How to become a driving instructor

How to become a driving instructor is what we’re looking at on this page.

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.

I have been in the driving instructor industry for over 20 years, have taught over 1,000 learners to drive and trained hundreds of instructors through my YouTube videos which have had over 10 million views.

Big changes are planned for the driving test in 2024 that will affect all learners and instructors. Read the details here.

Use the links below to learn a lot about being a driving instructor. You can see these links and many more in the “Instructors” tab in the main menu.

How to become a driving instructor

You need to read the official DVSA guidelines to become a driving instructor. It’s remarkably open and honest; much more so than many driving schools are!

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 enough unless you have a disability and will be 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.
  • Be able to pass an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. This used to be 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.

This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other things you need to take into consideration.

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. That’s if you fly through everything the first time which is unlikely.

There is often a waiting time of 3 to 6 months for part 2 and part 3 tests depending on where you are in the UK. It’s unusual for people to pass either of those tests the 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 2021 to 2022 was from 19% to 27% depending on the test centre. The low figures are mainly because of so many people being poorly trained. The pass rate for ADI part 3 was only 9% in Bodmin!

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.

Wayne, who wants to become a driving instructor, takes a learner driver test to see what it’s like

Driving instructor exams

To become a driving instructor you’ll need to pass three difficult tests.

Advanced theory – ADI Part 1

Advanced driving – ADI Part 2

Test of ability to teach – ADI Part 3

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’ll have to do another part 3 test within six months of qualifying. You must take a standards check (the part 3 exam) every 2 to 4 years from then on.

Once you qualify the standards check/part 3 will keep coming back to get you!

Running your own business

There is also a 4th part to being a driving instructor and that is 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 find 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.. 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 become a driving instructor

Click here to apply to become 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.