Careers in Driving Education

Research what it takes to become a driver's education teacher. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Driving Educator Do?

As a driver's education teacher, you will instruct drivers, mostly young, on different aspects of driving, from general road rules to defensive driving techniques. Some of this instruction will occur in the classroom, where you will use textbooks, lectures, videos and worksheets to teach students about driving laws and decision-making strategies. In addition, you will accompany students on the road to assist them in practicing their driving skills. Because driving laws vary between states, the number of hours dedicated to each topic depends on your location. It is important to note that, while many driving educators provide basic courses for first-time drivers who want to become licensed to drive standard vehicles, others offer licensure preparation courses for those who want to drive non-standard vehicles like motorcycles, buses and heavy trucks.

If this career appeals to you, refer to the table below for more information.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent
Licensure States have varying licensure requirements
Key Responsibilities Train people of various skill levels how to drive correctly, instruct on driver safety, road rules, and defensive driving, evaluate driving skills in practical exams, and provide feedback to students on how to improve driving
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15% for all self-enrichment education teachers*
Median Salary (2017) $41,580**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics **PayScale.com

What Career Options Are Available in Driving Education?

Careers in driving education are available in technical schools, highs schools and driving schools. You may teach new drivers, who are preparing to get their first driver's license. You may help drivers who have lost their license by offering classes in defensive driving or other types of courses demanded through the courts. In some schools, you may instruct prospective commercial drivers on how to operate and maneuver large trucks.

What Are the Job Duties?

As a driving instructor, regardless of what type of student you are teaching, you will create lessons, tests and other materials to train students in road laws, vehicle operation and safe driving. You may use audio and video tools, simulations and handouts to help you instruct students. In most cases, you will also take students on the road to practice their driving skills. The main goal of the classes is to help a student prepare to take and pass their driving test to gain a drivers license.

You must follow the laws set by your state in regard to what students must be taught and how many hours of instruction you must provide. It is your duty to know the road laws in your state so you are educating students properly. You must also keep records for each student as proof of the training he or she received.

What Requirements Must I Meet?

The requirements for careers in driving education typically depend on the type of school you work in and state regulations. Generally, you must meet requirements set by the state, which may include holding a certification or a license to teach driver's education.

For example, to teach in a Michigan commercial driving school, you need a license from the Department of State and to teach students under the age of 18, you need approval from the Department of Education (www.michigan.gov). The Massachusetts Department of Transportation requires driving instructors to complete a 65-hour training course and complete an exam (www.mass.gov). According to the New York Department of Transportation, you must complete an application process to become a certified driver's education teacher, which includes the completion of a 30-hour driving course and an examination (www.labor.ny.gov).

Additional requirements set by each state may include having no violations on your driving record, meeting age requirements, holding a college degree and passing a criminal background check. You may also have to be a licensed driver for a specified length of time and pass an exam to become certified or eligible to teach driver's education. Possessing a commercial driver's license is often a requirement to teach commercial driver's education classes.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of becoming a driving teacher, you could become a self-enrichment instructor in a different topic, such as swimming. In this job, you could teach students how to do a variety of strokes, and you might also cover water safety. Most self-enrichment instructors need a high school diploma; swim teachers may also need certification in first aid or a related area. Alternatively, if you are more interested in driving, you could consider a position as a heavy truck driver. They drive trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds that carry commercial goods for long distances. In order to become a heavy truck driver, you need to complete a professional training program and pass a licensure exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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