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Becoming an Approved Driving Instructor

To become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) you will first need to apply to join the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) Register (the Register). You will then have to pass the three parts of the qualifying examination to become an ADI.

What an ADI does

Being an ADI involves more than teaching someone to drive a vehicle. You will be responsible for developing a high standard of driving behaviour among new drivers, many of whom are young and inexperienced.

As an ADI you will be expected to show a:

  • high regard for all aspects of road safety
  • high standard of driving and instructional ability
  • professional approach to your customers
  • responsible attitude to your pupils and profession

Deciding if a career as an ADI is for you

A career as an ADI is very demanding, but can also be very rewarding. The job requires patience and understanding, and the ability to get on with people. You will also need:

  • a thorough knowledge of the theory and practice of driving
  • an ability to teach
  • the ability to provide a professional service to people from different backgrounds
  • business sense

The nature of the ADI business means that you may have to work unsociable hours to fit in with your pupils’ needs. You must be able to teach the last lesson of the day as professionally as the first. You will be responsible for your own safety, and that of your pupils and other road users.

Registering as a potential driving instructor

You will be accepted onto the Register if you:

  • hold a full UK, European Union or European Economic Area unrestricted car driving licence
  • have held the car driving licence for at least four out of the previous six years prior to joining the Register after qualifying
  • have not been disqualified from driving at any time in the four years prior to joining the Register
  • are a ‘fit and proper’ person to have your name entered on the Register

All spent and unspent convictions, motoring and non-motoring will be taken into account when DSA assesses your suitability to be entered on the Register. This includes fixed penalties such as speeding.

Criminal record checks

You will need to have a criminal record check if you are:

  • applying to become a PDI
  • an existing ADI applying to extend your registration
  • an existing ADI wanting to re-register

The DSA uses the Criminal Records Bureau for obtaining criminal record checks of people in England and Wales, and Disclosure Scotland for people in Scotland.

Qualifying tests and registration

The qualifying process consists of three tests:

  • theory (part one)
  • driving ability assessment (part two)
  • test of instructional ability (part three)

You will have to pass all three parts of the qualifying examination to become an ADI. After passing part one, you have two years in which to complete and pass the remaining two parts.

You must apply for registration as an ADI within 12 months of passing the final part of the qualifying examination. The qualifying process is not easy. Failure to pass both practical exams within the two-year period, or not applying for ADI registration within 12 months of passing the final exam, will mean starting the process again from the beginning.

How to apply

If you are still interested in becoming a driving instructor, more information about how to apply is available on Business Link.

Applying if you have a disability

If you have a disability, you can still apply to become an ADI. If you hold an unrestricted driving licence, you can apply as normal. If your driving licence is limited to driving automatics, you can only give instruction in cars with automatic transmission.

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