How to Become a Driver Trainer (Plus Salary and FAQs)
Updated 26 July 2023
If you enjoy driving and mentoring others, you may consider a career as a driver trainer. Being a driver trainer allows you to teach students both knowledge and practical skills related to safely driving through cities, on highways and in rural environments. Knowing more about the various steps for becoming a driver trainer can help you determine if this job might be a good fit for your unique interests, abilities and experiences.
In this article, we discuss what a driver trainer is, explain how to become a driver trainer, explore the skills these professionals can benefit from developing and answer some FAQs.
What is a driver trainer?
A driver trainer teaches students how to operate vehicles safely while following traffic laws. They may provide classroom instruction to students where they can show instruction videos or explain important traffic concepts. It's common for driver trainers to drive students around to explain how to drive the vehicle. Then, they may allow the students to operate the car to give them first-hand experience in driving.
Driver trainers often provide feedback on a student's driving performance and identify areas of improvement in their abilities. They may teach students how to perform a variety of standard vehicle operations, including starting it, putting it in reverse and manoeuvring into a parking spot. A driver trainer's goal is to help students pass the driver's test and gain a licence while ensuring that they keep themselves, their passengers and other vehicles safe while driving.
How to become a driver trainer
Learning how to become a driver trainer allows you to understand the required licence and certifications. Here are the steps you can take to become a driver trainer:
1. Earn a driver's licence
The first step to becoming a driver trainer involves getting a driver's licence from the driver licencing authority in your state. Complete the necessary qualifications to earn a class C driver's licence, which is a standard licence that allows you to operate a car, van or truck. Research the requirements in your state to learn the qualifications to complete to earn your learning licence and driving licence.
2. Maintain a clean driving record
To become a driver trainer, it's important that you have a clean driving record. Try to follow the proper road laws by maintaining the proper speed limit and keeping other vehicles and pedestrians safe. As a driver trainer, your goal is to teach new drivers how to abide by the road laws, so an employer may prefer hiring a driver trainer who has an excellent driving history.
Most driver trainers typically also possess a personal driver's licence for at least one year prior to applying for a driver trainer position. Depending on your exact geographic location, you may need to hold a valid driver's licence for closer to three or four years instead.
3. Undergo a background check
The licencing authority typically reviews not only your driving record but also your criminal history. Although having a criminal record doesn't automatically disqualify you from becoming a driver trainer, it may prefer not to award driver trainer status to individuals with current pending charges or previous convictions for criminal offences. It's important to be honest during this part of the application process and help the authority truthfully assess your record.
4. Apply for a WWC
If you want to teach driving to teenagers, apply for a Working with Children Check (WCC). This is a screening process required for all adult professionals who work with minors. While not all driver trainers work with minors, many of them do teach teenagers hoping to receive their first driver's licence. In some geographic regions, you may need a suitability or blue card either in addition or instead of a WCC.
5. Complete training course
Successfully complete a training course that allows you to earn your Certificate IV in Transport and Logistics (Road Transport—Car Driving Instruction). This is the course most often required for driver trainers throughout the country.
Depending on where you live and what type of driving classes you want to teach, you might need to complete additional training courses too. For example, if you want to teach students how to drive trucks or buses, you may want to take extra classes to earn your Certificate IV in Transport and Logistics (Road Transport—Heavy Vehicle Driving Instruction).
6. Receive and regularly renew accreditation
After completing all requirements, apply for your driver trainer's accreditation. This accreditation lasts for 12 months, so it's important to remember to renew it annually. Renewal processes can vary by region, but may involve periodically taking refresher courses or completing exams with updated driving regulations.
Driver trainer skills
Here are the skills that you may use when working as a driver trainer:
Knowledge of regulations
A driver trainer possesses exemplary knowledge of their region's traffic regulations. This includes understanding the best practices related to keeping both yourself and pedestrians or other drivers safe while on the road. Thorough knowledge of driving regulations and practices can help driver trainers provide their students with detailed and accurate information.
As instructors, driver trainers understand how to explain various driving regulations and processes in ways that best suit different learning styles clearly. They also know how to give their students positive yet constructive feedback. Communication skills like persuasion, confidence, empathy and concision can aid driver trainers in successful interactions with their students. Driver trainers often interact with their students through a range of communication channels, including in-person, by email and through written feedback on their assignments.
Many driver trainers teach students with limited to no driving experience. They may also sometimes teach students with additional challenges, such as those for whom English is a second language. Having patience can help these trainers make sure they're explaining the course materials thoroughly, even if that involves repeating information or explaining the same facts in several ways. Patience can also help driver trainers stay calm when doing practical driving lessons, such as when they supervise students taking practice drives.
Some students may have an array of questions or anxieties related to learning how to drive. Driver trainers use active listening skills to understand their students' concerns and provide them with accurate or empathetic responses. Driver trainers can use various signals to demonstrate that they're listening to their students, such as nodding when the students speak or making eye contact.
Willingness to learn
It's important for driver trainers to continually stay up-to-date on the latest changes to their region's traffic regulations. This can help them not only maintain a clean driving record, but successfully renew their accreditation each year. A willingness to learn may provide driver trainers with the motivation to learn new information related to driving laws and best practices continually.
Average salary for driver trainers
The national average salary for a driver trainer is $92,661 per year. A driver trainer's annual income can vary based on a range of factors, including what type of driving or students they teach. Other factors that can affect the individual salaries of driver trainers include years of experience, education and geographic location.
FAQs about driver trainers
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about driver trainers:
What's the work environment like for driver trainers?
Driver trainers often get to work in a dynamic work environment. They typically spend part of their days in a classroom lecturing or leading group discussions. Many driver trainers also help their students learn practical driving skills, which often involves getting into an actual vehicle and having the student drive while the driver trainer provides instruction. In addition, driver trainers may conduct some of their responsibilities at home or remotely, like preparing their lesson plans or grading assignments.
Is it hard to become a driver trainer?
Becoming a driver trainer can be challenging, as it involves developing an in-depth knowledge of both driving regulation and teaching methodologies. Despite these potential challenges, many driver trainers enjoy being able to serve as a mentor to a diverse body of students. They also frequently appreciate the chance to experience different work environments and conduct various tasks every day that are mentally stimulating.
How do I become a driver trainer for motorcycle driving?
Although the process for becoming a driver trainer can vary by region, most aspiring driver trainers who want to teach students about motorcycle driving complete steps that are similar to other types of driver trainers. Driver trainers who teach students how to operate motorcycles safely usually need a Certificate IV in Transport and Logistics (Road Transport—Motorcycle Riding Instruction). Professionals typically take a training course to earn this certificate.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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