If you’re ready to start your career as a driving instructor, you’ll probably want to know the requirements first – especially if you have penalty points on your licence.
The good news is: yes, you can become a driving instructor with points on your licence. But how many points are you allowed?
How many points can a driving instructor have on their license?
In the UK, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) states that you must have less than six points on your licence to be eligible to charge learners for driving lessons. But this isn’t the only requirement for becoming an approved driving instructor in the UK.
Driving instructor requirements in the UK
To teach learner drivers everything they need to know to pass their test, you must:
- Be aged 21 or over
- Have held a full UK driving manual or automatic licence for at least three years,
- Be qualified to drive the same category vehicle that you’re supervising the learner driver in,
- And have five or less penalty points on your driving licence.
Following this, to charge for driving instruction, you must:
- Be on the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) register
- or be on the Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) list as a trainee instructor.
What checks do the DVSA make for driving instructor applicants?
Before applying to become a driving instructor in the UK, it’s a good idea to learn more about what information the DVSA will look into, other than penalty points on your licence.
Being a ‘fit and proper’ person
The DVLA will make checks to help them decide whether or not you can become a driving instructor in the UK, including whether they deem you a ‘fit and proper’ person. This is considered to be:
“The personal and professional standards, conduct or behaviour that could be unacceptable in the eyes of the public and other ADIs.”
To come to a conclusion on this, the DVLA will check if you have:
- Motoring or non-motoring convictions,
- Court proceedings pending against you,
- Been barred or banned from working with children,
- Had any substantiated complaints regarding inappropriate behaviour or fraudulent activity.
The DVLA will check these against several sources:
- Your application form,
- DVLA records for motoring offences,
- Your enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check,
- Police reports,
- And public complaints to the DVSA.
An approved driving instructor must follow the ADI code of practice to maintain their place on the ADI register.
Criminal record check
You’ll have to have a criminal record check when applying to become a driving instructor and every four years from approval. A criminal record won’t always prevent you from becoming a driving instructor, but this will depend on the conviction.
The DVSA will assess whether your criminal record poses any threat to the pupils you’ll be working with by evaluating factors like:
- Whether the caution or conviction is relevant to the role,
- The seriousness of the offence,
- The length of time since the offence,
- Any patterns in behaviour,
- And a change in circumstances.
If you’ve been banned from driving in the past four years, you cannot apply to become a driving instructor in the UK. It is also unlikely that you will be deemed a ‘fit and proper’ person if you’ve committed any of the following offences:
- driving under the influence,
- dangerous driving,
- excessive speeding,
- driving whilst disqualified,
- uninsured driving,
- using a mobile phone whilst driving,
- failure to stop after an accident,
- or refusing to give information regarding the identity of the driver.
Being found guilty of any of the above offences would usually result in 6 or more points being added to your licence, meaning you would not be permitted to apply to become a driving instructor in the UK.
Below is a list of some of the non-motoring offences that would likely result in not being deemed ‘fit and proper’ by the DVSA:
- sexual assault,
- perverting the court of justice,
- supply of drugs,
- been on the sex offenders register,
- or been barred or banned from working with children.
Why are there restrictions on penalty points for driving instructors?
Unsurprisingly, driving instructors are expected to maintain higher standards than the average road user whilst out on the road.
Being a driving instructor involves much more than simply getting a learner driver through their practical driving test. It’s also about teaching learner drivers about road safety and setting an example to pupils and general road users on the correct way to drive.
Instructors that commit driving offences are not only giving themselves and their driving school a bad reputation but also teaching learner drivers bad habits.
Next steps for becoming a driving instructor
If you’ve got more than six penalty points on your licence, you’ll have to wait for your points to clear before applying to become a driving instructor. If you’re unsure where you stand, you can go online to check how many points you have on your licence.
If you have less than six penalty points on your driving licence, you’re aged 21 or over, and you have been driving for three or more years, you’re eligible to begin your application to become a driving instructor.
From an intensive driving instructor course to get you out on the road teaching learners as quickly as possible to flexible driving instructor training to fit around your home or work commitments. Train to become a driving instructor at a pace that suits you, and even earn whilst you learn with our PDI training franchise.
If you need to learn a little more about driving instructor training, take a look at our other guides:
- How do I Train to Become a Driving Instructor?
- What is the Average Driving Instructor Salary in the UK?
- How much does it cost to become a driving instructor in the UK?
- How long does it take to become a driving instructor?
- Do Driving Instructors Work Weekends?
- Top Tips For Training To Be A Driving Instructor
- Pros and Cons of Becoming a Driving Instructor
FAQs about becoming a driving instructor with points on your licence
Can I be a driving instructor with 3 points on my licence?
If you’re considering becoming a driving instructor in the UK and have three penalty points on your licence, you will be eligible to apply as long as you’re also over the age of 21 and have held your full driving licence for at least three years.
Can I be a driving instructor with 6 points on my licence?
The DVSA states that to be able to apply to become a driving instructor, you must have less than six penalty points on your licence. So if you’ve committed driving offences that have resulted in 6 points being added to your licence, you cannot apply to become a driving instructor and must wait for your points to clear.
Are driving instructors DBS checked?
When applying to become a driving instructor in the UK, you must pass an enhanced DBS check. This is a statutory criminal check by the Disclosure and Barring Service to ensure that you pose no risk as a driving instructor to the pupils you will teach.