Through a driving instructor certificate program, students receive comprehensive and hands-on training in local driving regulations and how to teach others, like adolescents seeking a license or permit, to safely operate an automobile. In most cases, individuals must be certified to work with the public school system or privately owned driver-training schools. Such programs, usually verified by the Secretary of State, vary in content according to state policies. Most are available through local universities and private driving schools, are normally two or three courses long and can be completed in a few months. As driving instructors have frequent contact with minors, program enrollees must successfully complete and pass a background check with a clean driving record and no criminal offenses related to reckless driving, drugs or alcohol. Additionally, they must have a good history of professional conduct and solid communication skills.
Depending on the state and the program, applicants must have maintained a current license for a period of at least three years, 25 years of age, and pass a background check. A teaching certificate or bachelor's degree may be required for some certificates. Programs generally take a few months to complete and are comprised of 2 or 3 courses.
Driving Instructor Certificate
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
According to PayScale.com, as of January 2016, driving instructors earned a median income of $40,978 annually.
Some states offer a provisional certificate upon initial program completion. After a period of 2-3 years of successful instruction experience, driver's education teachers may apply for a standard certificate. However, since these programs differ by state, aspiring driving instructors should research the requirements in the area they hope to work. It should be noted that public schools usually require driver's education teachers to have bachelor's degrees. Bilingual teachers are often in demand across the board.
For individuals with an interest in teaching, driving, and general road safety, obtaining a certificate to become a driving instructor may be a smart career move. Driving instructor certificates focus on driving regulations, driver analysis, and general instruction techniques.