Is It Hard to Become a Driving Instructor?

Is It Hard to Become a Driving Instructor?


If you’re considering embarking on a new career and beginning driving instructor training, you’ll likely wonder what’s required and how difficult the process is. 

Any concerns shouldn’t put you off exploring driving instruction as a career path, though. Working as an approved driving instructor (ADI) is incredibly rewarding and, as one of the most in-demand careers in the UK, can provide excellent job security.

In this guide, we’ll explain the qualifications you’ll need to become a professional driving instructor and the potential difficulties you may encounter while training. Plus, we’ll share reflections and advice from past trainees to help you decide whether this career is right for you.

Learner Driver

What do you need to become a driving instructor?

In terms of becoming a driving instructor, there are a few things you need to do before you’re fully qualified. Alongside the theoretical requirements, there is also a list of qualities you need as a person to be the perfect candidate for the job. Below, we’ll talk you through what it takes.

What qualifications do you need to become a driving instructor

It goes without saying that to become a driving instructor, you’ll first need a full clean driving licence. After that, there are several examinations you need to pass.

ADI Part 1: The theory test. Much like a theory test for a standard driver’s licence, this test will assess your knowledge of road laws, signage and best practices on the road.

ADI Part 2: The practical test. A good driving instructor needs to be an excellent driver to teach people how to be the same. This part tests driving ability and knowledge of the car.

ADI Part 3: The instructional ability test. This is where you put everything together and assess your ability to give lessons as an instructor. It’s the final part of the process on your journey.

Additional requirements to become a driving instructor

Basic requirements

To get started with the process, a driver has to be over 21 years old and have been driving for a minimum of three years to become a fully qualified driving instructor.

Alongside this, applicants should expect to undergo a full driving instructor DBS check, which they need to pass to be qualified to teach.

Personal qualities

The truth is, there is a knack for giving driving lessons. You can know all you like about driving and handle the car to a professional standard without being fit to do the job. Here are some of the main qualities of a good driving instructor.

  • Dependable
  • Understanding
  • Patient
  • Assured
  • Engaging
  • Relaxed

Being a largely social job, driving instructors need to approach driving lessons with these qualities to ensure their students get the best experience possible.

There are many pros and cons to being a driving instructor, but for the right person, it’s a perfectly suited career path with many benefits.

What are the challenges of training to become a driving instructor?

With all of the good things that come with the role, there are always going to be challenges. To give a full idea of how the role looks from day to day, here are some you may encounter.

Learning alongside your current job: Learning new skills isn’t easy, especially if you have other commitments. To ensure you’re well-equipped to teach others, you’ll go through our award-winning driving instructor training before getting on the road. You’ll have to find a balance between learning for the future and earning in the present. Luckily, you can earn money as a trainee driving instructor by charging for lessons while working on your PDI licence. This stage, between parts 2 and 3 of your ADI tests, allows you to earn money while getting that all-important practice.

Getting back into that learner mindset: If you’ve been driving for years and years, it can be tricky at first to remember what it was like to be a learner. Driving’s second nature to so many of us that we don’t even think about what our feet are doing. Becoming a driving instructor means going back to basics and putting yourself in the shoes of someone who’s never been behind the wheel before – that’s where the patience and compassion elements come in. 

A unique work environment: Being a driving instructor is a work environment like no other. If you’ve come from an office or a job where you’re constantly on your feet, hours in a car might be a bit of a shock to the system. You’ll have a whole new clientele to get used to as company, but spending your hours with trainee drivers can be incredibly rewarding and insightful. Struggling with the change of environment, though? Our tip is to make sure you get out and stretch your legs and get some fresh air between lessons, and maybe ask friends or family to do the bulk of the driving on weekends or days off!

Knowing the Highway Code like the back of your hand: Learning something new as an adult can be tricky, and for many of us, it’s been a long time since we manically revised the Highway Code ahead of our theory test. Chances are, elements of the Highway Code have changed since then, and the exact meaning of some road signs might elude us sometimes. Being a driving instructor means having an in-depth knowledge of the rules of the road, and getting that information to stick in your brain can be a challenge! 

Top tips for learning to become a driving instructor

Making any sort of career change can be incredibly daunting, especially when it involves learning a raft of new skills or passing exams. To help ease your nerves and make the process feel more accessible whatever your current situation, here are some top tips from previous trainees about how they made their journeys easier.
Enrol in a good driving school: Being part of a good driving school means you’ll be learning from the best, in a supportive environment with proven results. From the theory test to the last exam, trainee instructors will receive full support at a great school.

Here’s what one of our recent graduates had to say about their time learning with Bill Plant Driving School…

“The training was intense at times but still enjoyable. Regular contact from the support teams too, always a friendly voice to lift you on the days you felt weren’t going according to plan. From the very first phone call I made to The Bill Plant office enquiring about starting my journey, to the present day I have never been disappointed. Thank you all.”

Read more reviews on TrustPilot.

Commit to a study/practice routine: Like learning any new skill, you need to dedicate time to it to achieve the fastest and strongest results. Make sure you put aside strict slots of time to practise your craft, whether it’s studying for the theory test or being out on the road for your practical driving test.

Teach whilst you learn: As we’ve said, a PDI licence allows you to teach lessons as a trainee driving instructor, while making money as you go. This will provide you with invaluable experience on your journey, and increase your confidence as a teacher.

Become a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School

As we mentioned before, when you’re navigating the world of driving instruction, it’s best practice to enrol in a great driving school to guarantee the best results.

Give yourself the best possible start to your new career by completing your driving instructor training with Bill Plant Driving School. We’re an award-winning school with training hubs nationwide, so you can learn wherever works best for you. 

If you’re interested in learning to become a driving instructor, take a look at our courses or get in touch with one of our team today.


What is the vehicle standards agency?

The Vehicle Standards Agency in the UK is a section of the government responsible for carrying out driving tests and approving people to be driving instructors.

Aside from driving instruction, they also conduct tests to ensure lorries and buses are safe to drive, perform roadside checks on drivers and vehicles, and monitor vehicle recalls.

How long does it take to become a driving instructor?

Although everyone is different, you can expect to complete driving instructor training within six to nine months.

What are the rewards of being a driving instructor?

Becoming a driving instructor can be the ideal career change for the right person. In their day-to-day life, professional driving instructors can look forward to complete job flexibility, uncapped earnings and a true sense of job satisfaction through teaching people a valuable life skill.

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