How to Become a Defensive Driver Instructor

fewqfwqeThe value of a certified defensive driving instructor cannot be overstated. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there are over 200,000 auto collisions in the state of Florida each year. Many of these collisions end in injury or fatality. If it weren’t for highly qualified and trained instructors, then the number of car crashes would be higher.

Your role as a driving instructor is to ensure that drivers learn how to operate a vehicle safely and legally on the road. If you are interested in becoming a certified defensive driving instructor, then there are a few steps you will need to take to secure a teaching position. Your certificate will be issued by the state of Florida and allows you teach in any private or government facility that offers driving courses.

What Is a Driver Instructor?

A driving instructor teaches people how to safely and legally operate different types of motor vehicles. Their expertise ranges from beginning classes for first-time drivers to people who are acquiring specialized driver’s licenses such as a CDL license. They cover several topics in their classes such as traffic laws, safety measures, vehicle repair & maintenance and defensive driving. Driving instructors offer education in classrooms complete with textbooks and other literature. In some situation, instructors may also offer online courses. All teachers must be trained and state-certified. You can see the differences between real and make-believe instructors when you compare the Jamie Foxx version of a teacher in his episode Traffic School Daze vs. Real Traffic School.

Minimum Requirements for Certification

To become a certified driving instructor, you must first meet some minimum state requirements. All applicants must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. In the state of Florida, the minimum age for certification is 19 to teach in the classroom and 21 for hands-on instruction behind the wheel. You must also have a valid driver’s license and several years of personal or professional driving experience.

Specialized Driving Certification

Most instructors try to earn a basic certification combined with specialization in certain areas. This opens up job opportunities and gives them a well-rounded education. General education would include non-commercial vehicles such as sedans, vans, SUVs, pickup trucks, scooters, and motorcycles. For someone wanting to go into commercial education, they would become certified in teaching passenger buses, emergency vehicles, larger diesel trucks, or construction and agricultural vehicles. Some areas of certification will require the instructor to hold a certain of license. For example, an ambulance instructor may be required to hold a license to operate that vehicle.

Certification Training Courses

Once you’ve met the minimum requirements and have chosen your specialized field, you’re now ready to take classes. Driving certification courses are often held in public places such as government agencies or college campuses. The length and intensity of training differ with each class. In most cases, course duration will last anywhere from two days to two weeks. You will be responsible for purchasing all textbooks and other materials needed for the classes. Your education requirements will be determined by the amount of training and experience you currently have.

The Application Process

Once your courses are completed you will be eligible to apply for a state license to teach. The application process includes filling out all information and paying the state fees for consideration. Applicants will also submit a copy of their diploma or GED credentials and current copy of their driver’s license. You will also have to undergo a criminal background check and a driving record check. If everything is approved and you have met all the qualifications, you will be ready to receive your certification as a defensive driving instructor.

It’s Time to Find a Defensive Driving Instructor Job

There are several direct driving instructor jobs and some related careers that your certification will make you eligible for. Many of these jobs will be open in government agencies. You’ll also be qualified to teach for some companies such as truck driving companies who will in-house trainers. Your own training and personal experience will determine the opportunities available to you and how much compensation you can expect to receive.

Published by Kidal Delonix (1189 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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