Driving Instructor: Career Definition, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for driving instructors. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Driving Instructor?

Driving instructors are teachers who ensure that students learn driving laws, as well as the proper use of a vehicle. In addition, they judge the driving abilities of their pupils and help them achieve licensure. Driving instructors need to effectively communicate safety protocol to students both in the classroom as well as in the car while giving demonstrations or while the students are practicing.

Learn more about this profession in the chart below.

Degree Required High school diploma
Training Required Driving teacher training program
Licensure Required A driver's license and additional certification in some states
Job Growth (2014-24) 15% for all self-enrichment education teachers*
Median Salary (2016) $41,398**

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

What Are My Tasks as a Driving Instructor?

As a driving instructor, you teach individuals and groups of people the importance of collision-free, violation-free driving. Through your lessons in the classroom and on the road, you demonstrate and explain driving techniques, the mechanical operation of a vehicle and the technical aspects of an automobile. You also teach students how to respond in the event of a vehicular emergency. Feedback is an important part of instruction. You observe individuals' driving habits and reactions under various conditions, providing constructive feedback on their progress in the training program as you go.

What Does the Outlook and Salary Look Like?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of all individuals in the self-enrichment education field, including driving instructors, is predicted to grow 15% over the 2014-2024 decade. The hourly earnings of driving instructors can range from $10.14 to $20.33 per hour for those with greater work experience, according to PayScale.com. Most instructors made annual salaries ranging from $24,886 to $56,702 based on experience, overtime and bonuses.

What Education Do I Need for This Career?

The requirements you need to become an instructor are fairly straightforward. You must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma and have a valid driver's license with a clean driving record. Other states may have additional requirements, such as demanding that you submit an official college transcript. Many states require you to complete a short class and examination to receive their licensure.

Some colleges offer certification training courses that you can take to get started in a career as a driving instructor. A training course might include topics in traffic safety, classroom teaching and in-vehicle instruction.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Becoming a teacher assistant is similar in that it doesn't require a college degree. Teacher assistants are usually responsible for caring for students with special needs or to help supervise students in elementary, middle, and/or high school. Also, becoming a tour guide is a related occupation that doesn't require a college degree. Tour guides are responsible for conducting tours for individuals or groups, providing educational and practical information, such as directions.

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