Driving Instructor Courses and Certificate Programs
Explore education programs and courses that prepare students to become certified driving instructors. Read about program prerequisites and check the continuing education options.
Driving instructors teach students about local driving regulations and the skills needed to safely operate an automobile. Aspiring driving instructors receive classroom and hands-on instruction, and must meet other requirements in order to become certified to work with student drivers through the public school system or through privately-owned driver-training schools.
Individuals seeking to become trained to instruct student drivers receive comprehensive training in local driving regulations; they also learn the teaching skills necessary to work with students who are learning to drive. Such programs vary in content according to state policies and are usually certified by the Secretary of State.
Training programs for driving instructors are available through local universities and private driving schools. Most require two or three courses and can be completed in a few months. According to the website Payscale.com, the median salary for driving instructors in February 2014 was $35,097.
Due to the contact with adolescents the position frequently entails, driver education instructor trainees must successfully complete and pass a background check. A clean driving record with no criminal offenses related to reckless driving, drugs or alcohol is important. Additionally, applicants must have maintained a current license for a period of at least three years, depending on the state. Some programs also require driver's education teachers to be at least 25 years of age. Public schools usually require driver's education teachers to have bachelor's degrees. Instructors are also expected to have a good history of professional conduct and solid communication skills. Bilingual teachers are often in demand.
Like the training the student drivers will receive, the education to become a certified driver education instructor is made up of didactic and supervised practical training. The number of hours required for practical training varies according to state regulations. Course topics include:
- Driving regulations
- Driver preparation
- Vehicle movements
- Driver analysis
- Classroom instruction techniques
- Developing vehicle operation skills
Some states offer a provisional certificate upon initial program completion. After a period of 2-3 years of successful instruction, driver's education instructors may apply for a standard certificate. However, since these programs differ by state, aspiring driving instructors should research the requirements in the state in which they hope to work.
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