Becoming a driving instructor is not a typical job that many people often consider. Maybe that’s because it’s not a job for everyone. But when you think about it seriously, it is a great way to make some extra cash if you want to do it part-time, and perhaps even earn a decent living by turning it into a full-time job.
As the job title implies, being a driving instructor is akin to being a teacher of any subject. It’s true that teaching is an acquired skill, but we can say it also depends on the talent to convey the information properly to the student.
Before we take a look at some of the character traits you should possess in order to become a driving instructor, there are certain criteria and tests you need to pass if you are a resident of the United Kingdom, and we will guide you through all of it, step by step.
To register yourself as a driving instructor, you need to be at least 21 years of age. The official title you will be registering for is Approved Driving Inspector (ADI), which is somebody who has been tested and certified by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to instruct learner drivers. Please remember that it is against UK law to charge for driver training services before you are a fully qualified ADI.
Vision and physical exam:
Similar to obtaining your own driving license, first your vision will be put to the test. You will also go through a physical health exam. In some cases, your mental health might also be a factor in getting properly licensed.
As is the case with many job applications, a background check can be carried out, to make sure you have a clean criminal history. This process doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be disqualified to have an ADI license; it all depends on your personal record and the severity of any past crimes.
You will likely have to submit your driving record at the time of application. Too many traffic offences can disqualify you, so your personal history matters here as well.
When you are accepted, the testing for the license itself is divided into three parts, and you cannot move on to another section before successfully passing the one before it.
This part will include passing tests on road procedures, traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians and mechanical knowledge, driving test, disabilities and law, and publications and instructional techniques.
Practical driving test:
You will need to take your practical test within two years of passing the theoretical test, or else your theoretical test certificate will expire.
ADI instructional ability test:
The third part of the process is designed to test your ability to instruct pupils to drive. It is the final test you need to pass before you can become an ADI.
It takes at least six months for most people to complete their ADI qualification. You can click here to find out more about how to pass the driving tests, including various options depending on your personal circumstances, budget and location. A reputable and accredited driving school can also provide you with nationwide franchise opportunities in the long run.
Now that you know the basics of how to qualify for an ADI license, let’s see if you’ve got what it takes as far as temperament goes.
Instructing is pretty much synonymous to teaching, and any kind of teaching requires a great deal of patience. You might have to repeat yourself several times, deal with teens who are more eager to drive faster than safely, or instruct some people who might not always be very polite. You can easily find yourself having to deal with troublesome students. But remember, you will have to keep your calm and be patient with this job. Eventually, you will learn different strategies to handle different people.
Being patient is one thing, and being calm is something else entirely. Learning to drive is pretty scary on its own, and the last thing a student needs is an anxious, nervous or jumpy instructor. Learner drivers can do unsettling things, and you will have to learn to remain calm during such incidents and keep everything under control.
Ability to communicate:
You have to give clear instructions to your students and make sure you’re easily understood. Try to avoid confusing the student in any way. Remember that even though the student is the one driving, you are the one in control. This is an important aspect of being an instructor, and losing that feeling of control can mean losing the trust a student has placed in you, not to mention the potential of facing a dangerous situation while a student is driving.
Wellness of the learner:
We all know what can happen when other drivers see the “Student Driver” sign. It’s as if everyone forgets that they, too, were learning how to drive at some point. You may find cars tailgating you, driving too close to you, and honking at you; all of which might cause the learner driver to panic. Again, you must know that as the instructor, you’re in a position where the student trusts you to help them handle all of this. While it may be a good lesson to learn what can realistically happen on the road, you don’t want your student to get discouraged.
Wherever there are cars, there’ll be a need for driving instructors. If you choose this path, perhaps you’ll be making the world a little safer and better every day, because truth be told, there are a lot of people out there who have the basic driving skills, but not those extra qualities that make them careful drivers. This is usually because they were not taught by professional instructors, so they were never even introduced to good driving habits. As an instructor, you’ll be in an ideal position to fix lots of common mistakes people make when driving, and turn the roads into a safer place for everyone.