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How to become a driving instructor
As long as you are aged 21 or over, have held your driver’s license continuously for more than 3 years and pass the enhanced criminal record and motoring convictions check, you are eligible to become a driving instructor. If you meet the criteria above, the next step is to register with the Driver and Vehicle Standard’s Agency as an approved driving instructor.
Once registered with the DVSA, you need to pass the ADI test, which is broken down into three separate sections.
- ADI Test Part 1 consists of multiple-choice theory questions and a hazard perception test
- ADI Test Part 2 is a practical driving test, which will assess your driving ability
- ADI Test Part 3 is a practical driving test, assessing your ability to teach the driving syllabus
You are required to pass each section, before progressing onto the next test, however, after completing the second test, you are able to apply to become a trainee driving instructor. A trainee instructor license permits you to teach while supervised, it lasts for 6 months and it allows you to gain valuable training experience.
Driving instructor training
To pass the overall ADI test, you need to receive coaching from either a driving school or a professional driving instructor trainer. You have a range of training options at this point and you should pick a driving instructor training course that matches your budget and preferred method of practising once qualified. The cost of your training course ranges between £2000 and £3000 and several large national driving schools provide the tuition. Read our driving instructor training guide for more information
Approved driving instructor standards checks
To ensure all driving instructors offer a high standard of driving tuition, the DVSA requires all instructors to be assessed through the approved driving instructor standards check. The ADI standards check measures your teaching ability and you must pass the check once every four years, to maintain your status as an approved driving instructor. You need to complete the checks, irrespective of whether or not you own a car, or are currently practising as an instructor. The objective of the test is to ensure you meet the national standards for driver training.
The ADI standards check is graded as follows;
- 0-30 is regarded as a fail
- 31 – 42 is a pass
- 43 – 51 indicates that you are a high-quality driving instructor
You have three attempts at passing the standards check and if you fail at the third attempt, you will be removed from the DVSA’s ADI database and required to take all three ADI tests again, to acquire your training license.
Driving instructor salary
Before deciding to become a driving instructor, it is natural to wonder how much you can expect to earn per year in this career path. Your earning potential varies depending on whether you decide to join a franchise or operate independently and it is also heavily dependent on the location you plan to operate in.
Prospective instructors should factor in the cost of the training, maintenance of your vehicle and any fees owed to the franchise, should you decide to join an existing driving school. On average a driving instructor can expect to earn upwards of £19,000 a year once fully qualified, with this figure rising depending on your experience and whether or not you choose to complete further training. For more information, read our driving instructor salary guide.
Driving instructor insurance
To offer driving lessons as a qualified driving instructor, you need to ensure you have the correct insurance cover to do so. All instructors are required by law to be insured and the type of cover you opt for depends on your needs and preferences.
If you plan to teach young learner drivers over 14 years old, you will need specialist off-road tuition cover to do so. Some policies provide you with dual controlled courtesy car cover if you are involved in an accident that you were not at fault for, while other plans come with multi-vehicle cover enabling you to teach in more than one vehicle. For more information read our driving instructor insurance guide.
Driving instructor lesson plans
Visual aids are an important part of learning to drive and they help both you and the student visualise the topic you are teaching. You should have a lesson plan for each subject and contained within this plan, should be a set of pupil handouts that can be given to your students to help reinforce what they have just learnt. You can also use the handouts as homework for students too, which will help cement the previous lesson’s learnings.
Driving instructor associations
Once you have qualified as a driving instructor, it is a good idea to join one of the existing national driving instructor associations. These associations are a great source of knowledge and advice, they are run to enhance the profession and they will ensure you remain abreast of any changes and updates that could affect your day to day business. Read our guide for more information on driving instructor associations.