Learn To Become A Driving Instructor

Our guide to becoming a Driving Instructor

Are you an Instructor? Want to join our Team?

Become A Driving Instructor


So you are thinking of becoming an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor)? It is a worthy and rewarding career … but may not be as easy as you think. Out of every 100 people who initially apply to be a driving instructor, only about 6 will actually qualify.

If you really enjoy driving and you are a good driver … you have some of the qualities needed to be an instructor. But, more importantly, you have to enjoy teaching. You have to be able to convey information in different ways, tailor your teaching methods to suit different pupils, understand how others learn, and assess other people’s performance. You must have good communication and interpersonal skills. Obviously, you must have a lot of patience. You must know everything there is to know about driving and be able to answer any question you might get asked! Ideally you’d be a calm person, with a sense of humour. A warm and friendly person; someone a nervous pupil will feel at ease with.

To begin with, you must apply to join the ‘Register of Approved Driving Instructors’. You have to provide 2 references. To apply for the register, you must meet the following criteria:

• Have held a full UK or European driving licence for at least four years, and not been disqualified during this period.

• Be a ‘fit and proper’ person. (They will take into account motoring and non-motoring convictions to assess your suitability. You will have an enhanced level criminal record check).

Ideally you would have no points on your licence, but three may be OK.

Once you have been accepted onto the register, the fun begins! There are three exams to pass successfully in order to qualify to be an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).

Once you have passed the first exam, which you can attempt as many times as you need, you have a two year period to pass the other two. The other two exams can only be attempted three times. If you fail either exam three times you have to wait two years and then, if you wish, you may take all 3 exams again, starting from the first.

Click to apply to become a driving instructor online now, or continue reading for more information about the exams, trainee licenses, your work options when you pass, and the cost of training to become an ADI.


There are three exams you must pass in order to become a driving instructor.


The first is an advanced theory and hazard-perception computer-based test. This can be attempted as many times as you need. You must gain an overall pass rate of 85%, and a minimum of 80% in each of the four bands. It is therefore possible to get an overall pass rate of over 85% but still fail if you didn’t get 80% in one of the bands. You must get a minimum of 57 out of 75 in the hazard perception. If you fail the hazard perception but pass the theory, or vise-versa, you will fail and have to re-take both parts. The pass rate is about 50% for part 1.


The second exam is an advanced driving test. You must show you can drive to a very high standard. You are expected to perform a ‘brisk, business-like and confident drive’, and demonstrate not only making progress but fuel economy. You should be able to cope with any road situation and show tolerance and due regard and consideration for other road users. You must have excellent forward planning and hazard perception skills. You must have a detailed understanding of road procedures and the reasoning behind the rules. 

Firstly, you must read a number plate from a distance of 26.5 metres. If you cannot do this you will fail immediately and that will count towards one of your attempts. The ‘show me – tell me’ safety questions will now be asked to you in stages: 3 ‘tell me’ questions before the test starts and 2 ‘show me’ questions whilst on the move during your test. You will get a minor fault marked for each question that you answer incorrectly. View the ADI Part 2 Show Me Tell Me questions here. You will have a one hour test, during which you may only make a maximum of 6 minor faults. You will be expected to drive to a very high standard and demonstrate excellent judgement, anticipation and consideration skills as well as drive in an eco-friendly manor. The advanced driving test will incorporate a variety of road and traffic conditions. You must perform 2 of the reversing exercises, plus some or all of the other exercises such as emergency stop, moving off at an angle, downhill starts, etc. You will have a 20 minute section of independent driving where you will be asked to follow a sat-nav or road signs to a destination. 

You must pass all parts of the part 2 test at the same time. You can take this test a maximum of three times in any two year period, after having passed the theory exam in that same period. About 44% of people who take the part 2 test pass.


The third exam is a test of your instructional ability. The examiner will test this by sitting in on a lesson that you are conducting. They will be assessing how you conduct and teach the lesson and how you manage risk assessment during the lesson. The pupil that you use can be a learner or a full licence holder. The lesson should last about an hour. You will be marked in 17 areas of competence, grouped into ‘Lesson Planning’, ‘Risk Management’, and ‘Teaching and Learning Strategies’. 

You must be able to give detailed and clear briefings on various subjects at the beginning of the lesson, and, more importantly, be able to teach them to the pupil depending on what their experience is and what sort of personality they have. At first a beginner pupil might need a demonstration and a full talk-through while they attempt to perform the exercise (say, bay park). You might then prompt them on the next attempt. The aim is to try and get the pupil to perform the exercise unaided, although this may not be possible in the exam, particularly as you only have a short time to do the briefing and the practical. One of the most important elements of the Part 3 exam is the ‘core competencies’. This means being able to identify a fault made by the pupil, analyse it, and give remedial action to stop them doing it again. The core competencies are often overlooked by instructors teaching the part three, but you must be competent in this as well as giving the briefings in order to pass the exam. Another big area that causes a lot of instructors to fail is the ‘risk assessment’ part of the test, whereby you must discuss and specify with the pupil who has responsibility for what during the lesson depending on their ability etc. 

To pass this exam takes a lot of knowledge and skill. You have three attempts at passing Part 3. If you fail three times you must wait two years from when you passed your theory test and then you can take all three exams again. If you have taken two years to get to taking the part three exam you could re-take all the exams straight away. Of all the people who attempt part 3, about 28% pass.

Here’s a link to the rules for the examiners conducting the Part 2 and Part 3 tests


Once you have passed your Part 2, you can if you wish apply for a PDI (potential driving instructor) trainee licence. They are pink in colour. You must be sponsored by an ADI to do this (there must be 1 ADI in the driving school who sponsor you for every PDI they sponsor), and it will mean you can then instruct learners, and gain experience for your Part 3 exam. You can also be paid for teaching, (you must display your pink badge while teaching). A trainee licence only lasts six months and usually only one will be granted in a two year qualifying period. If you fail three attempts at part 3 while the licence is still valid, it will expire and may not be used to teach. If you choose to apply for a trainee licence, there are conditions:

• You may only instruct pupils who belong to the school who have sponsored you

• You must not advertise yourself as a qualified instructor


Once you have passed your three exams and are on the register of approved driving instructors, you can look forward to a rewarding career. You will be your own boss and can decide your own hours. You can work for yourself or take out a franchise with a driving school. You have several options:

If you were sponsored by a driving school on a trainee licence, you may wish to continue working for them, or, you can work for yourself. There are many adverts at the moment promising a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Unfortunately, they fail to tell the whole story.

Some of the large driving schools at the moment charge around £300 per week franchise fees. You will sign a contract in which you must pay this amount weekly to them and in return you get hire of the car, and use of the company name. You also of course benefit from their advertising, which could be TV/Radio/.  They do not usually guarantee you pupils. If they do supply you with pupils, they may charge you a pupil generation fee (this could be £15/£20 per pupil or more). Also beware of being tied in to a long contract with some schools. You may want to leave but not be able to for a year or so unless you pay a big get out fee.

Remember: a good driving instructor never needs to advertise; they will literally have people queuing at their door from word of mouth alone.

Another option is a franchise deal where you supply your own car/servicing/insurance etc, and the franchise fee that you pay is just for use of the company’s advertising and name. They usually supply roof signs for the car. They may also charge pupil generation fees. These franchise fees will be a lot lower than ones where you hire a car through the school. It would depend on where you live etc, but you’re looking at about £90 a week for an established company with good advertising, (plus pupil generation fees of around £18 per pupil).

Another option is to set up on your own and work for yourself. This means it could be hard at first while you start up your advertising and word of mouth spreads. You will need to supply your own car, have dual controls fitted if you wish, have your own insurance, pay for your servicing costs, do your own advertising, supply your own stationary … basically fund and set up everything yourself.

Different people go for different options depending on their circumstances and finances, so it is up to you to research well and look carefully at all the options. 

Some franchise schools supply you with the accounting / book-keeping records, but others don’t. You will be self-employed so you must understand how to do your own accounts for the tax-man.

You can find details about Jennifer’s Driving School franchise here


There are many horror stories of people who pay a small fortune up-front and then do not get the adequate training required. They then fail their exams and lose a lot of money. There is a lot to consider when deciding who to train with:

• Do you want to be tied into staying with a company for a long period of time, even if you end up being unhappy with their tuition?

• Do the company give more in-car tuition, or more classroom-based tuition?

• Do they give you one to one in car tuition, or is there more than one trainee in the car?

• How much are their fees, and do you pay for it all up-front?

Although I do not offer training packages, I can help with ADI Part 2 training and offer extra lessons to people who might feel they haven’t quite learnt enough from their training school. This is £40 per hour and usually done in the trainee’s car as they will be using this for their exam