How Can I Become a Driver's Ed Instructor?

Explore the career requirements for driver's education instructors. Get the facts about the training, job duties, salary and employment outlook 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 Driver's Ed Instructor?

Driver's education instructors use a combination of classroom and practical instruction to teach students and individual clients how to operate a vehicle lawfully and safely. They may be self-employed or work for a school district or driving school. The courses they teach typically cover a wide range of topics, ranging from road rules to vehicle maintenance techniques to vehicle registration laws. However, it is important to note that driving laws vary between states, so course content may be different depending on location. Also, while many driver's education instructors provide education for first-time drivers looking to operate standard vehicles, others offer training to prepare individuals to become licensed to drive non-standard vehicles, like heavy trucks, buses, or motorcycles.

Instructors need a clean driving record, no criminal history and knowledge of their state's driving laws. The table below lists the general requirements to become a driver's education instructor.

Education Required High school diploma or GED
Training Required Driving instructor training program
Key Skills Technical use of an automobile, patience, interpersonal skills,
Licensure Valid driver's and driver's education licenses are required
Job Growth (2014-2024)15% (for all self-enrichment education teachers)*
Median Salary (2017) $41,580 (for all driving instructors)**

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

What Qualifications Do Driver's Ed Instructors Need?

To become a driver's education instructor, you need to have a high school diploma, a valid driver's license, a comprehensive knowledge of your state's traffic laws, a clean driving record and no criminal history. Beyond that baseline, there is no standardized training program for driver's ed instructors. Each state has its own requirements.

Community colleges and 4-year institutions across the U.S. offer training courses for driving instructors designed to meet the requirements of the states where the schools are located. Topics covered in a program may include in-vehicle and classroom instruction methods, basic maneuvers and vehicle operation, vehicle care, adolescent development, traffic laws and substance abuse.

Where Could I Work?

You are most likely to find employment at a public high school or a commercial driving school, although some instructors are self-employed. Driver's ed instructors at public secondary schools are often licensed teachers. You may also be employed at a private driving school.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

Classroom instruction is likely to touch on auto mechanics, common malfunctions, state traffic laws and interpreting road conditions. Road instruction covers the instrument panel, starting, stopping, steering, driving in reverse, parking, city and highway driving, and emergency maneuvers. During this phase you will monitor how well student drivers perform a given maneuver, stop the vehicle before accidents occur and provide feedback on areas where they need to improve. Periodically, you may administer practice tests to prepare students for their written license exam.

What Salary Could I Earn?

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for driving instructors as of January 2017 was $41,580. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the projected job outlook for self-enrichment education instructions, which could include driver's education instructors, was 15% between 2014 and 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in a teaching job, you could also consider becoming a teacher's aide. This job would involve assisting teachers by providing one-on-one tutoring for individual students. It is important to note that these workers typically need to have completed at least two years of college, but it depends on the school. Alternatively, if you would prefer a driving-related career, you could consider becoming a heavy truck driver. Heavy truck drivers operate trucks that weigh over 26,000 pounds and carry goods for long distances. The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma, but aspiring drivers must also get a license and complete a professional training course.

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