Train Yourself as a Traffic Teacher

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Driving instructors work with educating new drivers who are seeking to obtain a driver’s license, as well as experienced drivers who want to acquire an additional class of license. As a driving instructor, you have a specific responsibility to ensure that students learn traffic regulations, vehicle maneuvering, and maintaining a positive attitude while on the road. In this article, we will take a closer look at what it’s like to work as a driving instructor and the education required to become one.

This article is based on information available at the time of writing. As information is subject to change at any time, dopidia cannot guarantee its constant accuracy. Please refer to local sources to stay updated on the latest developments regarding this topic.

What Does a Driving Instructor Do?

Your profession revolves around educating both young and older students about driving a vehicle. A driver’s license is a necessity in certain occupations and it opens many doors in society. Obtaining a driver’s license is often seen as a milestone for a young individual. This means that as a driving instructor, you play a significant role in many people’s lives.

Typical tasks for a driving instructor include teaching about:

  • Traffic, the environment, people, and the interaction between these elements
  • How to drive a car, truck, or motorcycle
  • Traffic regulations, responsibilities, and attitudes on the road.

A driving instructor primarily works with education for the B class driver’s license. Eventually, you can pursue further training and provide education in other types of driver’s licenses, such as motorcycles or tr

Historically, a strong emphasis was placed on factual knowledge and basic skills during traffic education. However, today’s driving instructors are more often supervisors. As supervisors, driving instructors ensure that the student gains experience in interacting with other traffic participants and making independent decisions with low risk and high decision quality.

Eligibility for Different Driver’s License Classes

Most driving instructors are trained to supervise those aiming to obtain a B driver’s license. The work of educating these students is relatively foundational. You can either work at a driving school and lead theory courses on regulations and safety, or, as most people associate with driving instructors, you are out on the roads practicing with the student in a car.

It begins with simpler exercises for maneuvering the car in little to no traffic until you progress to driving in urban environments, rush-hour traffic, and on highways. As the student becomes more accustomed to maneuvering the car and understanding traffic regulations, the difficulty of the driving lessons increases.

For those seeking to obtain a motorcycle license, the student first practices on a special track to learn how to handle the motorcycle. Once the student has grasped the balance and how to operate the motorcycle, it’s time to put that knowledge to the test on the road. In this case, as a driving instructor, you ride a motorcycle just behind the student and provide instructions through a radio system built into the helmet.

If you wish to work as a driving instructor for heavier vehicles such as buses or heavy trucks, you need to undergo specific training for this. These trainings last for about 100 hours and require that you are approved as a driving instructor and have worked at a driving school for at least a year. Here is an excerpt from the Swedish Association of Driving Instructors regarding what should be included in this advanced training for driving instructors:

  • Regulations concerning professional traffic
  • Vehicle technology
  • Professional ethics
  • Environment and the connection between driving behavior and environmental impact
  • Overview and application of the Transport Agency’s regulations regarding course plans, Category D eligibility, and Category DE eligibility
  • Overview and application of teaching plans for buses with trailers.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with dopidia.com

Where do driving instructors work?

Driving instructors work at approved driving schools. You can also be a self-employed entrepreneur. Driving instructors can also work as driving test examiners, and knowledgeable traffic safety instructors in schools, in traffic companies, or within public administration. As a driving instructor, you can further your education to become an education leader or eventually a driving school manager.

What is required to become a driving instructor?

To be eligible to apply for training as a driving instructor, you must be at least 21 years old and have held a driver’s license for at least 3 years. Additionally, to be considered a suitable candidate, you must:

  • Not have had your driver’s license revoked for three months or more during the last three years
  • Not have committed repeated traffic offenses or been required to have an alcohol interlock device to continue driving

What did you learn in the training to become a driving instructor?

You study to become a driving instructor through a 1.5-year vocational education program that prepares you for the role of a driving instructor at a driving school. You will learn, among other things, how to establish and contribute to good relationships with and between students from various social and cultural backgrounds. You’ll also learn to plan, motivate, conduct, and evaluate customized driver training by current regulations, teaching plans, and legislation. Typical subjects covered in the driving instructor training include:

  • Traffic education, didactics, and psychology
  • Practical instruction at the driving school (practice teaching)
  • Technology and society
  • Work environment and responsibilities
  • Vehicle safety and the environment
  • Legal knowledge

Work-Based Learning

During your training to become a driving instructor, you will have two periods of what’s known as ‘LIA’ – Learning in Work. In these periods, you will have the opportunity to try out the work under supervision. As this is part of your education, your supervisor is responsible for designing a plan for your work-based learning and holds ultimate responsibility.

Approved by the Swedish Transport Agency

Before you can start working as a driving instructor, you must have completed the driving instructor training and passed the suitability assessment conducted by the Swedish Transport Agency.

  • Traffic psychology.

During the first semester, driving practice is conducted, culminating in a practical driving test. The driving test, the test in traffic education and traffic pedagogy, as well as practical training, must be completed to continue the education.

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Other Roles Within the Driving School

A driving school doesn’t only employ driving instructors. There are also educational leaders, traffic school managers, and, in the case of larger schools, typically receptionists and administrative staff.

The educational leader at a driving school is responsible for organizing educational activities within the school. They also oversee the school’s driving instructors, manage teaching plans, and ensure suitable practice areas.

On the other hand, the head of the driving school holds responsibility for both the educational leaders and the driving instructors at the school. All three positions must be approved by the Swedish Transport Agency. Apart from the right qualifications and experience, an approved aptitude test is also required.

This means that, after working as a driving instructor for a period, you have the opportunity to further your training and potentially become an education manager or even a driving school manager.

Qualities You Need as a Driving Instructor

Here we list some of the qualities and skills that are beneficial to have as a driving instructor. You will learn a lot during your training, but attributes like patience and a calm temperament cannot be taught and are advantageous to possess from the start.

Pedagogical and Communicative

You will learn to interact with various types of students and understand that different individuals have different learning styles. Being flexible and adaptable to the student’s needs is essential. What’s important is that you enjoy teaching and can do it calmly and pedagogically. Excellent communication skills are necessary, to ensure that you can convey instructions and information effectively to the student, even in stressful situations. This becomes even more crucial when training motorcyclists since you aren’t physically present to guide them through challenging situations. You have to rely on your communication skills.

Calm and Confident

A part of your job involves making the student feel secure in the car and on the road. Achieving this requires you to be calm and confident yourself. It’s crucial not to become agitated or raise your voice at a student who makes mistakes or misjudges a traffic situation. They are there to learn, and you are ultimately responsible for the student and their driving experience.

Social

Being able to interact with people of all kinds is vital. You never know who your next student will be, so you must be prepared to engage with anyone. Being sociable helps in your role as a driving instructor. Engaging in small talk about the weather or other topics can help a nervous student relax and focus better during the driving lesson. It also helps establish a professional rapport with the students, making it easier for them to absorb your instructions.

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The Future of Driving Instructors

Many people want to obtain a driver’s license, and finding time for driving lessons can be tricky due to a shortage of driving instructors. If you want to pursue a program that almost guarantees a job immediately after graduation, you have good prospects by becoming a driving instructor. There are ample employment opportunities, and the future outlook is promising. Several older driving instructors are approaching retirement, and there isn’t a sufficient number of new instructors being trained to meet the growing demand.

Considering the high demand, you should have good opportunities to negotiate a favorable salary. After just one year, you can pursue further training and advance your career within the driving instructor profession.

With this, we hope to have answered the question of how to become a driving instructor – outlining the required education and what to expect both during the training and when you start working. Furthermore, we hope to have sparked an interest in an enjoyable profession where no day is the same as the next!

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