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Illinois Defensive driving Instructors

Illinois defensive driving instructors teach drivers how to drive safely using defensive driving techniques. In Illinois, defensive driving classes can be taken voluntarily by drivers who would simply like to improve their driving skills. More commonly, however, they are taken by motorists who have received a traffic violation. In exchange for taking the Illinois defensive driving course, the motorist will not have a traffic conviction entered on his or her driving record. This is called “court supervision.” Court supervision is a popular option for taking care of a traffic ticket because it keeps the offenders driving record clear of driving points. Also, some insurance companies give discounts to their customers if they take an Illinois traffic school class and return the certificate.

In Illinois, defensive driving courses can be operated by private organizations, schools and community colleges. Any of these organizations can host defensive driving classes and employ defensive driving instructors. These organizations generally use courses developed by sponsoring agencies, and operate under their umbrella. However, only defensive driving courses approved by the Illinois Circuit Court handling your case can be used to dismiss a traffic ticket. Different courts approve different course providers for defensive driving classes. If you taking defensive driving to comply with court supervision, you must make sure that the class you take is approved by the court.

What state agency regulates instructors

In Illinois, defensive driving courses are regulated by the Illinois Conference of Chief Circuit Judges. The courts decide which organization's traffic schools may be used to dismiss a traffic ticket. Then, the organizations that sponsor the courses train and certify Illinois defensive driving instructors to teach their courses.
Steps for becoming an instructor

In order to become an Illinois defensive driver instructor, you will first need to seek employment with a company that teaches state-approved defensive driving courses. After you are selected, you will have to successfully complete their training program to become certified to teach the course. Usually, this consists of taking training classes that familiarize you with the material you will be teaching, as well as classes that teach you best practices for conveying this material to your students. Also, many programs require you to teach a class or two under the supervision of a more experienced instructor before you can teach on your own.

Once you have successfully completed the training program, you may begin to teach defensive driving as directed by your employer. There are several different types of defensive driving classes taught in Illinois:

  • Illinois traffic school courses geared toward younger drivers, for young adults under the age of 20 who have had their license taken away for repeated traffic violations. Completing this class is required before they can get their license back.
  • A four-hour defensive driving class, geared toward 1st time violators and people with clean driving records who would like a discount on their auto insurance.
  • An eight hour class for repeat offenders and for people who have had their licenses suspended for repeated traffic violations and wish to apply for a probationary license.

You may teach one or all of these classes, but you will need to be certified separately by your employer for each type of defensive driving class you intend to teach.

Requirements for becoming a defensive driving instructor

Each organization has its own certification process and its own hiring guidelines, but in general, they are looking for responsible adults with good driving records. Since they need to know that they can trust you to deal honestly with the public and the state courts, you may be required to pass a background check. Experience in education is a plus, but the training program will also teach you the principles of teaching, so it's not a necessity.

In addition to meeting the sponsoring organization's hiring standards, there are several key skills and personality traits that will make you a good Illinois defensive driving teacher. First, you need to have good public speaking skills, since you are going to be teaching groups of students. Also, you need to be articulate and able to clearly convey the concepts taught in the Illinois defensive driving courses. Patience is another virtue when it comes to being a defensive driving instructor. Finally, a good sense of humor is a definite plus. People usually come in to an Illinois defensive driving class expecting to be bored. If you can make them laugh, or at least crack a smile, they will appreciate you and they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Continuing education requirements

Continuing education requirements for Illinois defensive driving teachers are set by the sponsoring organizations. However, most organizations will require you to attend seminars or additional classes so that you stay up-to-date on the latest research in the defensive driving industry.

Job Opportunities and Income Potential

Defensive driving is a rapidly growing field. Every year, Illinois traffic courts adjudicate 2,875,808 traffic violations. Many of those violators will be offered court supervision and the chance to keep the conviction off their records on the condition that they complete a defensive driving course. If you choose to become a defensive driving instructor, you can rest assured that there will be a market for your skills.

As an Illinois defensive driving instructor, your income potential depends on many factors, including what part of the state you teach in, how many classes you teach, and how many hours you choose to work each week. According to Careerbuilder.com's Salary Wizard, the average salary for an Illinois defensive driving instructor working full-time in Chicago is $42,221.

If you are looking for a career where you can make a positive difference, why not become a defensive driving instructor? The skills you teach will help your students become better, safer drivers. They will leave your class with the tools to drive safely on Illinois roads. Attending an Illinois defensive driving program will also reduce their chances of being in an accident. A recent study of Lake County's defensive driving program showed that students taking the course had an accident rate that was 8 times lower than students who had not taken the course. In fact, the skills you would teach in a defensive driving class could actually save lives!

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