Do I need a DBS check to become a driving instructor?

Are you interested in becoming a driving instructor? If you’re over 21 and have held a full licence for a minimum of three years, this is a real career possibility.

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First steps

The first step is to consider whether you have the necessary skills and attributes to make a good instructor. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is a great resource to help you in this.

Next, if you’re still interested, you need to know that, in order to charge people money for your services as an instructor, you must first become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI).

Becoming an ADI

This involves an application to the DVSA, giving details of your current driving licence, including the duration you have held it for and the types of vehicles it covers. It must also include any driving offences and penalty points.

If you are applying to become an ADI for the first time, you are legally required to have a check conducted via the Disclosure and Barring Service. Even if you have one already from another job or voluntary position, you must still apply for a new DBS certificate.

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A DBS check is intended to help employers recruit the most suitable candidates FOR vacancies, and to protect vulnerable individuals. Often, these are children. As a driving instructor, many of your pupils may be only seventeen years of age, and so will fall into this category. Others may be vulnerable for some other reason, such as disability.

Individuals cannot do a criminal records check on themselves. Instead, this usually falls to the employer. For prospective ADIs, applications can be made in a number of ways. One of the simplest is to use an online provider, such as The paperless application systems used by such providers tend to be extremely speedy, often giving results back on the same working day, and they are competitively priced.

The check itself involves a search of police records and, in certain cases, of the children’s and adults’ barred lists for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. At the end of the process, the applicant is issued with a DBS certificate. The certificate has no official expiry date but, as a driving instructor, you will have to apply for a new check every time you renew your ADI registration.