of a driving instructor is teaching people how to drive safely. They also teach them how to develop the skills they need to pass during their driving test. If you love driving and like to help people to develop new skills, this could be the right job for you.

To do well in this job you need to have patience of a saint and good communication skill and ability to handle people. A calm and clear approach to teach and the ability to give constructive advice to your clients are required in you.


What do they do?

You can start your career as a driving instructor by examining a learner’s driving knowledge and ability. Depend on your assessment and then you could plan a series of lessons to get your client to a standard where they can take their driving test.

Most of the driving lessons follow a similar rule or pattern of instructions. As an instructor you may teach your clients;

  • To use vehicle controls with confidence
  • The right approach to road safety
  • To operate, turn, reverse and park safely
  • About driving laws and the Highway Code
  • How to deal with emergency situations
  • About basic vehicle checks in emergency situations

You can normally use dual controls in the vehicle to assemble slight adjustments to the learner’s driving. As they become more capable you will take them on to busier roads, dual carriageways and more complex junctions like roundabouts.

You have to give lessons in night driving as well as normal road driving to the people who have passed their test I motorway driving.

You may have to cover driving theory with your clients as well as personal driving skills.

You can choose your career as a driving instructor because of;

  • You may get a chance to make some positive change in your life
  • You become your own boss, as you are self- employed
  • Working flexible hours that suits your lifestyle
  • Meeting new people everyday
  • Being an active part of the community and getting involved with schools or colleges by helping to improve road safety through teaching ‘a skill for life’
  • Enjoying great job satisfaction


Working environment

You have to be prepared to work in every time of a day including the evenings and weekends as your working hours have to fit in around your learner’s need. There may be differences in the amount of lessons booked with you, particularly around Christmas or during the summer because of school holidays.

You have to spend most of your times in the car, sitting in the passenger seat during lessons. Usually one lesson takes one or two hours.


What does it take to become a driving instructor?

Entry requirements - If you want to become a bus driver your first step will be register with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to train as an approved driving instructor (ADI). You must have the following conditions

  • Be aged 21 or over
  • Have held a driving license for at least three years
  • Complete and pass intensified criminal record and motoring conviction checks

The ADI exam is three stages and you must pass all three to qualify;

  • ADI 1 – computer based test in two parts: theory test and hazard perception test
  • ADI 2 – practical test of driving skills
  • ADI 3 – practical test of teaching ability

You have to clear each stage before taking the next one. You can take many times you need to pass the theory test but you only can have only three attempts to pass the ADI 2 and ADI 3 exams. To clear all these section you have to complete stages 2 and 3 within two years of passing ADI 1.

Driving instructor courses are taken by specialist training schools and by driving schools. Costs, course length, content and teaching methods may differ. A list of training providers you may found on the Official Register of Driving Instructor Training (ORDIT) on the department for Transport website. 

If you have passed the first two of the ADI exams you can apply for joining the trainee instructor license scheme. This is not mandatory for you but it gives you the opportunity either to achieve experience of driving instruction when you are being supervised or to do some extra training. This trainee license will be valid for 6 months.

You can join the ADI register and get a registration certificate when you have passed all three stages of the ADI exam, after that now you can display it in your car. Every four years you have to renew your registration. To know the information about how to register for instructor training and how to qualify visit the GOV.UK website.

It is not necessary but if you have some previous experience in a driving or in training it might be useful to you.

Some skills, interests and qualities you need to become a driving instructor. You will need;

  • Excellent driving skills, road safety knowledge and enthusiasm for driving
  • The ability to give clear instructions
  • The capability to adopt your teaching style to suit each learner
  • Patience and good people skills
  • The capability to stay calm and point out mistakes in a constructive way
  • A sense of humor
  • Good observation skills
  • The ability to react quickly and safely to any problems
  • A basic knowledge of car mechanics


Career progression


An instructor who works for full time can earn around £ 18,000 to £ 20,000 in their first year.

Established instructors may earn around £ 25,000 a year and experienced or specialist skills instructors £ 30,000 or more.

Income depends on the cost of the driving lesson and the amount of hours worked. Each lesson may cost from around £ 18 to £ 30 per hour.  You have to pay for car maintenance and other expenses such as fuel.

Instructors who are working through a franchise would usually pay a weekly fee of between £ 200 and £ 300, but be provided with a car. They also have to pay for their own fuel.

Training and development

You have to keep your driving skills and knowledge up to date.

A new grading system for instructions has been launched. ADI standards check has been replaced the old system which graded instructors from 1-6, with 6 being the highest grade. You’ll have to take and pass the standards check once every four years to keep up working as an instructor.

The grades, in which you will be graded in line with your score in the check tests, fall into three categories;

Fail – if you score 0-30 you have to retake the test

Grade B – if you score 31-42 you can stay on the ADI register

Grade A – A score of 43-51 shows you have a high potentiality of instruction and you can stay on the ADI register

The DVSA will contact all instructors with an old grading to organize for a new standards check.

The Driving Association (DIA) is a professional body for instructors and provides different continuing professional development (CPD) schemes, which may help you to progress in your career. These contain the Diploma in Driver Education accredited by Middlesex University, and the DIAmond Special Test for advanced driver- trainers.

Career opportunities

You could begin work with a franchised driving school and eventually you can transfer to self-employment.  Competitions are very high because there is no restrictions on how many instructors can operate in a particular area.

You can specialize in particular areas including advanced or high-performance driving, disabled driver instruction, passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) instruction and Large goods vehicle (LGV) driver training.

You can also become a senior instructor or a driving school manager. The Driver and Vehicle Standards agency (DVSA) sometimes recruits experienced driving instructors as driving examiners.

If you want to become a driving instructor you need to take a criminal record check before applying to the Driving Standards Agency. Follow all the rules you read earlier and if you have done all this than you can apply for your first advanced driving badge.