Driving Instructor

Driving instructors teach the knowledge and skills required to safely operate vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, transport trucks and buses.

Also Known As:Auto Driving Instructor, Educator, Instructor, Teacher, Truck Driving Instructor
NOC Number(s):4216.1
Minimum Education:Education/training requirements vary
Employment Outlook:Job openings: turnover plus new jobs due to above average growth in occupation in Alberta 2013-2017
Interests:S D M

Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Related Legislation | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study


Driving instructors teach traffic laws and safety in a classroom setting and help students practice driving skills behind the wheel. Most driving instructors teach inexperienced drivers how to safely operate cars and light trucks. Some teach experienced drivers how to operate special types of vehicles such as motorcycles, large trucks or buses.

When teaching beginners how to operate a vehicle, instructors generally cover the following types of subjects in the classroom:

  • traffic rules and regulations
  • highway markings, signs and signals
  • driver and pedestrian rights
  • vehicle control and maintenance
  • defensive and proactive driving attitudes and techniques
  • how to proceed near bicycles and motorcycles
  • how to drive in adverse weather conditions
  • emergency and first aid measures
  • the effects of drugs and alcohol on drivers
  • motor vehicle insurance requirements
  • safe and proper use of seat belts.

Then driving instructors work with students individually to give them first-hand driving experience and help them develop defensive and proactive driving habits. Sitting next to student drivers in cars and light trucks, instructors show them how to:

  • adjust seats and rear view mirrors
  • use the emergency brake
  • use turn signals
  • interpret dashboard instruments
  • start the vehicle
  • check traffic and move forward
  • use safe and proper braking methods 
  • put the vehicle in reverse
  • do shoulder checks
  • make turns and change lanes
  • merge into traffic and exit freeways
  • park
  • handle the vehicle safely in all traffic conditions
  • handle situations in which other drivers are not driving safely or courteously.

In larger vehicles, instructors show students how to conduct pre-trip inspections, operate air brakes, back up and couple and uncouple trailers as required.

Working Conditions

Driving instructors' working hours must be flexible enough to suit student needs. Evening and weekend work is generally required. Instructors may work long hours during the summer months and fewer hours in winter months.

Personal Characteristics

Driving instructors need the following characteristics:

  • enthusiasm and the ability to instill confidence
  • patience and a calm nature
  • the ability to get along with all kinds of people
  • good communication and teaching skills.

The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy dealing with people, instructing individuals and groups, and having clear rules and organized methods for their work.

Educational Requirements

Most driver training schools train their instructors on an ongoing basis. For a fee, some driver training schools will provide instructor training for non-employees.

To qualify for a driving instructor's license, applicants must have:

  • a Class 1, 2 or 4 Alberta Operator's license (which requires a medical examination)
  • no more than 6 demerits on their current driving record and no suspensions in the previous two years
  • a current, satisfactory criminal record check
  • at least three years of driving experience in the appropriate class (for example, automobile instructors must have held a Class 5 operator's license for at least three years, truck driving instructors must hold a Class 1 operator's license).

Applicants for a driving instructor's license must pass knowledge exams before they are allowed to take the in-vehicle instructor road test. During the road test, applicants must demonstrate how they would instruct students and provide the required information.

Some schools require applicants for instructor positions to have no criminal record and no more than three demerits on their driver's license.

To teach in the Class 1 category (large trucks), applicants also must hold a certificate from a recognized air brake course. Air brake courses are offered on an as needed basis by public technical institutes, colleges and private driving schools.

Related Legislation

Under Alberta's Traffic Safety Act and Driver Training and Driver Examination Regulation, driving instructors who teach people, other than their own employees, to drive must hold an instructor licence issued by Alberta Transportation and be employed by a driver training school. You cannot be both a driving instructor and a driver examiner. For more information on certification see Driving Instructor in CERTinfo.

Employment and Advancement

Driving instructors are employed by commercial driving schools which are generally located in regional centres.

In larger driving schools, experienced instructors may advance to supervisory positions. With additional training or qualifications, driving instructors may start their own driving schools or move to positions dealing with public safety information, vehicle registration and inspection, accident investigation or motor fleet safety supervision.

Driving instructors are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 4216: Other Instructors. In Alberta, 79 per cent of people employed in this classification work in the Educational Services industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,100 Albertans are employed in the Other Instructors occupational group which is expected to have an annual above average growth of 2.7 per cent from 2013 to 2017 in Alberta. It is forecasted that about 57 new positions will be created each year in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. (Note: Since driving instructors form only a part of the larger occupational group on which this forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for driving instructors.)

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013


Driving instructors are generally paid by the hour so their earnings vary according to the number of hours they work. Earnings also vary depending on whether instructors use company vehicles, or use their own vehicles and pay for car insurance.

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other Instructors occupational group earned on average from $18.45 to $25.77 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $22.09 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo.

Other Sources of Information

Alberta Transportation, Licensing Information website:

Related Occupational Profiles
Bus Driver
Taxi Driver
Training and Development Professional
Truck Driver

Related High School Subjects
Health, Recreation and Human Services (Human and Social Services); and Languages (other than English)

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Driver Training

Produced December 2012
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.

Government of Alberta, Human Services