Want to be a Driving Instructor?

The Instructor College (Now operating as Red) recently ran a national TV and Radio advertising campaign looking for people who would like to become driving instructors and become self-employed earning upto £30,000 a year either with a UK School or operate independently as sole trader.

Not a week passes without me spotting an advert from The instructor college or other similar institutions singing the praises of how good and how much the job of a dvsa approved instructor pays, so I'm sure a lot of people will give the thought of becoming a driving instructor some attention.

First of all, let me ask you why you want to be an ADI, because if money is a one of them, then you might be in it for the wrong reason. Don't get me wrong, there are many people who are earning a decent living as a driving instructor especially those who have an independent UK driving school and other instructors working for them, but there are many jobs out there that pay better and don't require as much effort or take so much of your time. One of the popular ways of advertising the job is to quote that you can earn over £30,000 a year doing about 35 hours of lessons each week. To know the true earning potential of a driving instructor, just ask one what they feel about these adverts and how true are the claims.

So what does it take to become a driving instructor?

First let me say that only a person who has undergone the required training, has passed the set exams and has had their name entered into the department of transport's ADI register is allowed to teach a learner to drive and receive money or monetary reward as a driving instructor. Anyone who is not on the ADI register that teaches to drive and receives money or monetary reward is committing an offence. All driving instructors are required to display their registration badge on the car when teaching for money or monetary reward, if yours is not, you have every right to refuse payment. Interestingly, you can own and run a UK driving school without being on the ADI register, as longer as you don't teach for money or monetary reward.

All the information you need to know about becoming a driving instructor is on the Driving Standards Agency's website. The only additional thing you need to know is that it is going to cost you a fair bit of money and time to get the required qualifications. Depending on the way you go about training to become an ADI, it would cost between £1500 to £3000, the time taken will depend of how much time you have to spare and waiting times for the exams at your nearest driving test centre.

What are the benefits of becoming a driving instructor?

I think that most instructors will say that the main reason they took up the job was because of the freedom it gives them to be their own boss, determine where and when they work.

Another benefit of the job is the satisfaction it gives the driving instructors to see an individual start as a beginner and pass their test, having overcome difficulties along the way.

You get a car that is fully expensed and all running cost are tax deductible.

What don't they tell you about being a driving instructor, the hidden truth?

The most important thing they don't tell you is that becoming a driving instructor is hard work. Contrary to what a lot of people think, a driving instructor does not sit in the car for an hour and charge you for their time. Particularly in the earlier stages of a learner's career, the instructor is constantly talking, taking action to keep both the car and pupil safe, even when the pupil is near to test standard the instructor still has to make sure the pupil is not making driving errors that will cause him to fail the test or become an unsafe driver. Your work is not guaranteed, until you've given the lesson and been paid for it can you say what you have earned.

It takes time to make the hours required to earn a living as a driving instructor. Depending on where you live and work, getting those 35 hours of paid lessons could require you putting in up to 40 or more hours in the car and on the road and since you are most likely to be on a driving school franchise you have to pay for that first before you can consider any profit even if you haven't had enough driving lessons that week.

You still have running costs, pay tax and have to market yourself if you don't have a franchise and are offering independent Lessons like I was!

Once qualified as a driving instructor, you don't remain on the register automatically for life. You still need to be checked by the DSA regularly to make sure you still meet the requirements, so it is not a life meal ticket, an instructor could be legal today and the next day could no longer charge for services rendered if removed from the ADI register or their registration has not been renewed, so check the expiry date of your instructors badge.

So if you are thinking of going on the course and do the training, make sure you know what you are getting into, this includes the impact on family, social life, financial stability, etc. That's the truth about becoming a driving instructor!

More Reading
Approved driving instructor earnings
Affordable ADI Training.
ADI Check test
Driving Test manual or Automatic?


  1. Anonymous12:44 am

    I am just considering becoming a driving instructor and appreciate your thoughts. I am finding it hard to get balanced educated opinions to help me decide if its for me before I shell out the £3k for training. Any advise would be appreciated – the college make it sound great – but then of course they would.

  2. Andy, you will have to decide for yourself. It is hard work, and the pay is not the best after you consider all expenses.

    It has good job satisfaction, but you will have to decide what you want from it.

    Don't forget you have to pass to be able to do the job, the training schools will always win, so make sure you think about it before you commit.




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