Learn how to become a driving instructor in the UK with this highly comprehensive 330-page guide written by industry expert Bill Lavender who has over 20 years experience.

Becoming a qualified Driving Instructor is much more than starting a new job; it is about learning the skills of a new profession.  An Approved Driving Instructors’ job is to teach people to drive safely and to prepare them for their driving tests.  This involves not only giving instruction, but also monitoring the learner, the road and other vehicles very carefully.  Learner drivers do not make deliberate mistakes. They are likely to make fewer errors where the instructor is fully in control of the learning environment by giving the correct level of tuition.

Besides an interest in driving, the starting point is having an even temperament and a personality to suit the work. Some instructors find it easier than others to be understanding, supportive and be capable of developing a good rapport with customers. Each learner driver has a different character and personality.  You need to be patient – it’s not always easy to be the perfect driver and spend your time sitting next to people who can’t drive!

Learn how to become a driving instructor

When becoming a driving instructor, it is very satisfying to consider that the skills you are teaching will provide a foundation for good driving throughout their motoring lives and also make a very valuable contribution to road safety.

It can be a long road to qualifying as an ADI, taking at least a year from making the application.  Studying and preparing yourself for each part of the qualifying examination is likely to take up much of your time, it will also probably involve the support of people who are close to you.  It’s wise to avoid upsetting those that you care for and respect, by not criticising mistakes in their driving, unless they do ask you for an expert opinion!  

This guide hasn’t been written with the intention of promoting the driving instructor career.  As in other professions, those who are already qualified will say that there are already enough practitioners in their respective business.   It is meant as an independent and impartial guide for anyone interested in finding out how to become a driving instructor.

If you have made your mind up about joining the profession, this guide is definitely for you.  If you’re not sure about the career, then this guide contains enough information to help you make your mind up. 

Why become a driving instructor?

Very good question. Why indeed would anyone want to become a driving instructor?  Very experienced motorists may have a recollection of the original 1970′s Bob Newhart sketch where the American comedian depicts a series of difficult situations occurring during a driving lesson.  While Bob struggles hard to stay to keep a grip of the lesson, his customer still enjoys it and asks to book more training! If you haven’t seen the sketch, it is well worth a viewing.

Most of us in Britain will have taken a full course of professional driving lessons when we learnt to drive.  Some of us would have had the advantage of private practice between lessons as well.  So, we have an idea of what the work entails.  No doubt we also all have opinions on driving standards and a view on how these should be improved.   Each of us will probably have at least one interesting or perhaps amusing story to tell about something that happened during our training or perhaps an incident on the driving test itself.  Driving is always an easy topic for discussion, even though 3.8 million out of a total 31.9 million drivers have some points on their licenses; this doesn’t stop us being expert drivers!

A Driving Instructor as a career choice?      

You have to be at least 21 and held a full car licence for at least four years before you can qualify with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).  This could be one reason that the career isn’t promoted to school leavers.  If you want to be a bus or lorry driving instructor then, there is less regulation.  All that you will need is to have held that particular driving licence for at least three years and find a company to employ you, unless you already have your own training vehicles.

Become a Driving Instructor

ADIs are drawn from a very wide range of different backgrounds, representing just about every industry, business and profession that you can think of.  For some people, the profession can form a second income.  The most common denominator is an interest in driving cars.  Though the national television advertisements attracting redundant and unemployed workers with high income promises have disappeared from our TV screens, the career still does have a vocational appeal for those who enjoy motoring and feel that they can do a good job teaching people how things should be done properly.

What are the attractions?

The majority of full time driving instructors are self employed.  Being your own boss means not having to report to someone else, which can be a great feeling.  You still need to be good with your time management; to keep your customers you will need to be reliable and punctual.  In the long run, it might also be an opportunity to improve your work/life balance.

It is an advantage to manage the times that you want to work, though there can be some disadvantages, such as needing to work in the evenings or at weekends.  You will need to find or make time to manage your financial accounts and arrange your own tax payments.

What are the roles and responsibilities?

The formal responsibilities almost speak for themselves in terms of teaching “safe driving for life”.  As an ambassador of the road you are relied upon to set a good example in your own driving and ensuring that those you teach are kept in a safe learning environment while they gain experience behind the wheel.  The roles that come into focus while teaching someone to drive can be and are quite varied, besides being a teacher or a coach, when you’re giving advice, you’re an advisor; when you’re drawing diagrams, you’re an artist; when you’re listening you might even say that you’re a counsellor or a psychologist. 



Key sales points of the how to become a driving instructor guide include:

  • - Written by a driving school industry expert with over 20 years experience.
  • - Teaches you all you need to know about becoming a driving instructor.

Contents include:

Forward by Bill Lavender (author)

Forward by Robin Cummins OBE (Former DSA Chief Driving Examiner)

  • Introduction - How to become a driving instructor
  • Chapter 1 - Why become a driving instructor?
  • Chapter 2 - What is the work like?
  • Chapter 3 - How to make a living
  • Chapter 4 - How to plan your business
  • Chapter 5 - How to make the best of your customers
  • Chapter 6 - Learning and teaching styles
  • Chapter 7 - The learning process
  • Chapter 8 –  How to be a good driving instructor
  • Chapter 9 – How to teach driving
  • Chapter 10 - How to qualify as a DSA Approved Driving Instructor
  • Chapter 11 - How to get more out of your new qualification
  • Chapter 12 - How to become a bus or lorry driving instructor

Appendix 1    Lesson plans and diagrams

Appendix 2    DSA Driving Test Report Form (DL25)

Appendix 3    List of useful contacts

Appendix 4    Recommendation publications

Appendix 5    Glossary of terms

About the author:

Bill Lavender

Bill Lavender is well known for his BETTER TRAINING features in the industry magazine, adiNEWS over the last ten years. He became an Approved Driving Instructor in 1982 and has spent most of his career at the British School of Motoring (BSM) in various senior training and development roles, including NVQ and BTEC awards for instructors. He also was responsible for BSM learning resources, including retail products for learner drivers. He currently works freelance, specialising in driving instructor training and also continuing professional development for ADIs.

Bill has qualifications that include: BA (Hons) from Middlesex University, Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of Greenwich, City & Guilds 7307 from Havering College, NVQ Assessor and Internal Verifier (Edexcel), ISO 9001:2008 auditor (BSI).

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He is also a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), holder of the RoSPA Diploma in Driving Instruction, a DSA Fleet (Grade 6) Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), the Principal of a DSA approved ADI Training Establishment (known as the Official Register of Driving Instructor Trainers or ORDIT for short), a fellow of the Association of Industrial Road Safety officers (AIRSO) and the owner of




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