Guide to becoming a driving instructor

Learn to teach

How to become a driving instructor

Starting a career as a driving instructor can be a bit daunting when you're first starting out. Lots of jargon and abbreviations can make it impenetrable for prospective student instructors but never fear. We're on hand to try to cut though the noise and help make the process as simple as we can with our step by step guide.


  1. Apply to become a driving instructor
  2. Before you can begin training to become a driving instructor, you must first register with the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). To do this you must be over 21 years old and have held a driving licence for over three years, without holding any motoring convictions. You must also get a new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to start your application, even if you already have one.


    Check you are eligible to become a driving instructor on the DVSA website


  3. Get a trainer
  4. Officially you aren't required to have any training before you take the ADI tests to become a driving instructor but, as with all specialist careers, most would find it very difficult to pass the tests without any bespoke training.


    Revolutionary, industry leading driving instructor training from our experts at BSM, offers a concentrated programme to help you become a licensed ADI fast and at a low cost. As well as preparing you for the test, the course will teach you about some of the practicalities of being a driving instructor such as managing your diary and retaining your pupils. Of course, other driving instructor training courses are available.


  5. Take the theory test ( ADI part 1 )
  6. How much does it cost?

    The ADI part 1 test costs £81


    What to take to your test

    You must take your UK photocard driving licence to your test. If you have a licence from Northern Ireland, bring the photocard and paper counterpart licence.


    The test

    The test is split into two parts:


    1. Multiple-choice questions
    2. You will be asked 100 questions and will need to score a minimum of 80% in each of the 5 categories:

      • The Highway Code
      • Know you traffic signs
      • Driving - the essential skills
      • The official theory test for approved driving instructors pack
      • The Driving Instructor's Handbook

    3. Hazard perception test
    4. You will watch 14 video clips featuring everyday road scenes and ‘developing hazards’. Click the mouse to get up to 5 points for spotting each the developing hazards as soon as they start to happen. You will need to score a minimum of 76% to complete the test.


  7. Take the driving ability test (ADI part 2)
  8. How much does it cost?

    The ADI part 2 test costs £111


    The car

    Your car must comply with the DVSA standards, the test will be cancelled and you’ll have to pay again if your car does not meet the rules.


    What happens during the test

    The test takes around one hour and there are 5 parts to the (ADI) part 2 test:

    • An eyesight check
    • 'Show me, tell me' vehicle safety questions
    • General driving ability
    • Manoeuvres
    • Independent driving

    The result

    To pass your ADI part 2 test you must record:

    • No more than 6 driving faults
    • No serious or dangerous faults

    The examiner will tell you what faults you made. You can take the test again if you fail at either your first or second attempt. If you fail at the third attempt you will have to wait 2 years from when you first passed the ADI part 1 test before you can take it again.


    The Cardington Special Test

    You can take the voluntary Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) special test if you’re an approved driving instructor (ADI) or a fully qualified motorcycle instructor. The DVSA special test will test your skills to the highest standard.


  9. Choose your pathway
  10. Once your training for BSM is completed you will have the option to:
    Become a Fully Qualified Driving Instructor

    Complete all your DVSA qualification tests including Part 3

    1. Part 1 - Theory and hazard perception
    2. Part 2 - Driving ability
    3. Part 3 - Instructional ability
    Become a Trainee Driving Instructor

    Increase your teaching experience further, delivering real learner lessons in a BSM car under the official DVSA Trainee Instructor Licence Scheme before attempting your Part 3

To apply for the DVSA Trainee Instructor Licence you’ll need to pass your Part 1 and Part 2

Undertake at least 40 hours of training with a driving instructor trainer (provided with the BSM course)

Your PDI trainee instructor licence (The Pink Badge) provides you with a 6-month opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills delivering real driving lessons to paying learner drivers.

  • Take the instructional ability test (ADI part 3)
  • How much does it cost?

    The ADI part 3 test costs £111


    The test

    A DVSA examiner will observe you conducting a 1 hour lesson with a pupil. The person you teach can be an actual learner, or someone who already has a licence. Note that they cannot be another trainee ADI.


    During the test you will be marked out of 3 across 17 different areas broken into Lesson planning, Risk Management and Teaching and learning strategies. For a full breakdown of each of the 17 areas, check out the Part 3 test report form on the DVSA website.


  • Register and start work as a fully qualified instructor
  • Once you've passed the tests you must register within 12 months and getting your first ADI certificate from the DVSA costs around £300.


    When you have your certificate you can start charging for lessons. You can either:



    You'll also have at least one standards check as well as make sure you renew your registration and get a new DBS check every 4 years.