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Virginia Defensive Driving Instructor

What is a Virginia Defensive Driving/Virginia Traffic School Instructor?

Virginia Defensive Driving and Virginia Traffic School instructors deliver Virginia State developed instruction in defensive driving.  Often times, students enroll in a Virginia Defensive Driving course or in Virginia Traffic School because they have committed a traffic violation and have either been ordered to or are voluntarily looking to improve their driving skills.  Virginia Defensive Driving and Virginia Traffic School instructors deliver instruction that is specific to driver improvement.  Virginia Defensive Driving and Virginia Traffic School instructors are primarily employed privately by Driving Schools or may be hired on a freelance basis.


What State Agency Regulates It?

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for the regulation of Virginia Defensive Driving and Virginia Traffic School instructor licensure and the requirements thereof.


Steps for Becoming an Instructor

The first step is to obtain Virginia General Instructor licensure.  Applicants must present all fees and their driving record at the time of the application and must continue to produce any traffic violations, convictions, misdemeanors or felonies relating to driving, as well as any driver's license revocation, suspension, cancellation, disqualification or other loss of driving privileges for the duration of time they serve as an instructor. 

General instructors can receive specific course training in Defensive Driving, thereby making them eligible to teach Virginia Defensive Driving courses and Virginia Traffic School.  The National Safety Council (NSC) has a Virginia specific Defensive Driving course that focuses on the delivery of instruction related to accident prevention, teaching techniques, dangers of driving under the influence, general driving knowledge and more.  General Instructors might also receive training in Virginia Defensive Driving free of charge through their school of employment.  Additionally, there are several courses geared towards the teaching of Virginia Defensive Driving courses available online.  These must, however, be approved by the State of Virginia so it is highly recommended that you inquire about all available courses before enrolling yourself or your employees.


Requirements to Become an Instructor

General Virginia Driving Instructors must be at least 21 years old, possess a high school diploma or equivalent and must have held a valid driver’s license for at least 5 years.  An applicant will not be issued instructor licensure if their driver’s license is currently suspended, revoked or cancelled or if the applicant is convicted of a violation that involved reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter, or any drinking/drugging offense within a 5-year period prior to their application.  Furthermore, certain misdemeanor and/or felony convictions will prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure as a Virginia General Driving Instructor.  Finally, all applicants are required to be proficient in the English language and are expected to communicate their language competency to both students and the department. 


Continuing Education

Once an application is approved and Virginia General Instructor Licensure is issued, instructors are required to attend one-day training sessions annually.


Job Opportunities and Income Potential

While Virginia General Driving instructors are primarily employed in a school setting and reap the benefits of a salaried position, Virginia Defensive Driving and Virginia Traffic School instructors are often self-employed or freelance instructors.  A Virginia General Driving instructor may find an entry level position ranging from $41,000 to $45, 900 per year; a freelance or self-employed Virginia Defensive Driving or Virginia Traffic School instructor, however, can expect to earn from $10.00 to $19.00 per hour.  Job opportunities for General Driving, Defensive Driving and Traffic School instructors are plentiful, and demand in this field of teaching is speculated to grow at an average pace over the next 6 years.

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