Firstly you need to meet some initial requirements from the DVSA to become a driving instructor. These are:
- Over 21 years old
- Had your driving licence for 3+ years
- Have less than 6 points on your licence
- Be able to read a car registration plate from a distance of 26.5 metres off a vehicle with a new style number plate. That’s a number plate that starts with two letters followed by two numbers like AA22 ABC.
If you meet those criteria you can apply online through the DVSA website; click here for a Disclosure and barring service (DBS) check which you will also need to pass.
Apply through the DVSA website; click here to become a Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) and gain your personal reference number (PRN) which you will keep throughout your career.
Once you have your PRN you can begin to apply to take the 3 tests to become a driving instructor.
You can begin training with your trainer for any of the 3 tests at any point. Training can take place at the rate and times that suit you; sometimes the delay to getting qualified can be availability of tests, particularly at Part 2 and Part 3.
The Part 1 Test – Theory Knowledge
The first test to become a driving instructor is the theory test. This involves 2 elements.
- Answering 100 multiple choice questions which are split into 4 categories of 25 questions.
- road procedure
- traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians and mechanical knowledge
- driving test, disabilities, and the law
- publications and instructional techniques
You need to score 85/100 overall and also score at least 20/25 in each category
2) A hazard perception test. You’ll be shown a sequence of 14 videos and you have to identify the developing hazard in each of the 14 videos. One of the videos has two hazards in. You score the highest points if you spot the hazard early.
There are 15 hazards in total, each having a maximum score of 5 points and you have to score 57/75 to pass this section.
If you pass you will be able to book the Part 2 test. If you fail, you can rebook but not within 3 days. You have unlimited attempts at this part.
Once you pass your theory test you begin a 2 year countdown in which you have to complete all the tests and become fully qualified.
The Part 2 Test – Driving ability
This test is an hour long test of your driving ability. Unlike the theory test you only have 3 attempts at this test or else your application to become a driving instructor is ended. You can reapply but you have to wait a minimum of two years from the date you passed the theory test.
What car can I use?
This is the advice from the DVSA website.
When you take a test, your car must:
- be taxed
- be insured for a driving test (check with your insurance company)
- have no warning lights showing, for example, the airbag warning light
- be roadworthy and have a current MOT (if it’s over 3 years old)
- have no tyre damage and the legal tread depth on each tyre – you cannot have a space-saver spare tyre fitted
- be smoke-free – this means you cannot smoke in it just before or during the test
- be able to reach at least 62mph and have an mph speedometer
- have 4 wheels and a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of no more than 3,500 kg
You may choose to use your own vehicle for this or your trainer’s vehicle.
There are 5 parts to the part 2 test:
The eyesight test
Required read a number plate from a distance of:
- 26.5 metres for vehicles with a new-style number plate
- 27.5 metres for vehicles with an old-style number plate
If you can’t pass this you will fail and it counts as one of your three attempts.
‘Show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions
You’ll be asked 5 vehicle safety questions known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions because these that you know how some basic vehicle maintenance and can operate controls in the vehicle while on the move.
You’ll be asked:
- 3 ‘tell me’ questions at the start of your test, before you start driving
- 2 ‘show me’ questions while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers
General driving ability
You are tested on a variety of roads to ensure you are safe, legal and integrate well with other road users. This can range from country lanes to dual carriageways. Local knowledge isn’t expected so the examiner will give you directions of where to proceed unless on the independent driving section.
You will be required to pull over to the left and safely move away a minimum of 3 times (normal, on an uphill, around a parked vehicle in front). Before they begin the independent part of the test, the emergency stop and the parallel park the examiner will also ask you to pull over on the left so they can brief you on what is about to happen. Therefore, you may end up pulling in quite a lot but it’s all part of test procedure.
The examiner will ask you to do 2 of the following exercises:
- parallel park at the side of the road
- reverse into a parking bay and drive out
- drive into a parking bay and reverse out
- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and re-join the traffic
This is where the examiner will ask you to follow directions on a Sat Nav or follow navigational road signs. This section lasts for 20 minutes.
Examiners will provide the Sat Nav for this section and also set up the route. At the end of the test when you have returned to the test centre. You will pass if there are:
- no more than 6 driving faults
- no serious or dangerous faults
The Part 3 Test – Instructional Ability
An examiner will sit in the back of the car and watch you deliver a training session. You have to provide the person you will be training and deliver a lesson that works on goals agreed between you and the student. The test is designed to test your ability to empower your student to create a positive driving plan to deal with hazards and that they accurately and safely use planning and car controls to execute it.
You have 3 attempts to pass this section or your application is ended.
The examiner has 3 categories they will score you on:
- lesson planning
- risk management
- teaching and learning strategies
Each category has a list of competencies each scored out of 3.
This test is marked out of 51.
A score below 30 will be a fail.
A score 31-42 will be a Grade B pass
A score of 43-51 will be a Grade A pass
You will also fail if you score 7 or less in the category for risk management