Driving Instructor  What They Do

Just the Facts


Insider Info

dotDriving instructors teach the theory and application of safe driving skills. Driving procedures, engine control, defensive driving, pedestrian rights, motor vehicle laws and maintenance tips are covered in class. Road instruction includes vehicle control and reading internal gauges.

dotDriving is all attitude, says John Wright, an instructor with a driving school in San Jose, California. "It's important that you understand that driving really is an accurate display of one's attitude. The same people who are rude to you in the supermarkets -- cutting in line -- show the same attitude on the road. Driving is a great responsibility."

Good instructors know that they're in control of the car. "The only way that a student will learn is to put them in a situation where they might make a mistake," says Ed Rodrigues, a driving instructor. "The key is to allow them to make errors but under the instructor's explicit control. This is a difficult and tricky skill to master."

dotBe prepared for stress. "You better be sure you can really deal with stress because it will take its toll," says instructor Paul Moitinho. "This is the kind of position that easily allows you to take your job home."

Hours vary with the seasons. Moitinho puts in 40 to 50 hours a week during the spring and summer, and about 15 to 20 hours per week in the colder months when there's less demand. Wright averages 40-hour weeks.

Keith Russell operates a school in Durham, North Carolina. Although he doesn't teach much these days, when he does get to work with students "it's still very enjoyable," he says.

At a Glance

Teach people how to drive safely

  • The need for instructors will grow as driver licensing gets tougher
  • You have to be able to deal with stress
  • Each state has its own instructor licensing requirements