If you are passionate about driving, and want to impart your skills to other learners, then becoming a driving instructor is the right job for you. It is one of the most sought after part-time jobs today. The basic aspects of this profession involve guiding students to drive carefully while observing road safety rules in order for them to procure their driver's license. Apart from the basic driving skills, driving instructors can also offer assistance by teaching students what needs to be done in an emergency and responding to all their queries pertaining to driving and road safety.
With a burgeoning population, more and more stringent traffic and highway laws, and an ever-increasing number of vehicles being added to our roads, driver training and safety is gaining more concern. Driving instructors can work in commercial driving schools imparting driving techniques to the public, or they can get employment in their public school district and take driving classes for students during school hours or during after-school hours.
Requirements to Becoming a Driving Instructor
Every state has its own rules and regulations in place for people who aspire to become instructors. Some of the basic rules pertaining to all states are listed below:
- Must have acquired a high school diploma
- Possess an excellent driving record (should not have a suspended or revoked license)
- Should be at least 21 years of age
Apart from the ones listed above, the requirements can be found with your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). In some states it is mandatory that a candidate complete a state-approved driving course within a year of getting the license. Your application should also be supported by a licensed driving school. The applicant should have a minimum of two years of recent driving experience (although this requirement can differ from state to state). You should also pass the vision test and road test, along with a written test.
You may have to answer questions based on topics covering the various teaching techniques, operation of motor vehicles, safe driving practices, traffic laws, to name a few. You should also appear for and pass a test that's explicitly designed for driving school instructors. In case you fail the test, you need to reapply. You may also have to undergo background checks to verify that you are not involved in accidents, have not violated traffic rules and/or are clear of any criminal record. Communication in English is a must for this profession. If you live in an area with a sizable number of population who speak a different language, it is advisable that you are conversant with the other language as well.
If you wish to apply in a school district, you need to hold a bachelor's degree and have a teaching license for secondary school. You can apply for an endorsement to that license which will permit you to teach training courses in that particular school district. A certain number of hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training coupled with a few tests is also necessary for this post.
Salary and Work Conditions
The hourly salary range is anywhere between $12 and $17, depending upon the city and state. In major cities, this wage may be slightly higher. Instructors associated with commercial driving schools may work any number of hours, depending upon the nature of their job (full-time or part-time). Those employed with a school district work as per the school timings. Summer is the busiest time for a driving instructor.
A driving school instructor must be extremely alert because he deals with students who have zero experience with an automobile and its operation, and they are responsible for the safety of the student as well as the car. Taking turns, changing lanes, backing up, parallel parking, and highway driving strategies are just some of the aspects of driving the instructor must teach his students.
Nothing can equal the pride you feel when you see the happiness on your student's face when he or she passes the road test! A love for driving, coupled with a lot of patience and excellent communication skills are the tools necessary for this profession.