First-time motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must complete a California driver’s education program before applying for a provisional instruction permit to drive. Overall, drivers will need to satisfy both education and training requirements.

For instance, behind-the-wheel training is a minimum of six hours, while undergoing a driver education course takes 25 hours. As such, CA drivers ed classes are portioned over several days, or even weeks, depending on the pace of the program. Motorists can register to complete a course online or in a classroom.

At the end of each program, students must pass a drivers ed test. Then, they will receive a certificate of completion, which they need in order to apply for a learner’s permit. In any case, be mindful that the cost of an online drivers ed course will typically be much lower in comparison to an in-classroom program. Regardless of which DMV-approved course you choose, you will learn useful skills in vehicle operation, as well as maintenance and safety tips.

Who needs to take drivers ed in California?

All motorists between 15-and-a-half and 17-and-a-half years of age are required to take drivers ed in California. By law, these residents must complete this program before applying for a provisional instruction permit. That is because drivers are required to submit a certificate of completion before applying for their permit.

Overall, a certificate of completion is only available after students pass their drivers ed test. However, it is important to note that residents who are 18 years of age and older are not required to attend classes or submit a certificate of completion.

Types of Drivers Ed Classes in California

Drivers ed classes in California are available in two settings: in person and online. As a general rule, the CA DMV accepts courses completed at public and private high schools, as well as licensed driving schools and approved at-home programs. Moreover, certain online institutions are also approved by the California DMV to offer a driver education program.

California Online Drivers Ed vs. In-Person Courses

The benefits of California drivers ed online courses vary slightly in comparison to the advantages of taking classes in person. For instance, motorists who choose to complete this program online will be able to control the pace of their learning. In addition, online courses allow students to take classes from the comfort of their own homes.

One online drivers ed course provider,, allows motorists to complete their class on any device that supports an internet connection. This includes the mobile application for smartphones. Moreover, drivers who purchase in-car lessons from this school can receive the online course for free.

On the other hand, in-person drivers ed classes in CA allow motorists to interact one-on-one with their instructor and peers. Schedules of classroom programs are typically pre-determined, which may be beneficial for students who prefer more structure.

In addition, drivers education classes administered in person often combine in-car instruction with the knowledge portion of the program. This way, students can learn both of these drivers ed components in one place and from a professional instructor.

What will you learn in a California drivers ed school?

Various relevant topics are covered during a CA drivers ed school program. For example, first-time motorists are able to learn the basics of driving, traffic laws and vehicle maintenance. Furthermore, these classes in California will outline:

  • Driving responsibilities.
  • The causes of accidents and how to prevent them.
  • Defensive driving techniques.
  • Road markings and signals.
  • Physical and psychological factors that may affect driving.

In addition, drivers ed course instructors explain several basic aspects related to operating a vehicle. The following are important facets of cars that motorists are taught during California teen drivers ed:

Additionally, students may also receive behind-the-wheel experience as part of their driver education program. This portion of the course can be learned as part of a course’s curriculum, or through another licensed driver who is older than 18 years of age and willing to teach the first-time motorist.

California Drivers Education Requirements

There are a few California driver’s education requirements that all students must meet. As a general rule, all first-time motorists must satisfy both the education and the training components established by the CA DMV. Drivers ed involves a minimum of 25 hours of driving knowledge instruction, which can be learned through an approved online driver’s education course, in a classroom or at home.

The training portion of drivers ed school requires a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel experience. This is when students learn how to operate a vehicle. To do so, they may learn from a certified instructor at a driver’s education school or under the supervision of another licensed motorist who is older than 18 years of age. However, be mindful that, by law, new motorists cannot spend more than two hours per day training.

Benefits of a California Driver Education Course

By attending a driver education course in California, new motorists learn various techniques that will help them operate a vehicle safely. For instance, teens will learn about different road signs, methods of avoiding accidents and ways to manage vehicular emergencies.

Gaining knowledge about various road-related topics and situations is essential to decreasing the chances of accidents. Therefore, while young motorists are required to complete the course, they are still gaining valuable skills and learning important information that can keep them safe on the road.

How to Enroll in a California Driver Ed School

To enroll in a CA drivers ed school, young residents must first find a DMV-approved class. There are many public and private institutions that offer in-class courses for a fee. Another option is to register online. Students can contact their local DMV office to ensure that their selected course is approved.

Preferred registration and payment methods will vary depending on each driver’s education school. Often, residents can sign up for both virtual and in-person courses online. However, certain classes administered in person may require motorists to call ahead and/or submit payment during their first class.

Alternatively, motorists who register for an online drivers ed course can typically begin learning immediately after registration. A convenient and easy online option is There, students can learn the California driver’s handbook fully online or pair it with driving lessons. This service allows students to take drivers ed classes anywhere that they have a connection to the internet. Moreover, offers a full money-back guarantee if the student is not satisfied with the course.

California DMV Drivers Ed Certificates

A CA DMV drivers ed certificate is a document that confirms a student’s completion of the course. Motorists who are younger than 18 years of age need this certificate in order apply for a provisional license in the state.

Generally, students earn a drivers education certificate after passing the program’s final exam. Motorists who sign up and complete their class on will receive a free certificate delivery in addition to all the information required to pass the exam.

Drivers Ed for New California Residents

New California residents who have completed their drivers ed in a different state but have not yet earned their full license may still be able to drive with a permit under certain conditions. While the state does not accept an out-of-state provisional license as acceptable proof of drivers education, it may accept other documents. For instance, transferring residents can submit a DL 33 form, which must be filled out by his or her previous state’s DMV.

In addition, a letter from the previous driver education school must be sent to the resident’s local CA DMV confirming that the courses taken are equivalent to California’s. This letter must be sent on the school’s official letterhead.

California Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School

Motorists are often confused about the differences between California drivers ed and traffic school. One major distinction is the purpose of each. Overall, drivers education courses focus on teaching inexperienced motorists how to operate a vehicle, manage different driving scenarios and act responsibly on the road. As such, drivers education is typically more in-depth and requires more learning hours.

Conversely, traffic school is for residents who already hold a license, have completed drivers ed classes and received a citation for breaking a traffic law. These courses are typically only a few hours long and can be completed in one sitting. Certain motorists are required to participate in traffic school while others request to do so in order to reduce their auto insurance costs or even dismiss a ticket.

California Driver Education Fees

Fees for CA driver education courses vary depending on the type of class and provider you opt for. In general, online drivers ed courses range from $25 to $65. Moreover, classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction drivers ed prices vary more widely depending on the specific school and service package. Classroom instruction alone can cost between $90 and $205. The cost of the minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction can range from $300 to $400.

Last updated on Monday, March 2 2020.