How to become a driving instructor

Learn how to become a driving instructor in the UK with this second, fully updated edition, highly comprehensive 340+ page guide written by industry expert Bill Lavender. Bill has over 30 years’ experience in the driving school industry, including professional work with lorry and bus drivers. He is also an NVQ Assessor / Verifier and currently works freelance as an emergency response (blue light) ambulance driving instructor.

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“How to become a driving instructor” provides first-hand guidance for anyone who is thinking about qualifying as an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). The guide is unique in that it also includes separate chapters on becoming a lorry, bus and motorcycle instructor. Its contents are entirely independent of any Training Provider, so you can rely on its advice being impartial.

Becoming a driving instructor is much more than starting a new job; it is about learning the skills of a new profession. The job of an ADI 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 road users, including vehicular traffic very carefully. Learner drivers do not make deliberate mistakes. The guide suggests ways to keep the learner’s errors to a minimum and how to stay in control of the learning environment by giving the correct level of tuition.

Besides an interest in driving, the starting point has to be 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 approach. You need to be patient – it’s not always easy to be the perfect driver and spend your time sitting next to someone who can’t drive!

As an ADI, it is very satisfying to consider that the skills you are teaching will provide a foundation for good driving throughout their motoring lives; making an important contribution to road safety.

The road to qualifying as an instructor can be a long one, taking at least a year from making the application. Studying and preparing yourself for each part of the ADI qualifying examination is likely to take up much of your time, it is also likely to involve the support of people who are close to you.

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 people interested in this career.

If you have already made your mind up about joining the profession, this guide is definitely for you. If you’re not yet sure, then this guide contains enough information to help you make your mind up. Many organisation are also listed that will be happy to give you advice and if you ask for it, their opinion.

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

If you are a “people-person” you will enjoy this work! If you like working on your own, you should also enjoy this work!

The majority of driving instructors are self-employed and work part time. Being your own boss means not having to report to someone else, which can be a really 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.


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.


A whole new chapter has been added to help qualified instructors achieve a “Grade A” on their DVSA Standards Check. This is the top grade awarded by the Government Agency that regulates instructors.

As well as encouraging instructors to develop their careers teaching learners, the guide includes fully updated advice on how to diversify the business by coaching qualified drivers.


The Guide’s Contents are:

Forward about Bill Lavender

Introduction to becoming a driving instructor

  • Introduction – Why become a driving instructor?
  • Chapter 1 – What is the work like?
  • Chapter 2 – How to make a living
  • Chapter 3 – How to plan your business
  • Chapter 4 – How to make the best of your customers
  • Chapter 5 – How to adapt teaching to a learning style
  • Chapter 6 – How learners learn to drive
  • Chapter 7 – How to teach driving
  • Chapter 8 – How to qualify as a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor
  • Chapter 9 – How to become a ‘Grade A’ driving instructor
  • Chapter 10 – How to get more out of your ADI qualification
  • Chapter 11 – How to become a bus or lorry driving instructor
  • Chapter 12 – How to become a motorcycle riding instructor

Appendix 1 Better driving – the ‘smith system’

Appendix 2 Lesson plans and diagrams

Appendix 3 DVSA Driving test report form (DL25)

Appendix 4 DVSA Standards check form (SC1)

Appendix 5 The causes of road traffic collisions

Appendix 6 The new drivers act 1995

Appendix 7 Improving the standard of driving instruction

Appendix 8 Useful contacts

Appendix 9 Recommended publications

Appendix 10 Glossary of abbreviations used

About the Author

Bill Lavender is well known for his monthly features in the industry magazine, adiNEWS. These focus on “Better Training”. Bill became an Approved Driving Instructor in 1982 and has spent most of his long career at the British School of Motoring (BSM) in various senior training and development roles. These included NVQ and BTEC awards for instructors. He also was responsible for BSM’s learning resources, including retail products for learner drivers.

Bill has made a full and personal commitment to driver education. His qualifications 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).

Bill Lavender

He is also a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), holder of the RoSPA Diploma in Driving Instruction, a DVSA Fleet (Grade 6) Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), the Principal of a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor 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 Here you will find not only regular updates of motoring news, but can sign up for a range of learning resources, including colour diagrams of those found in the second edition of “How to become a driving instructor”.

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How to Become a Driving Instructor

  • Introduction – Why become a driving instructor?
  • Chapter 1 – What is the work like?
  • Chapter 2 – How to make a living
  • Chapter 3 – How to plan your business
  • Chapter 4 – How to make the best of your customers
  • Chapter 5 – How to adapt teaching to a learning style
  • Chapter 6 – How learners learn to drive
  • Chapter 7 – How to teach driving
  • Chapter 8 – How to qualify as a DVSA Approved Driving Instructor
  • Chapter 9 – How to become a ‘Grade A’ driving instructor
  • Chapter 10 – How to get more out of your ADI qualification
  • Chapter 11 – How to become a bus or lorry driving instructor
  • Chapter 12 – How to become a motorcycle riding instructor