5 Steps to Becoming an Advanced Driving Instructor
Step 1 – Meeting the minimum requirements:
Before applying to become a driving instructor you will need to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements to become an ADI. Things that could prevent you from becoming a driving instructor include: your age; driving experience; criminal records history; and certain health conditions. You can find more information about the qualifying process here: https://www.gov.uk/become-a-driving-instructor.
If you think you qualify, before applying to join the ADI register, you will need to apply for an enhanced DBS check. You can do this at: https://www.gov.uk/criminal-record-check-become-driving-instructor.
Step 2 – Applying to join the ADI register:
Once you have received your DBS check result, assuming that it does not preclude you from applying, you can apply to join the ADI register at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-to-become-a-driving-instructor.
Step 3 – Planning and preparing for your training:
Having met all the minimum eligibility criteria it’s now time to meet with your ADI for an introductory discussion. Your ADI will undertake a driving assessment with you, answer any questions you may have about the role of a driving instructor, and guide you through the qualifying process.
Step 4 – Training:
Part 1 of your training is similar to, but much harder than the learner driver’s theory test. You will meet with your ADI before studying for the test and again before you book the test to ensure that you are on track. Part 1 test preparation costs £100 for ADI support, plus £73.50 for training materials (which we can provide).
You can take the Part 1 test as many times as you need to, but you should listen to the advice provided by your ADI to ensure that you are ready for the test before taking it – that way you will save yourself money!
You can’t apply to take your Part 2 test until you have passed your Part 1 test, however, you can start training for this concurrently. The Part 2 test is very similar to, but much harder than the learner’s practical test. Even though you may be a highly experienced driver you will need training, not only to eliminate any bad habits you may have acquired, but also so that you can reach the standard of driving required to prepare others to pass their tests.
Training for the Part 2 test takes, on average, between 10 – 20 hours and costs £30 per hour (taken in blocks of 2 hour lessons). Please bear in mind that you can only take the Part 2 test three times. If you fail a third time you will have to wait for 2 years before restarting the whole process from the very start, so you shouldn’t apply for the test until your ADI advises you that you are ready for it.
Once you have passed your Part 2 test you can start your Part 3 training. This is when you will learn to teach others how to drive, and is undoubtedly the hardest and most expensive part of the qualifying process for trainee instructors. Following recent changes to the Part 3 test, most trainees will complete 40 hours of instructional ability training before applying for their ‘Pink Badge’ which allows them to earn money as a potential driving instructor (PDI) whilst they continue their training.
Your ADI can discuss your options in greater detail once you are ready to apply for your Pink Badge but, once you hold your Pink Badge, you will either have to complete a further 20 hours of training, or be supervised for 20% of the lessons you teach. During this time you will work with Smart Drive Driver Training as you will need to be supervised by qualified ADIs. The Pink Badge lasts for 6 months and is designed to enable you to gain the experience you will need to pass your Part 3 test.
Once you are ready to take your Part 3 test you will need to pay a test fee. Again, please bear in mind that you can only take the test three times and therefore you should ensure that your ADI feels that you have a realistic chance of passing the test before you book it.
Part 3 costs are based on 60 hours of training. You can either: pay the full amount upfront at the discounted price of £1500, saving you £300; in four instalments of £412.50 saving you £150; or pay as you go at a cost of £30 per hour (in 2 hour lesson blocks). Please bear in mind that you may require more than 60 hours of training in order to reach the required standard and, in which case, Part 3 training could cost you more than depicted above.
Step 5 – Qualifying as an ADI and starting your new career:
Once you have passed your Part 3 test you can apply for your ‘Green Badge’ as a fully qualified ADI. The badge lasts for 4 years and includes the Standards Check fee – yes, the testing isn’t over! You will be tested regularly – at least once in a 4 year period – by DVSA Senior Examiners to ensure that you are operating at the required levels.
At this stage, you may decide to operate independently, work as a franchisee with a local driving school like Smart Drive Driver Training, or franchise with a national driving school like the AA or RED. There are advantages and disadvantages to all options, but your ADI, who has experience in all three, will be able to advise you as to which option may suit you best.
Whichever route you take, you are now well on your way to establishing a fantastic career where you are your own boss, can choose where and when to work, and where you can earn a good income.