How to Become a
Driving Instructor

Young woman driving a car with a male instructor sitting at the passenger seat taking notes

If you’re thinking about pursuing a career as a Driving Instructor, then continue reading. This guide is packed with useful information such as educational and training requirements, valuable resources and more.

What Does a Driving Instructor Do?

First and foremost, Driving Instructors teach others how to safely and effectively operate a vehicle, whether the vehicle in question is a sedan or a semi-truck. Driving Instructors can work at public or private high schools, dedicated driving schools or law enforcement programs.

Additionally, Driving Instructors must have extensive and up-to-date knowledge of the technical aspects of driving as well as the rules of the road in order to impart that knowledge to student drivers. Common Driving Instructor duties and responsibilities include:

  • Presenting lessons in a classroom setting

  • Explaining rules and procedures to a variety of students

  • Providing behind-the-wheel instruction

Driving Instructor Skills

While knowing the ins and outs of traffic law is certainly important, it is also only one part of a Driving Instructor’s skill set. Because it is a Driving Instructor’s job to educate others, they must also be able to effectively communicate with students as well as the parents or guardians of students. And, since each student will be different in their own way, Driving Instructors need to possess great listening and problem-solving skills.

Other key Driving Instructor skills include:

  • Ability to provide clear instructions and feedback

  • Excellent driving skills and technical knowledge

  • Attention to detail

  • Calm and patient demeanor

How Do You Become a Driving Instructor?

Education and Training

According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for Driving Instructors with a high school diploma, GED or equivalent. Generally, no further education is required, except in the case of public and private high schools, which require candidates to have a valid teaching certificate. In order to obtain a teaching certificate, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher preparation program. For more information on teacher licensing and certification requirements in your state, click here.

In all the postings we looked at, employers required candidates to have a valid driving license in the appropriate class, such as commercial, non-commercial or motorcycle. Click here to learn more about the specific license classes in your state. Clean driving records are also required, although the required length of the record varies from employer to employer.

As far as training, some employers will provide training and licensure for you, while others need candidates who have already been trained and licensed. Licensing programs differ by state, but generally require you to complete a driving course and pass a written exam. To find out more about your state’s licensing requirements, contact your nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Click here for a state-by-state DMV directory.

Finding a Job

According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Career and Technical Education Teachers, which includes Driving Instructors, is rising by 4 percent. This will result in the opening of 10,200 new positions between 2014 and 2024. However, this demand rate may be higher for Driving Instructors in particular, since every driver in the United States is required by law to receive some form of instruction in order to receive a license.

Before you start searching for jobs, make sure you have a great resume. For fresh ideas, take a look at JobHero’s library of Driving Instructor resume samples.

Once you’ve finished putting together and polishing your resume, conduct an online job search to see what positions are available near you. Before submitting any applications, however, you’ll want to have a carefully crafted cover letter ready for submission as well. Cover letters are quick way to tell employers about your work ethic, your reasons for applying and your particular areas of expertise. Check out our collection of sample cover letters for inspiration.

Insights from a Driving Instructor

To get an insider’s perspective on how to become a Driving Instructor, we talked to Robert Simmons, the owner of Nevada Driving Schools in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What is the common career path for Driving Instructors?

People who have worked in education or training capacities in the transportation field, military or law enforcement.

What should someone consider before becoming a Driving Instructor?

Candidates must consider the fact that they must complete an 80 hour training course involving classroom instruction, traffic laws, defensive driving and in-car instruction. They must pass the DMV instructor test as part of the instructor certification process. The pay range is $15 to $20 per hour. The ideal candidate is semi-retired or retired and is supplementing their income, or is looking for part time work of up to 20 hours per week.

What type of person excels in this job?

People who excel in driver education have a passion for the job and the have the ability to relate all subject matter to students. The job takes a great deal of patience to be able to handle stressful situations and the different rates of learning by students.

What are some of the most important skills for Driving Instructors to have?

The hardest and most challenging part of the job is multitasking, as the instructor has to be ready to handle any situation that arises. On each day of in-car instruction, the instructor must set up a good foundation for the training lessons. They must ascertain the student’s abilities to determine the course of training for each behind the wheel session. The instructor must create a comfortable and non-stressful environment. The instructor must integrate the traffic laws into lesson plans, so the student will understand the need to follow the laws at all times.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Driving Instructor?

The most rewarding aspect is to see the skill development of the student as they make progress from lesson to lesson, and having a student or parent praise the instructor for a job well done.

How Much Do Driving Instructors Get Paid?

Driving Instructors are typically paid an hourly rate, and often work part time. According to online sources, the median hourly rate is about $14. On the low end, Driving instructors earn about $10 per hour, while the highest paid Driving Instructors receive an hourly wage of about $20.

Driving Instructor Resources

We put together this list of resources to help you continue exploring your career as a Driving Instructor.

Professional Groups

The Driving School Association of the Americas
The DSAA is made up of more than 50,000 driving instructors, as well as more than 8,000 driving schools. Its primary goal is to promote professionalism, safety and effective teaching methods, and it also offers insurance plans, multiple seminars and events and a newsletter.

The American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association
The ADTSEA strives to promote excellent instruction methods among Driving Instructors. It provides its members with a teacher credentialing program, publications, online training and a variety of events.

Driving Instructors on LinkedIn

Driving Instructors
This group of nearly 3,000 members is a great place to seek and give advice, stay up to date on news and connect with a community of Driving Instructors.

Simulator-Based Driver Training
This group of more than 3,500 members is focused on the technological advancements of simulator-based driver training and all the teaching methods which go along with it.

Driving Instructor Books

How to Drive
Written by professional driver Ben Collins, this book is not only useful for drivers but for Driving Instructors who want to give their students the best possible information. It contains tips on everything from safe emergency braking techniques to dealing with difficult weather conditions.

Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do
This book examines driving and traffic patterns from a psychological perspective. Topics such as commonly made mistakes, the cause of traffic jams and smart technology are all explored.