How to become a driving instructor
If you’re thinking of becoming a driving instructor I recommend you spend time reading through my website. It will give you an insight into what the job is REALLY like.
These links can also be found in the “Instructors” tab in the menu above.
- Learn the truth about income, working hours and many other elements of the job
- The good and bad points of being a driving instructor
- Things training companies often “forget” to tell you
- Learn the truth about ADI pass rates and your chances of making it
- Scams used by driving instructor training companies (reading this could save you thousands of pounds!)
- Jargon used in the driver trainer industry and what it means
Next, you need to read the official DVSA guidelines to becoming a driving instructor. It’s written by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) who conduct all the driving tests for both learners and instructors. It’s remarkably open and honest, much more so than many driving schools!
The above document is much more detailed than my points here but what it boils down to is that to become a driving instructor you must:
- Have held a full UK manual driving licence for 4 years with no points. Automatic licences are not allowed unless you have a disability and want to become an automatic instructor.
- Be aged over 21.
- Be able to read an older style car number plate (such as A111 AAA) from 27.5 meters away or for a new style plate (AA11 AAA) from 26.5 meters away. That’s because the font used on newer plates is very slightly smaller than on the older plates.
- Be able to say the word “stop” clearly and immediately. People with stutters or stammers are not usually allowed to become instructors because of this.
- Be able to pass an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. This used to known as a CRB or criminal records bureau check.
- Know every single road within at least a 5 mile radius of where you live and be able to plan routes in your head instantly, avoiding junctions that the pupil couldn’t handle (don’t worry about this one too much, you’ll learn it on the job).
- Get on well with people and be personable.
- Be able to run a small business successfully. Even if working at a driving school you will be self employed and need to keep financial records. Don’t worry about this, we all learn as we go.
How long does instructor training take?
It usually takes around 12 months to train to become a driving instructor. It will take an absolute minimum of 6 months to complete your training and that’s if you fly through everything first time which is unlikely.
There is often a waiting time of 3 to 6 months for part 2 and part 3 tests depending where you are in the UK. It’s unusual for people to pass either of those tests first time so you can spend a year just waiting for the exams.
It’s an insult to me when people ask if I can train them in a month. If I could teach you how to do everything I do in a month then there would be no skill to what I do and I wouldn’t be doing it!
The pass rate in Birmingham for part 3 in 2017/18 was 21.6%. That’s largely because of so many people being poorly trained by companies selling training to make money, rushing into tests and then rushing into another after failing.
You only get 3 attempts at part 2 and part 3. If you fail the third time then you have to wait until 2 years after the date you passed part 1 before you start the whole process again.
Driving instructor exams
To become a driving instructor you’ll need to pass three difficult tests.
Part 1 – Advanced theory
Part 2 – Advanced driving
Part 3 – Test of ability to teach
These tests are all conducted by the DVSA, that’s the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. They are a government body that conduct all driving tests for learners, instructors and anyone who wants to gain a driving/riding licence of any kind.
Once you have passed these 3 tests you’ll be given an ADI badge which gives you the right to take money in return for driving tuition. Only ADI’s can do this by law which means that anyone who wants to learn to drive properly and professionally will have to come to you.
After the exams
You don’t just qualify and get left alone. The standards check/part 3 (same thing) will keep coming back to get you!
Running your own business
There is also a 4th part to being a driving instructor – running your own business. This is a vital part because without it you’ll never succeed as an instructor and will be one of many instructors that quits the job within months of qualifying.
I’ve always found it stupid that so many training school and colleges are happy to just get you through the 3 DVSA exams and then drop you right in at the deep end when you have no idea how to survive as an instructor. Ask any questions about paying income tax, book keeping or self employment and they don’t want to know.
All driving instructors are self employed, there’s no such thing as an instructor who works for a driving school. Even if you work with a big school you’ll still be responsible for running your own business, paying your own tax, booking your pupils in and taking payments.
Taking your first steps to being a driving instructor
That link will take you to the official DVSA site and guide you through the process.
If you’d like to train with me then contact me to arrange ADI training.