what is a driving instructor?

A driving instructor is someone who helps people learn how to drive. When considering this position, you probably picture a high school teacher assisting teenagers. However, there are many different types of driving instructors. Many work outside the educational system and instead work for private companies. Driving instructors may teach various student ages, including teens, adults and seniors.

what does a driving instructor do?

A driving instructor's job is to educate people about safe driving procedures. In this position, you provide both theoretical and hands-on instructions. The classroom portion of training includes presentations, lectures, tests and other assignments that give students the necessary knowledge. Students then practice the instructions in a real vehicle. Instructors teach on public roads as well as driving courses. As a driving instructor, you teach students about the rules of the road, common driving laws, driving safety and more. Your primary goal is to help students pass official driving tests and become safe, licensed drivers. The role requires patience and tactfulness to instruct drivers and teach them at their pace.

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average driving instructor salary

As a driving instructor, you earn an average remuneration package of $47,000 - $80,000 annually. The salary of driving instructors depends on various factors. For instance, the type of students you teach influences your earnings. When you are a driving instructor teaching students how to operate trucks and buses, you are likely to earn more than an instructor for regular cars. Teaching truck drivers and heavy vehicle operators require additional qualifications and skills, which attracts a higher remuneration.

Your employer also influences your earnings. For instance, working for a training facility attracts a different salary than working for a private company. Some industries with specialised vehicles, like construction, logistics or mining, hire driving instructors to improve drivers' skills. When you provide services to a specific industry, you can negotiate a higher salary due to the complexity of the role.


types of driving instructors

The types of driving instructors depend on the organisation they work for. Some of the driving instructors include:

  • educational driving instructor: as an educational driving instructor, you work at a high school or college to teach driving as an elective course. In this role, you teach young students. Instead of focusing on driving, you spend time following typical school procedures like assigning homework or managing students. For this type of instructor, the main goal is teaching an educational course to students in a traditional classroom setting.
  • driving school instructor: as a driving school instructor, you work at an institution that only teaches driving. Instead of training the same set of students throughout a normal school year, you teach longer, more concentrated classes. Over a few weeks or months, you instruct students on everything they need to know to pass driving exams. These students are at the driving institution specifically to get a licence.
  • commercial driving instructor: as a commercial driver's licence instructor, you specialise in teaching students how to operate semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles. You work in driving institutions, just like driving school instructors.
Close up - Smiling male looking away.
Close up - Smiling male looking away.

working as a driving instructor

Working as a driving instructor is an interesting career with various job opportunities. Check out the duties and responsibilities of a driving instructor, including the schedules and work environments.


education and skills

Educational qualifications aren’t mandatory for driving instructors, but you may require the following:

  • pass a full driver's licence test in a manual transmission vehicle, if you haven't passed one within the last five years
  • have held a full driver's licence for at least two years for each type of vehicle you want to teach (including cars)
  • pass an approved driving instructor's course
  • pass a fit and proper person test (police check)
  • pass a medical check if you will be instructing heavy vehicle drivers
  • pass a medical check if you have a medical condition that could affect your ability to drive, if you haven't passed one within the last five years
  • hold an I (instructor) endorsement on your driver's licence.

Self-employed driving instructors, including those contracted to driving schools, must have their own vehicle and full insurance.

driving instructor skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a driving instructor include the following:

  • communication skills: as a driving instructor, you rely on communication skills to explain vehicle features and concepts to students. You also use effective communication to build rapport and calm the students during practical lessons.
  • patience: as a driving instructor, you repeat instructions and driving concepts multiple times for students to understand. You require patience to correct students' mistakes and be calm in every situation.
  • attention to detail: as a driving instructor, attention to detail helps you notice mistakes during practical lessons. When you are detail-oriented, you provide constructive feedback to help students improve their driving skills.
  • ability to stay calm: as a driving instructor, calmness is vital since it helps you maintain composure in stressful circumstances. A calm instructor helps a student with difficulty in manoeuvring and can prevent accidents.

FAQs about working as a driving instructor

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the driving instructor profession.

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