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Driving instructor

Driving instructors teach people the skills and knowledge they need to drive safely and pass their driving test.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

To train as a driving instructor, you’ll need to apply through the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) at GOV.UK.

For this you’ll need to:

  • be aged 21 or over by the time you qualify
  • have held a driving licence for at least 3 years
  • be able to read a licence plate at 90 feet (27.5m) – glasses or contact lenses are okay
  • complete and pass enhanced criminal records and motoring conviction checks

The Department for Transport provide a list of training providers on the official register of driving instructor training, sometimes known as ORDIT.

The first step is to pass approved driving instructor (ADI) exams parts 1 and 2. You'll then get a ‘licence to give instruction’ which you'll need before you can legally charge for lessons.

The next step is to pass the ADI exam part 3 and be put on the ADI register.

You'll need to pass a 'standards check' every 4 years to carry on working as an instructor.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to give clear instructions
  • the ability to adapt your teaching style to suit each learner
  • excellent driving skills and road safety knowledge
  • the ability to react quickly and safely to any problems

3. What you'll do

You could work for a large driving school, a franchise, or set up your own business.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • checking each learner's driving knowledge and ability
  • planning a series of lessons to get learners ready for their driving test
  • teaching about road safety, driving laws and the Highway Code
  • giving instruction on the use of vehicle controls, steering, turning, reversing and parking safely
  • demonstrating how to deal with emergency situations
  • discussing basic vehicle checks
  • keeping records of appointments and payments
  • managing your business

You may also give night or motorway driving lessons to people who have passed their test.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £20,000

Experienced: £20,000 - £30,000

You'll charge between £15 to £30 an hour, depending on your location and competitors’ charges.

Salaries vary and are reduced by running costs such as fuel and tyres. If you have your own driving school, you'll need to provide your own dual-control car and pay for repairs and insurance.

If you work for a franchise, you may also need to pay franchise fees of £150 to £300 a week.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may be able to set your own hours, but you'll need to be prepared to work evenings and weekends. In the summer, you could work long hours.

You'll spend most of your time in the car. Lessons usually last between 1 and 2 hours.

You’ll spend time travelling between appointments. You'll need to fit in with your clients’ availability, which may mean waiting around between bookings.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and training you could move into specialist areas like training disabled drivers. You might also train drivers of passenger carrying vehicles, large goods vehicles (LGV) or emergency services vehicles.

GOV.UK has information on professional development and on joining driving instructor associations.

If you're highly experienced, you could become a driving examiner.

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Last updated: 12 May 2017