Becoming Driving Instructor

How to become an Approved Driving Instructor in the UK



Training to become a driving instructor can be a wise investment and may lead to a career where you have flexible working hours, a decent income and the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped someone, directly on a one-to-one basis, with one of lifes challenges.

Estimated Incomes and Working Hours

An important point to note is the estimated incomes that you may have seen in Local / National press and television advertisements, quoting incomes of circa £30,000 per year. These incomes are attainable, but only when you provide quite a lot of driving lessons, week in, week out. And with the increase in fuel prices and insurance premiums in the UK, the Driving Instructor's profit margins are being further squeezed.

The great thing about being a driving instructor is the flexibility it can offer. You are able to plan ahead and work hours to suit, but only if you are able to find customers that wish to take lessons at times that suit you. This is why you may have seen driving schools offering discounts for lessons taken during the working day, or to students, nurses etc. It's down to the fact that the majority of people wishing to take lessons are in full time employment and work 9 to 5, this means that they are only available to take their lessons outside of these hours. One more main point to mention on estimated potential incomes of driving instructors which many training providers include in their marketing literature (usually in the small print) is the words "Based on 40 hours of driving lessons provided per week". This figure does not include travelling time between lessons, which can be up to 30 minutes, depending on how well your diary is managed and your pupils requirements and locations. So for example, if you provide 8 x 1 hour lessons in 1 day, you would really be working closer to 11 hours (not including lunch breaks / Coffee breaks etc). Alot of driving instructors try to minimise this by providing 2 hour lessons instead of only 1 hour or by providing intensive/semi-intensive courses. These are things you may want to calculate before starting on your new career as a driving instructor.

Training Costs and Requirements

Driving Instructor Training Costs are around £3,000. Usually this investment provides you with the full amount of training required to pass the Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 tests of the Driving Instructor Examinations. Driving Instructor Training Providers may cap the amount of training they will provide for each part of the examinations and/or charge for Driving Instructor Training Material separately, so this is something you may wish to enquire about before signing up.

To become a driving instructor, you will need to :

Hold a full British or Northern Ireland unrestricted car driving licence

Have held your full British driving licence for a total of four out of the past six years prior to entering the ADI Register after qualifying

Not have been disqualified from driving at any time in the four years prior to being entered in the Register

Be a fit and proper person to have your name entered in the Register

Apply for registration within 12 months of passing Part 3 of the ADI exam.

The Driving Instructor Examinations

The driving instructors examinations currently consist of three parts:

Part 1 Of The Driving Instructors Exam - Theory and Hazard Perception Test

The first part of this test is a multiple choice question test which covers a wide range of topics, including

The rules and regulations for driving on UK roads

Mechanical principles

Teaching techniques

Dealing with disabilities


The theory test section of adi part 1 test is taken using a touch screen computer and consists of 100 multiple choice questions. English is the only language available for the test. The test is 90 minutes.

The questions are grouped into four categories.

Road procedures

Traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians, mechanical knowledge

Driving test, disabilities, law

instructional techniques


Currently there are approximately 1200 questions in the DSA Question Bank which you could be asked on this part of the test.

To pass this part of the test you need to score an overall mark of 85 per cent. However, to ensure you have sufficient knowledge in all categories, you must get a mark of at least 80 per cent in each of the four categories.

Once you have completed the multi-choice part of the test you will be allowed a short break. The hazard perception test will then commence.

The Driving Instructor Part 1 Hazard Perception Test consists of 14 video clips, each lasting around a minute. The maximum score for each hazard is 5. 13 out of the 14 clips will have 1 scorable hazard and 1 out of the 14 clips will have 2 scorable hazards. They will show traffic situations involving other road users and / or pedestrians. As the video plays a hazard will develop. You need to identify that hazard by clicking on the mouse. The sooner you identify the hazard the higher your score for that clip and hazard. Click the mouse button too much for any clip will result in the 'Red Cross' and scoring zero for that clip.

Pass Mark is 57 out of a maximum of 75.

To pass the ADI part 1 theory test exam you must pass both the multiple choice questions section AND the hazard perception exam.

Part 2 Of The Driving Instructors Exam - Driving Ability

This is an advanced driving test that lasts approx 60 minutes. Initially you will need to read a standard number plate from a distance of 27.5 metres. Failure to read the number plate from this distance will result in immediate failure and the test will be stopped.

You will then be asked several of the Show Me Tell Me Questions.

The test is of an advanced nature and a very high standard of competence is expected. You will be required to drive in a brisk and business-like manner, demonstrating that you have a thorough knowledge of the principles of good driving and road safety, and that you put them into practice at all times. You will be driving in a variety of road and traffic environments including heavy and fast moving traffic i.e. motorways and dual carriageways, rural roads and urban areas.


You must satisfy the examiner on your:

Expert handling of the controls

Application of correct road procedure

Anticipations of the actions of other road users and taking the appropriate action

Sound judgement of speed, distances and timing

Consideration for the convenience and safety of other road users


You will fail the test if you score six or more faults.

Part 3 Of The Driving Instructors Exam - Instructional Ability

The test is a practical test that is approximately 60 minutes long. A Senior DSA Examiner will take you out on the road for the test and will assess you on your ability to provide driving instruction. It is designed to test whether you can pass on your knowledge to students with different levels of ability through your practical teaching skills.

There are two parts to the test. In part 1, you have to teach a learner (which the Senior Examiner will role play) with limited or no driving skills, and in part 2 you have to make an assessment and give remedial instruction to either a learner (which the Senior Examiner will role play) who is at test standard or a qualified driver (which the Senior Examiner will role play) who is undergoing driver development training.

The test relies on the Senior Examiners role play. The Senior Examiner will describe each pupil to you and then role-play the character. You will then need to adapt your instruction to suit the personality described and displayed ability and personality of that particular type of learner the Senior Examiner is role playing.

You will be assesed on:

Core competencies

Instructional techniques

Instructor characteristics


These are broken down into the following categories:

Core competencies

Identification of faults

Fault analysis

Remedial action


Instructional techniques

Level of instruction


Control of lesson


Question and answer techniques

Feedback and encouragement

Instructors use of controls


Instructor characteristics


Approach to pupil


This test is marked using a 'grading' system going from 1 to 6. Grade 6 is the highest grade possible. The mimimum required to pass the Part 3 Exam is a Grade 4.

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