Do you have a passion for safe driving? Do you want to help young drivers reach their full potential, encouraging them to drive safely while also helping improve the overall safety of the roads? If these things characterize your drive and passion, then a career as a driving instructor may be a good fit. Here is how you can get started, and what you might enjoy in this career path.
Requirements for Driving Instructors
Driving instructors have minimal education requirements. You don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree or advanced training to become a driving instructor. You do need a clean driving record. Also, most states require a high school diploma or equivalent.
To start on this career path, you’ll need to research the licensure requirements in your state. In most states, this means you will need to complete a driving instructor training program. The duration and cost of this program varies, but you can probably find it at your local community college, vocational school or government driving agency.
During this program, which can last a few days to a few weeks, you will learn the state’s driving laws. You will also be taught strategies to use to teach young, inexperienced drivers. This is valuable information because knowing the state’s laws and passing them on to other drivers are quite different.
In some states, you will be required to go through the training program you plan to provide and receive certification from it. This, in conjunction with your training as a driving instructor, completes your re-education requirements.
Obtaining a Driver’s Instructors License
Next, you need to obtain a driver’s instructor license. This requires your completed education requirements, a criminal background check, and a driving history check. If these pass the state’s requirements, then you will be able to apply for licensure. As long as your background checks don’t create an issue, you will be given your driver’s instructor license once your application is approved.
Where You Can Work
So once you have the proper licensure, you are ready to start training new drivers, but first, you’ll need to find a place to work. While you could, in theory, start your own driving instruction firm, that’s going to be difficult because most parents of young drivers are hesitant to trust a name they don’t know. Instead, you may wish to partner with driving schools, insurance companies or government agencies that provide driver instruction training. Apply to one of these agencies to find work.
What Employers Want to See
So how can you tell if you have the skills that driving schools want to hire? Some of the skills and factors that driving schools are looking for in their instructors include:
- Clean driving record
- Multitasking skills
- Good communication skills
- Good organizational skills
- Patience with inexperienced drivers
If you have these skills and are willing to tackle the necessary training, you have a good future in the driving instructor field.
Potential Income for Driving Instructors
The income for driving instructors varies significantly based on experience, the local market, how many hours the instructor works, and whether or not the instructor works independently or with a company. The pay range falls between $24,000 and $56,000 a year, so this is quite a bit of variety.
Benefits of a Career as a Driving Instructor
So why should you consider pursing a career as a driving instructor? First, this field has minimal educational requirements to get started. With just a few courses and the proper licensure, you can start a new and rewarding career! And yet, it brings quite a bit of job satisfaction: taking a student who has never been behind the wheel of a car and transforming that student into a skilled driver is very rewarding.
This is a career that is in high demand. Every state around the country needs driving instructors. It’s also a career field where self-employment is possible, though it may be harder to find clients without working directly for a firm. Finally, this is a career that has some flexibility in hours. You don’t have to work 9-5, and most likely won’t need to work this type of schedule as that is when students are in school. This means many people can add a driving instructor career to their existing career for supplemental income on the evenings and weekends.
What are the Difficulties of a Driving Instructor Career?
Of course, no career is perfect, and there are some potential drawbacks to pursuing training as a driving instructor. While for some the flexible schedule and irregular hours is a benefit, some prefer more standard hours. This career is often part-time, so it may not be possible to attain a full-time income with it. The average salary is often lower than national averages for other fields. There is a high accident risk when you are in a car with an inexperienced driver.
That said, for those who have a passion for safety on the road and love young people, a career as a driving instructor is a great choice.
Potential Specializations in Driving Instruction
While most people think of driving instructors as those that partner with local high school students to teach young people how to drive safely, there are a few specializations within this field that are worth considering. For example, driving instructors can choose to train on commercial vehicles and non-commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicle training includes semi trucks, ambulances, buses and similar types of vehicles. You will need to study and qualify for each class you wish to teach, which is determined by your state.
Non-commercial vehicles provide additional training on safely driving cars, SUVs, trucks, minivans, and motorcycles. This can be beneficial in states that require motorcyclist training before licensure. By adding this specialization, you can add motorcycle instruction to your list of services and increase your potential income.
Whether you choose to specialize or simply focus your efforts on training young people to be the best drivers they can be, this is a field that has a high demand. Start your training today, and in no time you’ll be ready to provide driver instruction to the next generation of drivers.