Guidance

Become a driving examiner

How to apply for driving examiner jobs and how the recruitment process works, including the assessments and training you'll take.

Who can become a driving examiner

To become a driving examiner you need to:

  • have had a UK or EU driving licence continuously for the last 4 years
  • have no more than 3 penalty points on your licence
  • be 24 or over

You need to have a full category A licence to apply for a vacancy where fast-track motorcycle examiners are needed.

You need to have a full category C+E licence for manual vehicles to apply for a vacancy where fast-track large goods vehicle (LGV) examiners are needed. It’s also desirable to have a full category D licence, but it’s not essential.

You don’t need to have been a driving instructor to become a driving examiner.

Apply for a job

Driving examiners are employed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which is an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT).

You have to apply on the Civil Service jobs website when vacancies are being advertised.

Vacancy alerts

To get alerts when vacancies are advertised, you can:

After you’ve applied

The recruitment process makes sure you’re assessed thoroughly and given the right training.

You’ll have to complete:

  • an online driving examiner assessment
  • an assessment of driving ability (or riding)

You’ll be put on the merit list and considered for a job offer if you pass both stages. You’ll then take training to learn how to carry out driving tests.

However, DVSA can’t guarantee a job even if you do pass all stages. You’ll stay on the merit list for 12 months. After that, you’ll have to reapply if more vacancies are advertised and pass the assessments again.

Take the online driving examiner assessment

This helps us identify candidates who have the best attitudes and behaviours needed for the job and can identify potential high performing employees for the driving examiner role.

The test has 3 parts:

  • personality - you’ll be asked questions about your attitudes, opinions and experiences in a work environment - you need to respond to the statements in terms of how strongly you agree or disagree with them
  • interpersonal skills - you’ll be given 3 behaviours and asked to choose the one that’s most and least important to you at work
  • situational judgement - you’ll watch a video and need to choose the best and worst thing you could do from a list of possible actions

You’re only allowed one attempt at the assessment.

DVSA can’t give you feedback on your result because of the high numbers of people taking the test.

Take the driving or riding ability assessment

You then have to pass a driving assessment - you also have to pass a riding assessment if you’ve applied for a motorcycle examiner post.

Preparing for the assessment

The assessment is more rigorous than a driving test, and you have to drive to a higher standard.

Get training from organisations that specialise in advanced driver training to help you meet the standard.

You can buy The Official DVSA Guide to Driving - the essential skills and The Official DVSA Guide to Better Driving, which contain information on essential driving techniques including overtaking safely, defensive driving and manoeuvring.

Before the assessment starts

You take the assessment in a hire car. This is so every applicant has the same opportunity to drive or ride a modern car or motorcycle.

You get time to familiarise yourself with the controls before you’re assessed.

You have to pass an eyesight test before the assessment starts. The rest of the assessment won’t go ahead if you can’t read a number plate from 20 metres.

How the assessment works

The drive will last for a minimum of 60 minutes. You’ll have to show the examiner all of the following:

  • expert handling of the controls
  • use of correct road procedure
  • anticipation of the actions of other road users and then taking appropriate action
  • sound judgement of distance, speed and timing
  • consideration for the convenience and safety of other road users
  • driving in an environmentally friendly manner

You’ll drive in varying road and traffic conditions, including motorways or dual carriageways where possible.

Manoeuvres

You must be able to carry out all of the following manoeuvres:

  • move away straight ahead or at an angle
  • overtake, meet or cross the path of other vehicles
  • turn left-hand and right-hand corners
  • stop the vehicle as if you’re in an emergency
  • drive in reverse and enter limited openings to the right and left
  • reverse-park the vehicle into the space behind a parked car
  • reverse-park into a parking bay
  • turn the vehicle to face in the opposite direction using forward and reverse gears

Independent driving

You have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner for around 10 minutes. You have to follow either:

  • traffic signs
  • a series of directions given to you before you set off
  • a combination of both

Commentary

You’ll be asked to give a short talk-through while you’re driving. This should include things like:

  • your observations
  • how you’re prioritising risk and planning your responses

There must be no drop in your driving performance while you’re giving the commentary.

After your drive you’ll be asked some questions about the drive.

Complete the pre-employment checks

You have to give some information for pre-employment checks. These include:

You’ll be made an offer of employment if you pass these checks.

Take the driving examiner training course

Your training will cover what you need to know to safely and effectively carry out driving tests.

The training usually takes 5 weeks. You’ll do some at your driving test centre, and some at one of DVSA’s regional training centres.

You’ll be paid the full-time driving examiner salary while you’re taking the training.

There are pass or fail elements in the training programme. You’ll have regular performance evaluations with the trainers.

You must meet all necessary performance standards to become an examiner.

You’ll start at a driving test centre after successfully completing the training.

If you don’t achieve the necessary performance standards during the training programme, you’ll be given notice that your employment with DVSA will end.

Training at your driving test centre

You’ll be based at your driving test centre for the first 2 weeks of your training. This will give you the chance to:

  • meet your colleagues
  • become familiar with the environment
  • learn the driving test routes
  • sit in on driving tests being carried out by existing driving examiners

You’ll get one-to-one mentoring from one of your colleagues on things like:

  • meeting candidates in the waiting room
  • carrying out eyesight checks
  • what wording to use during the driving test
  • learning the driving test routes

Training at a regional training centre

You’ll do the rest of your training at one of DVSA’s regional training centres in:

  • Avonmouth (Bristol)
  • Bishopbriggs (Glasgow)
  • Cardington (Bedford)
  • Chadderton (Manchester)
  • Gosforth (Newcastle)

You can travel to it each day, or DVSA will provide you with local accommodation.

While you’re at the regional training centre you’ll:

  • develop your driving skills to a consistently high standard
  • learn how to control a driving test
  • learn how to assess the standard of driving

Being a driving examiner

You’ll start working as a driving examiner at the test centre you chose when you’ve successfully completed the training.

You’ll be on a probationary period for 9 months.

You’ll be monitored regularly by your manager while you’re in your probation period. Even when you’ve finished your probation, you’ll still be monitored to make sure you keep up the same high standards.

A usual day

Every day you’ll carry out a number of driving tests - each to the same standard. You’ll follow the guidance for driving examiners carrying out driving tests and use everything you learned in your training.

You’ll assess that learner drivers meet the national standard for driving cars.

Driving test appointments

During a driving test appointment, you’ll:

  • meet the candidate
  • carry out the eyesight check and vehicle safety questions
  • carry out the driving test
  • give the candidate and their instructor feedback
  • complete the driving test report form and give a copy to the candidate
  • complete a much more detailed report on any faults the candidate made during their test when you get back into the test centre
  • prepare your paperwork for the next test

Administrative work

You also have to carry out other administrative work including:

  • keeping yourself up to date with news and updates on the staff intranet and in emails
  • completing mandatory e-learning
  • using an online system to manage your annual leave
  • helping to keep the test centre working effectively

Periodic training

You have to take periodic training to keep your skills up to date. You have to take:

  • 5 days of driver training in every 5 years
  • 4 days of test training in every 2 years

Pay and benefits

The starting salary is £24,876 with allowances up to £4,000 in some areas.

There are many benefits to working for DVSA, like some of the best training and terms and conditions in the motoring services industry. These include:

  • competitive annual leave entitlement
  • entitlement to a Civil Service pension, with an employer contribution of 20.9%
  • family-friendly policies including flexible working
  • regular training and development
  • an employee assistance programme, including a 24-hour counselling support line
  • childcare vouchers
  • retail discounts and cashback offers
  • subscription-based benefits

The full details will be advertised with each vacancy.

Find out more about working for DVSA

Being a civil servant

As a driving examiner, you’ll be a civil servant. This means that you need to follow the Civil Service code, which sets out the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants.

Published 26 September 2016
Last updated 27 July 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated information about the assessment process.
  2. First published.