By The Acclaim Team on 27th March 2023 in News

Becoming a driving instructor opens up a whole new way of working, with the potential to form and run your own driving school business. Alternatively, you can also work for an existing company like Acclaim Driving, where you can become an integral part of a business, providing joy and satisfaction to pupils looking to pass their driving test. 

Being a driving instructor is a rewarding job, but there are certain obstacles to overcome, learn and consider before making your decision. Having the requisite training and certifications is an obvious starting point, but there are many other things you may not have considered. 

So, we’ve put together this guide that covers all bases, answering all the important questions and answers so that you’re equipped with all the information you need on how to become a driving instructor. 

How to become a driving instructor?

Firstly, like any prospective driving instructor, you must undergo the appropriate training. In order to commence your training, if you haven’t already, you must first register with the Driving and Vehicles Standard Agency (DVSA). 

To do this, you must be over the age of 21 years old and have had a full, valid and clean UK driving licence for a minimum of three years. Obtaining a new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is also required, regardless of if you already have one. 

You can also check your eligibility to become a driving instructor on the DVSA website. Take a look below at what benefits you can get from taking a driving instructor training course. 

Driving instructor training courses

Although it is not an actual requirement to do so to take the three approved driving instructor (ADI) tests you’ll need in order to pass, investing time and money into a driving instructor training course is a safe bet. It will equip you with all the skills, knowledge and experience that will be invaluable for you to thrive when it comes to sitting your ADI tests. 

Acclaim Driving has a host of flexible driving instructor training courses options available for you to choose from. There are three approved driving instructor (ADI) tests required to pass. In order to fulfil your training you will need to pay and achieve the minimum pass mark in all three areas to pass and become a qualified driving instructor. 

Read through our extensive FAQs on each of the three tests you’ll need to take in order to become a driving instructor. 

What is the driving instructor theory test?

The first of the three tests required to become a driving instructor is the theory test. The theory test covers the same areas as the standard theory test for learner drivers to pass, with multiple-choice questions, followed by the hazard perception test. The driving instructor theory test has the following composition: 

  • 100 multiple-choice questions overall. 

  • 90 minutes to complete the test. 

  • 25 questions on four key subject areas: 


Road procedure

  • Traffic signs and signals, car control, pedestrians and mechanical knowledge
  • Driving test, disabilities, and the law
  • Publications and instructional techniques

The hazard perception test contains 14 clips, featuring everyday scenarios that drivers will encounter. Each clip will contain a developing hazard, with one clip containing two developing hazards. You can score a maximum of five points per each developing hazard. 

What do I need to achieve the pass rate? 

You’ll need to achieve a minimum score of 80% or higher to pass the multiple-choice questions stage.The hazard perception part of the test requires a 76% pass rate. 

How much is the theory test?

To sit the theory test exam, the price is £81. Once you have passed your theory test, you will need to complete all remaining parts of the test within two years from the day you are awarded the theory test pass certificate. 

What is the driving ability test?

The second part of the test is the actual driving ability test, which will examine key areas that you’ll need to prove you are competent in to pass. The test is one hour long and examines 5 areas as outlined below: 

  • Check of eyesight
  • General driving abilities 
  • Driving independently
  • Vehicle safety questions (Known as Show me, tell me)
  • Performing manoeuvres correctly 

What do I need to achieve a pass? 

You will need to ensure you do not commit any more than six minor faults during the examination. If you are perceived to have committed any serious or dangerous faults, you will automatically fail and need to resit the test. 

What happens if I fail multiple times? 

Initially, you are allowed to resit the test if you fail to pass on your first or second try. If you still fail to pass after this, then you must wait two years from the date you originally passed the ADI theory test before you can retake it.

Do I need my own car? 

You can use any car, as long as it complies with DVSA standards. If the vehicle is not deemed to meet the specified requirements, your test will be cancelled and you will need to pay again to sit the test. 

How much does the ADI driving ability test cost?

This part of the test has a fee of £111.


What are the next steps to becoming a driving instructor?

After passing part 2 of the approved driving instructors test, you are then eligible to apply for a trainee driving instructor’s licence. To do so, you must demonstrate ta: 

  • Passed your ADI part 1 test in the last 2 years.

  • Completed the ADI part 2 test.

  • Carried out at least 40 hours of training from a qualified ADI in providing driving instruction (at least 10 of which were done in a car) recorded on the ADI 21T declaration form

  • Are eligible to take the ADI part 3 test.

If successful, your trainee licence lasts for a period of six months, and you can train pupils during this period, helping you establish more experience ahead of the third and final test that you are required to pass.

Many driving schools offer training packages and bundles that incorporate classroom training, in-car training and self-evaluation, along with some study from home. Depending on the option you choose will determine how quickly you can become approved. You can pay gradually for each stage of the process, with training and the test fees covered. Or, some providers offer a complete training package, which covers all modules, training and test fees for a fixed fee. 

What is the instructional ability test?

Once you have had time to gain some experience as a trainee driving instructor, the final part of the ADI test is the instructional ability test. During the test you will be examined by a DVSA-approved examiner whilst you give a client-centred driving lesson. 

Initially, you must give a 3-minute introduction to your pupil to outline the goals and aims of the lesson. Your pupil must then drive for 40 minutes as part of the lesson. 


What should I consider for the test?

The pupil that is part of your test must meet certain requirements. Your pupil can be a partly trained learner, a fully trained learner, or a full licence holder. However, your pupil cannot be a learner who has just started to learn to drive. Your pupil should not be an approved driving instructor or somebody who is awaiting to sit their instructional ability test themselves. 


How will I be marked? 

You will be assessed across three separate categories: 

  • Lesson Planning

  • Risk Management

  • Teaching and Learning Strategies

You will be scored against 17 areas of competence located within the ADI Part 3 report form. The examiner will mark each score between 0 to 3, and this will be added up to determine the overall score. 

What do I need to score to pass?

Upon completion of the test, the examiner will share his thoughts on your performance and inform you of your overall score. Your score will determine if you have been successful or not. 

Total Score





Unsatisfactory performance; you will not be able to join the ADI register.


Grade B

You’ll be allowed to join the ADI register.


Grade A

You have demonstrated an exceptional level of driving instruction and will be permitted to join the ADI register. 


How else can I fail?

You will automatically be failed if you only achieve a score of 7 or less in the ‘risk management’ category. Or if the examiner stops the lesson because you’ve put yourself or someone else in danger. 

Is becoming a driving instructor worth it? 

Becoming a driving instructor has a variety of advantages, such as working for yourself. As a result, it is ideal for those who value independence because it enables you to take charge of and manage your own workload and time effectively at a pace that suits you. This helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance, so you can tailor your availability and working hours at your own convenience. 

Equally, if working long hours is something you aren’t averse to, then this can be a lucrative profession. You can dictate exactly how many hours you do and when, or even increase or decrease your hours at certain times to suit you. 


How long does it take to become a driving instructor?

On average, it is estimated that the length of time it takes to train and then pass each of the three exams required is a period of 6-12 months. However, the length of time it takes can vary, depending on what course method you choose to take. There are options to take training courses and tests together, which condenses the timeframe considerably in which you can become approved. 

Equally, individual factors largely determine the length of time it can take. Depending on experience and knowledge can vary from person to person. Those with confidence and an ability to master and learn the requisite skills quickly are likely to need less training time. You could learn in as little as three months or spread it out over a twelve-month period. Each individual will tailor their training and exams to suit their own needs. 


How much does a driving instructor make? 

The average annual salary of a driving instructor in the UK is £31,852. Salaries can vary depending on experience. Entry-level salaries are estimated to be £29,074 per year, whilst experienced instructors can earn in excess of £40,000. 


Becoming a driving instructor with Acclaim Driving

At Acclaim Driving, we have a range of driving instructor training courses available. You can choose from a selection of plans tailored to your requirements. 

Check our range of plans to find the one that suits you most. With locations nationwide, you can pick and choose what suits you. Our delivery is flexible, agile and suitable for all. 

For more information, please contact us today, and our wonderful team will be happy to assist you with any queries you may have.