Driving tests

Career opportunities in driving

If you love the idea of driving for a living, or having an occupation that involves a lot of driving, this article explains what career choices you can make.

Car

Delivering goods

Courier – deliver parcels and goods usually in a car or a van. Requires some level of fitness for lifting items, and lots of patience when stuck in traffic.

Film runner – run errands for film and TV sets, collecting items, picking up actors, etc. Plenty of careers in film need driving as a skill.

Passenger services

Taking paying passengers requires a passenger endorsement, whether the vehicle is owned by you or someone else.

Taxi driver/Uber driver – take paying fares in your own car or minivan. Often requires long hours.

Limousine driver – drive a larger, more plush vehicle. Requires a higher standard of customer relationship skills and a more expensive car.

Chauffeur – drive a wealthy person or dignitary in their own car. Might require other training such as advanced defensive driving, anti-terrorism techniques, self-defence, etc.

Education

Driving instructor – help other people learn how to drive. Requires an I endorsement on your licence.

Trades and commercial

Road inspector – get paid to drive around assessing the country’s road condition and reporting back on it.

National or regional sales rep or trainer – drive between cities and towns to have appointments with people to either sell them something or train them in how to use something.

Mobile services – run or work for a company that offers services at the client’s location, such as mobile mechanic, plumber, dog groomer, rural vet, etc. Some occupations may require additional training.

Stunt driver – push a car to its limits for TV and film.

Motoring journalist – review cars for a living. The Motoring Writer’s Guild website is here.

Car salesperson – demonstrate vehicles and help explain the benefits to prospective buyers.

Farmer – you can drive most agricultural machinery on a car licence. Check here to see when you need a class 2 licence.

Security officer – driving on security patrols

Racing driver – while you don’t technically need a licence for this occupation, you will be driving a lot

Emergency services – fire, ambulance and police all require people to drive the vehicles

Vehicle test engineer – work for a car manufacturer road testing vehicle prototypes. This job is likely to require solid engineering and design knowledge specific to vehicle development

Pilot vehicle for escorting oversized loads.

Motorbike

Delivering goods

Courier – deliver smaller parcels on a motorbike. Opportunities exist for urgent couriers (e.g. medical supplies) and some kinds of food delivery. High risks of accidents due to the extended hours spent on the bike in challenging traffic conditions.

Education

Riding instructor – help other people learn how to rider. Requires and I endorsement on your licence.

Trades and commercial

Stunt rider – push your motorbike to its limits.

Emergency services – join the police and become a highway patrol officer; there are also rapid-response motorbike ambulances.

Motorbike sales and service – demonstrating motorbikes to clients.

Tourism operators – motorbike rental and tours.

Motoring journalist – write about motorbikes after you’ve tested them

Heavy vehicles

Moving goods

Truck driver – this category includes a huge range of types of truck you can drive and the good you can carry. There are small trucks for local deliveries through to large B trains for bulk liquids, through to over-sized loads such as houses. If you want to carry dangerous goods you need a dangerous goods endorsement.

Forklift truck driver – from small forklifts through to straddle carriers and container handlers at ports. You may need an F endorsement if you want to drive the forklift on a road.

Tow truck driver – vehicle recovery and parking enforcement. Requires a V endorsement on your licence.

Security vehicles – heavy-duty armoured vehicles for moving bullion, prisoners, etc. You may need additional training in advanced driving techniques.

Passenger services

Bus driver – local bus routes, school buses, party buses, charters. You will need a passenger endorsement on your licence.

Coach driver – holiday tours, intercity routes.

Trades and commercial

Airports – aircraft tugs, baggage handling, runway safety inspections.

Farm services – miscellaneous agricultural services that require combination vehicles to be driven on the road, e.g. spreaders.

Roading contractors and maintenance – graders, diggers and other vehicles that might have wheels, tracks or rollers. You will need the appropriate endorsement on your licence.

Motoring journalist – review trucks and heavy equipment for magazines and websites.

Mining – any kind of vehicle used in mining industries for the mining itself, moving the rock, or servicing the vehicles.

How to get a job in driving

It’s important that you have the right type of licence with the right endorsements for the job you are applying for. Some companies will be willing to train you in a higher class of licence if you prove yourself to be an asset, for example subsidise your class 5 training if you’ve worked for them for a while as a class 3 driver and they trust you, and they need a reliable class 5 driver.

It’s preferable that your licence is clean – no demerit points, no convictions for drink-driving or dangerous driving, no serious speeding convictions, etc.

Types of licences

Car

You must start with your learner licence (practise the Road Code theory for the car licence by clicking here so you can get your learner licence). Once you have your learner licence you can take a theory test for your restricted licence, then you will take another test later for your full licence. If you do an approved advanced driving course you can reduce the minimum age for a full licence to 17 1/2 years. You must have held your learner licence at least 6 months and your restricted at least 18 months before you can go for your full licence. More information is here.

Motorbike

A class 6 motorbike licence only allows you to ride a motorbike, but there are several stages you must go through to get a full licence. Check out this article.

Heavy vehicle

There are four different heavy vehicle driver licences (classes 2-5), with two stages to each class: learner licence and full licence. Each class covers a specific type and weight:

  • Class 2 and 2L – Medium rigid vehicles
  • Class 3 and 3L – Medium combination vehicles
  • Class 4 and 4L – Heavy rigid vehicles
  • Class 5 and 5L – Heavy combination vehicles.

You must have experience of driving ‘lighter’ vehicles before you can apply for a particular heavy vehicle class. This means you need to hold:

  • a full car (class 1) driver licence for at least six months before applying for a class 2 learner licence.
  • a full class 2 licence for at least six months (three months, if you’re 25 years or older) before applying for a class 3 or 4 learner licence.
  • a full class 4 licence for six months (three months, if you’re 25 years or older) before applying for a class 5 learner licence.

There is more information on this page.

driver training

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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Posted in Advice, Car, Heavy Vehicle, Motorbike
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