Each year thousands of people register
with driving schools, from enthusiastic 17-year-olds eager to gain that
all important official driving licence to mature people who have decided
to get themselves on the road. In short, driving tuition is a service
that'll always be in demand. So if you feel that you are a competent
and safe driver, enjoy working with people and like the idea of teaching
for a living, then becoming a driving instructor might be the ideal
career path for you.
As a driving instructor you will teach complete beginners how to drive
safely on the roads, assist them with learning the Highway Code and
lead them to Driving Test level. As each pupil has different strengths
and weaknesses you will have to possess the ability to adapt your teaching
methods to suit all students and develop a programme suitable for each
individual. You will need to possess good communications skills, have
a tolerant disposition and be happy to work on a one-to-one basis. You
should also expect to work unsocial hours because many people will want
to take their lessons either in the evenings (after work or college)
or at the weekends, so do bear this in mind before going ahead.
How to become a Driving Instructor
In order to work as a paid driving instructor
you will have to undergo and pass the Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
examinations, which once qualified will certify you as a Driving Standards
Agency Approved Driving Instructor, otherwise known as an ADI. These
examinations were set up by the DSA to ensure that people who want to
learn how to drive are receiving an approved standard of tuition. However,
there are pre-requisites in place for proposed trainees, and these are:
- You must have a full UK or European Union / European
Economic Area unrestricted car driving licence for at least 4 years
- You must over 21-years of age.
- You must be able to read a standard car number
plate from a minimum distance of 90 feet (27.5m).
- Have no driving endorsements on your licence.
- Have no present or past criminal convictions of
any kind. A Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance check will be
If you meet the above criteria you may apply for training.
The DSA examination consists of three tests:
1. A theory test
2. Practical test of your driving ability
3. Practical test of your driving instruction
All three examinations must be taken in the above order and completed
within 2-years of having passed the initial Theory Test. If you fail
to complete the tests within this specified time you will have to start
again at the beginning. DSA specifies that you can only have a maximum
of three attempts at each examination. If you fail then you will have
to wait until the end of your 2-year period before reapplying.
Sounds good? It's all too easy to go into this thinking
that it's a doddle and that you'll make heaps of money for working whenever
you like. But the truth is that it's not easy to qualify. The exams
are tough and demanding and the success rates are not that high. So
do think about this carefully before you part with any money or give
up your present job. Below are the pass rate statistics taken from the
Pass rates for each part during 2009-10
Part 1 - Theory 50%
Part 2 - Driving ability 52%
Part 3 - Instructional ability 34%
Many driving schools
offer training. Each school offers different packages at varied prices,
and they can be quite expensive. It's advisable to contact a few companies
and compare packages and costs before committing to a course.
Most qualified driving instructors are self-employed,
either running their own business or on a franchise basis with a Driving
School. If you choose to go it alone you will need a car that complies
with driving school regulations, i.e. your vehicle must have dual controls
and be in excellent condition. In addition to this you will have to
do your own marketing and find your own pupils. Franchising with a Driving
School works very well for most driving instructors as part of the deal
includes a well maintained, approved car as well as marketing and administration
services, which means they find your students and deal with all the
admin side of things. For this deal you will have to pay a weekly or
monthly franchise fee.
Top driving schools boast earnings of between £30/35K per annum.
However, as you will be able to set up your own work schedule your salary
will vary, depending on how many hours you put in. With pupils paying
between £15.00 and £25.00 per hour for a lesson, it is estimated
that driving instructors earn in the region of £600.00 per week,
and often more. (correct at time of publication August 2010). Do bear
in mind that as you will be self-employed you will have to account for
your own costs - i.e. your franchise fee, petrol, tax and national insurance.
You will also have to budget for holiday pay and time off sick. Find
out more about Tax here.