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How Do I Become a Traffic School Instructor?

Research what it takes to become a traffic school instructor. Learn about education requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

What is a Traffic School Instructor?

Traffic schools teach drivers who have violated traffic laws and are required to take formal training to regain the right to drive on the road again. As a traffic school instructor, you can expect to prepare teaching materials and lessons, design an appropriate grading system and work with drivers in the car and on the road. It is recommended that you have patience and can communicate effectively. It is also possible that your schedule may consist of night or weekend classes for those who cannot attend classes during regular hours.

The table below outlines some career facts about the instructors of traffic schools.

Education Required High school diploma
Licensure State driver's license is required
Key Skills Patience, attention to detail, leadership, communication
Job Growth (2018-2028) 12% (for self-enrichment education teachers)*
Median Salary (2018) $38,720 (for self-enrichment education teachers)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do I Need To Know About Being a Traffic School Instructor?

A traffic school instructor is a driving instructor who teaches classes to those who have committed traffic violations. Traffic school is often an option for drivers who need to clean up their driving record; it is sometimes mandated for drivers through the state's traffic court system. Individual states certify and hire traffic school instructors. States may also allow private companies or local governments to conduct traffic school under that state's regulations and guidelines. If you are interested in becoming a traffic school instructor, you should contact your home state's department of motor vehicles to find out what your state's requirements are and what your employment options may be.

What Are the Basic Requirements?

Many states require their instructors to be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver's license. Possessing a clean driving record for at least the last several years is often a requirement as well. You will likely have to submit to a criminal and personal background check and pass a vision exam. Basic requirements for traffic school instructors are very similar to those for driver education instructors, who teach mainly young adults how to drive.

What Kind of Education Should I Have?

A high school diploma or GED certificate is the basic educational requirement for most states, along with successfully passing driver's license requirements. States typically handle their own certification of traffic school instructors and may require you to pass an exam to show you are qualified to teach safe driving. California, for example, requires successful passage of a written test that covers safe driving practices, traffic laws and driver teaching techniques (www.dmv.ca.gov).

You should check with your home state about available training. You may consider driver instructor training courses offered by public and private schools to prepare you for the exam. Such courses include basic traffic safety, the impact of drugs and alcohol on driving, classroom methods for driver education and in-vehicle teaching methods. In some states, experience as a police officer may help you become a traffic school instructor. Arizona, for example, allows officers to obtain a waiver for certain requirements to become eligible as a driving instructor.

What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?

If you don't feel that traffic school instruction is right for you, but wish to stay in the self-enrichment education field, you may consider becoming a driving school instructor or a fitness instructor. Driving school instruction is different from traffic school instruction in that you are teaching people who are learning how to drive rather than people who are trying to improve their driving record. Driving school instructors typically teach new drivers who are on the road for the first time. You will need to have a high school diploma or GED, a good driving history, good eyesight and be able to pass a background check. Employers often like for you to have up to five years of experience driving along with a state driver instructor license. You may also need to pass a medical evaluation and have some previous experience in teaching.

Like traffic and driving instructors, fitness instructors are also required to have a minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Currently, many employers are preferring their fitness instructors and trainers to have an associate's or bachelor's degree with a focus in health or fitness. Most fitness trainers or instructors also will need to be certified and may not be able to work with clients until their certification is complete.