Driver and Safety Teacher

Driving and safety teachers may earn professional licensure in addition to a secondary school teaching license. Continue reading to learn about this career, including earning potential and academic requirements for employment.

Is Driver and Safety Teaching for Me?

Career Overview

Driving and safety teachers are responsible for teaching their students to follow the rules of the road, respect pedestrians and drive defensively. As a driving teacher, you may teach students about modern driving techniques, including energy-efficient driving and ways to improve gas mileage. You'll use many tools to train your students to drive, including classroom lectures, simulated driving and in-car driving.

Duties and Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a driver and safety teacher are similar across states, even if related driver licensing or motor vehicle laws may vary; you'll have to create and implement a curriculum that covers all the topics your state requires aspiring drivers to learn. According to the state of Michigan's website, driver and safety teachers take students on the road in rain, shine, snow and sleet to provide them with driving experience in a variety of weather conditions (www.michigan.gov).

The cars you'll use have dual controls so you can stop them in case of an emergency or in case of student error. You'll assess your students' progress, their ability to drive safely and how well they focus on driving, according to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (http://dmv.vermont.gov ). You'll familiarize your students with the prevalence of vehicular accidents and ways they can protect themselves, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (http://dpi.wi.gov ).

You may also teach them how to assess situations and make decisions about driving risks. In some classes, you may address how alcohol and drugs impair driving ability.

Employment Information

As a driving and safety teacher, you could work in a high school or you could work for a private driving school; you could also work as a traffic school instructor, training individuals who have lost their licenses. PayScale.com reported in April 2014 that most driving instructors received $20,728-$44,551 per year.

Driving instructors may also fall into the category of self-enrichment teachers because they address a non-academic, non-vocational subject, which can improve the quality of life of the people who take it; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, self-enrichment teachers made a median annual salary of $35,500 as of May 2013 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a Driving and Safety Teacher?

Education

To become a driver and safety teacher, you must earn a bachelor's degree in education and meet your state's licensure requirements to earn teaching certification. After that, you must complete a post-baccalaureate certificate program in driver education. These graduate certificate programs are available online and on-campus at many schools.

Coursework examines the same things you'll eventually teach your students, including the effect of drugs and alcohol on the body, the dangers of emotionally-charged driving, safety while driving with passengers and strategies for driving in adverse weather conditions. You may also learn how to create a driving and safety education program, so you can establish one at a school that doesn't have one or open your own driving school. You'll complete driving labs and discover how to use a variety of tools that can help you in the instructional process. Some driver and safety teacher certification or licensure programs include CPR and first aid classes.

Additional Requirements

Beyond that, the requirements to become a driving instructor vary depending on the state in which you live. Most require that you have a clean driving record, a certain number of years of driving experience and that you haven't had your license suspended in at least the last two years. Some states require that you earn a driving instructor's license or certification. Check your state's requirements to make sure you meet them.

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