Driver’s education teachers are responsible for instructing young people in the rules of driving. Typically, teachers work with high school juniors and seniors, preparing them to take their vehicle permit and licensing examinations.
Most states require driver’s education teachers to undergo specialized training and coursework to obtain appropriate licenses. In addition, many states require driver’s ed teachers to be licensed teachers within that state.
Furthermore, some states draw a distinction between in-car instructors (also known as teaching assistants) and supervising teachers. Teaching assistants are only licensed to provide in-car instruction. They are usually required to undergo six to eight semester hours of driver and traffic safety education courses from an approved university-level program. They must also have a clean driving record and current insurance on their personal vehicle.
Supervising teachers must undergo an additional three to four semester hours of courses on driver and traffic safety education, before becoming licensed to teach up to 32 classroom hours in a commercial or private driver education school.
Driver’s Ed teachers typically teach high school classes on driver and road safety, vehicular operation rules and basic vehicle maintenance. Additionally, they provide “hands on,” one-on-one driving instruction in specially equipped cars.
Most Driver’s Ed teachers are employed by public or private high schools, and many teach driver’s education in addition to their other teaching responsibilities. Frequently, physical education teachers are also trained in driver’s education, although any licensed teacher may qualify to teach youngsters how to drive. In fact, becoming certified to teach driver’s ed is an attractive additional revenue stream for many high school teachers, especially during the summer months.
The employment prospects for teachers in general is expected to be particularly favorable in urban and rural school districts. The total employment of school teachers, including Driver’s Ed teachers, is expected to grow 12 percent in the decade between 2006 and 2016. Most new teaching opportunities in driver’s education will come from the need to replace retiring teachers, although expanding student populations in high-growth areas will also require the employment of additional teachers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median earnings of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $43,580 to $48,690. High school teachers, including Driver’s Ed teachers, earned toward the top of the range. The top 10 percent of teachers earned $67,490 to $76,100.