What does it mean to be an instructor?
It can be a fantastic job or a part-time hobby. It typically is a very rewarding experience. Most instructors teach part-time. However, a few of us have taught on a full-time basis.
Our instructor corps demonstrates a wide variety of personalities, ages, unique personal and professional goals, type of bikes ridden, skills, hobbies, and interests –it is a wonderful representation of the diversity within Washington’s riding community. Just like our customers served –we are a diverse group.
A common aspect of all our instructors is their desire to help people realize that this hobby is risky and that we can (and do) help the public understand the risks and techniques involved.
A great rider does not = a great instructor
Teaching the courses is not what most people think of as “teaching”. Most of the job is about understanding people, their learning styles, identifying their needs and offering encouragement. The Instructor’s job is to offer a safe environment in which the students can self-discover and learn, and we discourage personal stories and traditional lecture-style teaching. A good instructor can work with any number of different learning styles in a positive manner, offer leadership, enough control to maintain a safe environment and challenge students to be their best! Communication is key, technical knowledge is secondary. First and foremost, you must love the challenge of working with people and helping them to succeed. A great instructor has patience, determination, a positive attitude, is encouraging, compassionate and a problem solver.
Do you have what it takes to become a Motorcycle Safety Instructor?
There are several steps to becoming an Instructor. You’ll need to take the class as a student, then complete some “shadow” classes where you see things from the Instructor’s perspective. You’ll then attend an intensive Instructor Preparation course (IP). During the Instructor Prep Course you’ll learn the nuts and bolts of teaching the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course.
Who teaches the Instructor Prep (IP) Course?
MSF Certified Instructor Trainers teach the course. These specially trained instructors have completed MSF’s Trainer Course and are authorized to train candidates for MSF Instructor Certification. In Washington, the trainers are usually assisted by Mentor Instructors. Mentors are highly qualified instructors, who have passed an intensive screening and training program specifically designed to qualify them to assist and guide other instructors in preparation for the Instructor Prep Course. They also provide follow-up training and quality reviews of certified instructors.
What qualifications do I need to enroll?
You must be a licensed motorcyclist who currently rides on a frequent, routine basis. In general, you should have several years of varied riding experience. As an instructor, you’ll need good communication skills. Although you will be paid, a sincere desire to help reduce motorcyclist accidents, injuries and deaths is the prime motivator of Rider Course Instructors. Candidates must be at least 21 years of age, have a good driving record, and be a high school graduate or the equivalent and posses enough skills to pass the Instructor Riding Test.
How much time is involved, what does IP cover, and what are the completion requirements?
The Instructor Prep Course itself is 4 weekends / 60 hours (Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday) of intense training. As part of the course, you will be required to pass a riding skill test. This is the same test used in the Basic Rider Class, however the standards are higher for Instructor Candidates. You will learn how to teach the Basic Rider Course curriculum. You’ll practice teaching in the classroom and you’ll learn how to manage the range exercises. You’ll learn how to evaluate and coach students as they develop their riding skills. At the end of the course, you will be required to pass a written knowledge test. The Prep Course culminates when you and your classmates teach a complete Basic Rider Class, while the Instructor Trainers evaluate your performance. Successfully completing the student teaching is your final requirement to qualify for National Instructor Certification. You will receive all the materials needed, including an Instructor Guide, Range Cards, reports and instructional handouts.
When is the IP and what is the cost?
Washington State usually offers courses once a year. The course costs $200 to attend and a Company who is under contract with the state to conduct the WSMP Training Courses must sponsor you. If you think you are up to the challenge, contact Spokane MotorSchool.
How much will I get to teach?
Instructors teach as much as they want to. Some only teach 4 classes a year. Others may teach 100+ classes. It truly is up to you. By design, WMSP encourages instructors to teach as much as they want to. It truly is a ‘job’ that can fit your lifestyle.
How much will I earn?
Pay rates vary within Washington. Some companies pay based upon years of experience. Others pay based upon number of classes taught. Others will hire you as a part-time employee. Each training company will have payroll specifics that they can discuss. Contact Us at Spokane MotorSchool for more information.
Steps to take:
If you are interested in becoming an instructor, please follow these steps:
- Fill out the DOL’s Instructor Application at www.dol.wa.gov – Application – Eligibility Requirements (PDF reader required)
- With COMPLETED application contact Spokane MotorSchool to request an interview.
- Complete “shadow class” requirements with Spokane MotorSchool and they will register you for your Instructor Prep Workshop.
- Attend your Instructor Prep Workshop
- Begin teaching classes with a Mentor Instructor at Spokane MotorSchool