Driver's education instructors teach students how to operate a car as well as safe driving techniques. Education requirements vary and can include a high school diploma, an associate's or bachelor's degree. Instructors may also require licensing.
A driver's education instructor imparts knowledge of defensive driving skills, state driving laws, accident causality and avoidance, and basic traffic courtesy to future drivers. The majority of instructors work in high schools, teaching first-time drivers. Driver's education instructor candidates must undergo background checks, have valid driver's licenses and good driving records. They should also be capable of fulfilling any requirements their secretary of state's office has for aspiring instructors. Instructors who wish to work in a public school environment may require a teaching license.
|Required Education||Variable; high school diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Driver's license and driving experience; state-issued teaching license for public school instructors|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% (for career and technical education teachers)|
|Median Annual Salary (January 2016)**||$40,978 (for driving instructors)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
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Driver's Education Instructor Job Description
In some states, there is a distinction between the duties of driver's education and driver's training. A driver's education instructor teaches students only in classroom settings, rather than giving physical driver's training on the road. In other states, an instructor must be able to educate students in both theoretical and practical formats.
Some driver's education instructors find their careers in private sectors. In some states, such as New Hampshire, driver's education is not taught in schools, but classes must be taken before anyone under 18 may receive their driver's license.
Law enforcement officers may take courses offered by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) that will enable them to train other law enforcement officers in city, state and federal branches. These instructors teach both classroom courses and practical lessons in vehicles. Some of these instructors go on to teach advanced courses in the Vehicle Ambush Countermeasures Training Program (VACTP). These instructors must be able to impart advanced training and practical experience in advanced technical driving as well as various tactics on avoiding assassination attempts.
In January 2016, PayScale.com reported that driving instructors earned annual salaries that ranged from $28,062 to $59,327. Higher wages were earned by instructors employed in transportation companies, such as those who instructed tractor trailer drivers, or in educational settings.
Driver's Education Instructor Requirements
Every state has different requirements for differing levels of driver's education instructors. Most states require that driver's education instructors to pass a criminal background check. All states require the instructor to have a valid driver's license and an acceptable driving record. For each state, the secretary of state's office holds the current local guidelines and requirements. Those professionals interested in working in a public school environment may need to have a state-issued teaching license.
Instructors for the FLETC and VACTP programs are required to pass training courses that are administered and taught by their own organization. At the time a student is enrolled in these training programs, students must be currently employed as a law enforcement officer and demonstrate an actual job related need to acquire and teach these skills.
Driver's education instructors may need to pass a background check and obtain a state license before teaching. Instructors in this field earn a median annual salary around $41,000. The job growth outlook for these positions is as fast as the job market.