DRIVING SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR
Requirements, For Further InformationSalary, Outlook
Most everyone needs to learn how to drive, and most learn from an experienced instructor. Driving instructor is one of the more specialized careers for those who like to drive, given the specific skills it requires. Chief among those skills is patience, since driving instructors spend every day dealing with people who are just beginning to operate vehicles.
To do this job well, you need to like people and have an ability to effectively communicate with them. Your personality has to be engaging so that the student receives the lesson in a positive manner. Remember your own experiences learning from an instructor? Or your parents? What would you do differently if you were to become an instructor?
As a driving instructor, you will be called upon not only to get in the car with students but also to give them the necessary classroom instruction. For many drivers, this is the first time they are given a thorough understanding of how a car works. They're taught what each part of the vehicle does and what to do should a part of the car fail to operate properly. They are usually taught basic safety instructions regarding what to do should they break down on a street or highway. Some instructors will teach how to properly change a tire in case of a flat.
Safety is perhaps the most important element stressed in class. Students are usually shown a film or video of car accidents, demonstrating what was done right or wrong and how to prevent accidents from occurring. As an instructor, you need to make sure the message gets through to your students.
On the road, you will generally be working in a driving-school vehicle outfitted with a special braking device on the front passenger side of the car. This dual brake gives the instructor the chance to stop the car should the driver make a serious error. It's there as a fail-safe device to protect student, instructor, any passengers, and pedestrians.
You will need to carefully show the driver how to park, make three-point turns, use the rearview and sideview mirrors, change lanes, operate a car on a highway, and so on. You will normally have about thirty classroom hours, in addition to eight to ten hours of actual driving time, with each student. This gives you thirty-eight hours to teach lessons that students will use for the rest of their lives. Therefore, this is an extremely important profession and should not be entered into lightly.
If you like the idea of teaching as a profession, be aware that your students may not be limited to beginning drivers. Certain models of cars earn a huge amount of devotion, and people form clubs around them. These clubs hire driving instructors to help them learn how to get the best performance from the cars.
You could also become a specialist in a particular area, such as racing, and work with professional drivers. Many race car drivers, when they choose to stop racing, become instructors for the next generation of drivers. Similarly, stunt drivers also open schools to teach people.
Driving instructors usually earn in the range of $15 per hour or per driving session. Most driving schools are privately owned so the salary ranges differ from region to region. Instructors who take students out on the road are generally paid per session regardless of time involved (going to and from the student's location plus lesson time). These can pay as high as $18 per class.
The number of people who need to learn to drive will not diminish, so this should be a safe profession to enter into. Many insurance carriers offer lower rates to their customers who have logged hours with a driving instructor.
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