Chauffeurs are needed to transport everyone from business professionals and celebrities, to politicians and vacationers. Although driving a car may appear easy, chauffeurs must attend training to learn how to expertly maneuver and control different vehicles while escorting their passengers. Candidates can develop these skills by taking courses at professional schools, local colleges or professional associations that specialize in chauffeur training.
Training courses for chauffeurs differ based on program length and program structure. For instance, the Institute of Professional Drivers and Chauffeurs offers training courses that are delivered over one-day, three-day and five-day time periods. Some courses focus on the basic responsibilities of a chauffeur, while other courses culminate with a driver’s exam. Students can also enroll in individual courses that teach specific driver techniques such as speed and skid control.
Courses taught in a chauffeur training program include defense driving strategies, oral and interpersonal communication, customer service, and limousine training. Students learn about current chauffeur rules and regulations, security awareness, driver etiquette, city geography and landmarks, and taxi accessibility. For example, public chauffeur training instructs students on properly assisting and securing wheelchair-bound passengers. More technical curricula topics include effective braking techniques, emergency steering, skid avoidance skills and an overview on vehicle dynamics.
Students interested in enrolling in chauffeur training must meet minimum requirements according to government laws and driver regulations. For example, Harold Washington College in Chicago states that students attending its Public Chauffeur Training Institute (PCTI) must be at least 21 years-old and possess a valid state driver's license. In addition, students whose native language is not English must be prepared to take an English language proficiency exam. Harold Washington College also requires applicants to have a high school diploma, G.E.D. or educational credentials needed to complete college-level coursework.
Promotional opportunities for trained chauffeurs include supervisory and trainer positions. Some professionals also become dispatchers, managers or start their own limousine service. One of the primary objectives of chauffeur training is to teach students how to effectively deal with customers and get them to and from their destinations safely. The Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition” states that job opportunities for candidates with good driving records and excellent customer service skills should have the best job prospects. Moreover, positions for chauffeurs and taxi drivers are expected to grow significantly during the 2008 to 2018 decade. Employment for these professionals will increase 16 percent during this time period. The BLS attributes this growth to a growing elderly population that will require chauffeur services, and expansion with the travel and leisure sector.
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a median annual salary of $24,300 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, taxi drivers and chauffeurs earned a 25th percentile salary of $20,490, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $30,440, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 305,100 people were employed in the U.S. as taxi drivers and chauffeurs.