How to Take a Drivers Education Course
Drivers ed is often required to obtain a state-issued driver’s license for the first time, especially when it comes to teens who are under the age of 18. However, there are a number of types of courses that may be available to you, depending on your state. You may be able to participate in drivers ed online, in a classroom type setting and through a high school program. Therefore, it is important to learn about the type of courses as well as the education and instruction that is generally provided through these courses.
Where drivers education is not required, completing an approved course can still provide numerous benefits to both teens and adults. These benefits include, but are not limited to safe driving knowledge and skills, collision avoidance techniques and auto insurance discounts through participating auto insurers. You can learn more about these courses and their benefits within the sections that have been provided below.
Select a state to begin:
Select a state to begin:
Who needs to take drivers ed?
Drivers ed classes are commonly required before a state driver’s license (and sometimes learners permit) can be issued. This is especially true when it comes to teens who are under the age of 18. However, in some states, any new driver is required to complete a state-approved course in order to apply for a license for the first time. Therefore, it is important to review your own state laws requiring course completion when seeking a permit or license for the first time.
Types of Drivers Ed Classes
There are numerous types of drivers ed classes that are acceptable in one state or another. In fact, many states will accept more than one type of class for both adults and teens. Generally, course types are broken down into the following:
- An educational course provided through participating high schools
- An educational course provided through other providers that are certified by the state
- Drivers ed online courses
- Adult only educational courses
What will you learn in a drivers ed school?
Adult and teen driving school often provides much of the same curriculum. However, it is common for adult classes to be considerably shorter, unless they are state required for a new license. Other than online courses, classes will generally include a combination of classroom and behind the wheel instruction. Course curriculum will generally include instruction related to:
- Safe driving knowledge and skills.
- Collision avoidance techniques.
- The basic operation of a motor vehicle.
- State insurance minimum requirements.
- State and local traffic laws and regulations.
- The effects of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Defensive driving skills.
In states where a course is required, the state is likely to determine the curriculum that must be provided through each class, regardless of the type of course that you choose to enroll in.
It is not uncommon for a drivers ed test to be included at the end of a course. If your state providers a road test or knowledge test waiver for the successful completion of an approved course, these tests will be based upon state standards and you must successfully pass them in order to complete the course.
Drivers Education Requirements
In both teen and adult drivers ed, your state will likely require courses to contain a specific number of classroom and behind the wheel instruction. As stated previously, adult courses will generally include fewer instruction hours in comparison to teen courses. When enrolling in a drivers education course, it is important to review course requirements, which may differ by state and by course. These requirements could include, but are not limited to:
- Obtaining a learner’s permit before enrolling in the course.
- 100 percent attendance throughout the course (some courses will allow a makeup day, generally for a fee).
- Proof of state minimum auto insurance.
- Minimum and maximum age to enroll in a class.
Benefits of a Driver Education Course
Drivers ed provides numerous benefits to new and inexperienced drivers, even when a course is not required by the state. When not required by the state, a great number of states will still recognize the completion of an approved course and allow for the waiver of a knowledge and/or road skill exam, allowing you to obtain a license faster while learning how to operate a motor vehicle safety. For teens, drivers education can sometimes reduce the number of behind the wheel hours that must be completed before a license can be obtained.
Drivers ed classes can also provide other benefits to both adults and teens, including, but not limited to:
- High school credit for high school students.
- Car insurance discounts through participating auto insurance agencies.
- The ability to learn how to operate a motor vehicle safely and lawfully.
- The ability to learn defensive driving knowledge and skills.
- The ability to learn collision avoidance techniques.
How to Enroll in a Driver Ed School
The way to enroll in drivers ed may differ depending on the state you live in. If your state administers the program, you will most likely have to enroll through the state. High schools that offer programs for students will generally allow you to enroll through the school. When it comes to online courses and third party providers, you can generally enroll by contacting the provider directly.
DMV Drivers Ed Certificates
After drivers education, you will be presented with a certificate of completion if you were successful in passing the course. If you are required to complete a course to obtain a drivers license or if course completion will provide you with a waiver for a knowledge or skills test, you must provide these documents to your local drivers licensing office.
If your insurance agency will provide you with a discount on your auto insurance premium, the certificate must also be filed with your insurer. It is also worth keeping a copy of the certificate in the event that you switch insurers at a later date.
Drivers Ed for New Residents
If you took a drivers ed class in another state, but you did not fully obtain your license, you may or may not be required to take another educational course to obtain a license. States that require the completion of a course often require you to complete a course in that state, however, a number of states will accept courses from certain providers outside of the state.
Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School
Drivers education has nothing to do with traffic school as these educational courses are designed to provide inexperienced drivers with the opportunity to meet state requirements, obtain insurance discounts and learn how to operate a motor vehicle in a safe and lawful manner.
On the other hand, traffic school is designed to provide experienced drivers with a refresher course and is often taken to avoid traffic tickets appearing on a record or to reduce points on a driving record.
Driver Education Fees
Driver ed prices will vary by state. In some states, fees are regulated by the state and providers can only charge up to what the state allows. However, other states allow providers to set their own fees for educational courses.
- Driver Training Education from CA.gov
- Requirements and forms for driver education providers from NY.gov