How to Become a Driving Instructor?

How to Become a Driving Instructor?If you're a confident driver and enjoy being on the road, you may have considered becoming a driving instructor. But what does the exact process look like for someone serious about it? We did some research and found an answer.

In most US states, to become a driving instructor, you need to be at least 21 years old, and follow these steps -

  1. Pass a background and criminal history check.
  2. Pass a mental and physical health test.
  3. Take special classes to become a driving instructor (usually 30-50 hours).
  4. Pass a driving instructor test.
  5. Find a driving school that will employ you.
  6. Apply for your driving instructor license.

These terms do vary depending on where you live. We thought outlining the process in a few different states could provide a better handle on what to expect. So, let's get started and figure whether you want to take this journey.


How to Become a Driving Instructor in California

The first thing to know about being a driving instructor in California is the DMV must license you. The process of getting licensed will include these following steps:

Requirements For Being a Driving Instructor in California

  1. You'll want to download and read the DMV's Driving School Instructor Plan. This guide will contain the necessary steps and info to become an approved instructor. It should also be available at your local DMV office.
  2. The next step is taking and completing a certified driving instructor course. California residents will have to go through 60 hours of classroom work and pass an exam.
  3.  Download and fill out the DMV's forms OL 221M, OL 221A, DL 546A, and OL16. Each can be found on the California DMV's website.
  4. You'll need to get your fingerprints taken by a Live Scan electronic fingerprinting service. This service must be approved by the DOJ, also known as the Department of Justice. The website for California's Attorney General will have a list of approved ones and the info needed to contact them. Law enforcement will have the necessary info about Life Scan services, as well.
  5. Making an appointment with the DMV would be your next step. This appointment will be about taking a driving school instructor's written test and filing your forms. You should include proof of your GED or high school diploma and a certificate of course completion with these forms.
  6. You'll need to request one more form at your appointment, DMV 8016. This form can't be downloaded and needs to be an original form.
  7. Your last step will be taking the DMV driving instructor's written exam. If you pass and all your forms check out, you'll be a driving instructor in California.

How to Become a Driving Instructor in Florida

In Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) handles certifying instructors. Their requirements for getting approved are these following steps:

Requirements For Being a Driving Instructor in Florida

  1. Get a Florida driver's license. This action will require taking both a written exam and a road test at the local FLHSMV.
  2. Your next step would be taking the DPAS or Driver Performance Analysis System exam. This exam will examine your driving skills and knowledge. You can locate the test provides through the FLHSMV's website.
  3. A Driving Instructor Training Course or DITC will need completion. This course will take 32 hours and done through the Florida Safety Council in Orlando.
  4. Get a Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal history report. Obtain this report through either a Live Scan facility or your nearest law enforcement agency. The document will disclose your criminal history in Florida's Federal Bureau of Investigation and Division of Criminal Justice Information Services.
  5. Get a job from a Florida driving instruction school. FLHSMV requires a letter of employment from the driving school's owner during this process.
  6. Fill out the driving instructor certification application found on the FLHSMV's website. This application will require answers about your medical conditions, driving history, criminal history, and education.
  7. Put together your application materials. You must include your letter of employment, criminal history reports, and two 1.5 inch photographs. These photographs need to show your neck, shoulders, and uncovered head.
  8. Mail your application, supporting materials, and application fee to the FLHSMV. You'll find the exact address on their website.
  9. You then must complete the instructor agreement form available on their website. This form must be signed and witnessed. If your application and instructor gets approval, you'll be a certified driving instructor.

How to Become a Driving Instructor in New York

New York follows a similar method to what California does with certifying driving instructors. Their DMV also handles the process, and potential instructors will need to meet these conditions:

Requirements For Being a Driving Instructor in New York

  1. You must first get employed by an approved driving school.
  2. After getting employed by a driving school, fill out an application for the Driving School Instructor Certificate (MV-523). Ensure you answer each question and provide the relevant info/explanations when needed. Please make sure to include any requested documents, as well.
  3. Bring the filled out form to your driving school's owner. You'll need to provide the application: one photo taken within the previous 30 days, a copy of your GED or high school diploma, and a check of $10 to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
  4. The driving school's owner will need to mail your application to the DMV. Their address located on the DMV's website.
  5. After your application gets approval, the Bureau of Driver Training Programs will send it to the DMV T&I. The T&I Unit (Testing & Investigations Unit) should contact you and schedule your test. The testing required will be a written test, a test on road signs, road test, and a vision test.
  6. Once you pass these tests,  you'll be a driving instructor in New York.

How to Become a Driving Instructor in Pennsylvania

Being a driving instructor in Pennsylvania is a little different than other states. Pennsylvania driving instructors at driving schools prepare new drivers to take the state driving test. These instructors don't conduct the road test themselves.

This situation comes from Pennsylvania not officially endorsing driving schools. But people who still want to be instructors will need to complete the proper training and earn a certification. The steps for getting this certification will include:

Requirements For Being a Driving Instructor in Pennsylvania

  1. Graduating from high school or earning a GED certificate. This step is necessary to ensure you can enroll at a college or university that certifies driving instructors.
  2. You need a valid Pennsylvania driver's license. You'll also need to provide your birth certificate, checkbook, Social Security card, and two documents claiming Pennsylvania residency. These documents can be mortgage agreements, utility bills, or your W-2 form.
  3. You must keep a clean driving record and criminal background. It's worth noting that the Pennsylvania Department of Education requires driving school employees to pass background checks.
  4. Take and complete driver education and safety course at an accredited college or university. This course must be a graduate or bachelor level course. The teacher education program must be on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's approved list. 
  5. Contact your school's certification officer and set up a time to take the Praxis test. This test is a prerequisite for entering a teacher education program at most Pennsylvania schools. It's a necessary step to becoming a certified driving instructor in this state.
  6.  Your next step will be applying for the driving instructor certification with the state's Department of Education. This task requires filling out the General Application For Pennsylvania Certificate Form PDE 338 G. Complete it and bring the form plus a $100 to your driving school's certification office. This office will then submit all the paperwork and your Praxis test results to the Department of Education.
  7. Once approved as a driving instructor, visit the Department of Education's Teaching Job Search System. Use it to locate hiring schools and find their contact info.

How to Become a Driving Instructor In Ohio

Becoming a driving instructor in Ohio requires getting a license from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. We'll guide you through the conditions and process in these steps:

Requirements For Being a Driving Instructor in Ohio

  1. You must have earned and kept your driver's license for at least five years.
  2. Take an approved instructor's course in driving training at a nearby Ohio driving school, college, or university. This course will end up being 40 hours long. A passing score in these courses stays valid for ten years.
  3. Once you pass the course, it's time to take the instructor training test. This will include a road test, a written test, and a vision test.
  4. You'll have to get fingerprinted. This action should be done at one of the National Background Check, Inc offices. They will link your results directly to your application.
  5. Request your driving record from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This task will require filling out a form and sending it to them. You'll find their address on the website. The request itself will cost $5. You'll need to send a money order or check to Ohio's Treasurer.
  6.  You'll need to have a physical. A doctor must sign and date a letter stating that you're physically and mentally healthy. It also must note that you aren't addicted to any medicine or drug capable of affecting your ability to drive.
  7. Send your application to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The address to send your application will be on their website. You'll need to include your supporting documents and a check or money order of $25 payable to Ohio's Treasure.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Driving Instructor?

As we stated in our earlier sections, the application process will vary from state to state. Each one will have its own rules about how long it will take. The main difference comes from the length of the required courses.

In most cases, instructor training programs will be available at vocation schools, colleges, or government agencies. These courses will either happen online or on-campus, depending on the school's rules and regulations.

The length of these training programs will differ with your specialization. It can range from two days to a couple of weeks. You'll learn about your state's highway laws and protocols, training strategies, and developing lesson plans.

It's fair to say the process of becoming a driving instructor will usually take a few weeks or months.

Is a Driving Instructor a Good Job?

Being a driving instructor will come with both pros and cons. It's just like any other job and will appeal more to some people than others. We'll outline the positives and negatives of this job below:

Pros of Being Driver Instructor

  • You'll be able to share your love of safe driving with the upcoming generation. A driver instructor becomes a vital part of shaping how young teens approach their behavior on the road.
  • If you intend to set up a driving school, you get to control your hours.
  • Any patient, good driving teacher will play a key role in turning teenagers into confident adults. The lessons could even impact their lives when they're not behind the wheel.
  • The job comes with a livable hourly rate to ensure you can support yourself.

Cons of Being Driver Instructor

  • Your safety will be in the hands of new drivers almost every day. You'll likely have some accidents and narrowly missed ones from time to time. It's not the safest job by any means.
  • People looking to start a driving school will need business insurance. This insurance can be costly and might not be worth it.
  • Some teenagers aren't pleasant to be around. You're going to encounter a few kids who aren't polite or downright unpleasant. It comes with the territory of teaching teenagers.

How Much do Driver Instructors Make?

The average hourly rate of a driving instructor is $16.57 in the United States. If you work 40 hours a week for a full year, this annual income would be around $34,465 — not an inadequate amount for teaching teenagers how to drive.

Of course, this range will change based on where you intend to do the job. But this amount is what you should generally expect when being a driving instructor.

We hope our article made it clear whether becoming a driving instructor is a suitable option for you. If you do have any more questions, please don't hesitate to leave them in our comment section. We'll answer them as quickly as possible.

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