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 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
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
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
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!
Are you interested in becoming an Illinois defensive driving
instructor? Click here to get started!