In Minnesota, teens younger than 18 years of age who want to get licensed must first complete a drivers ed course. Because of Minnesota’s graduated drivers license system, teens need to complete several steps in order to become fully licensed in an effort to reduce teen accidents and fatalities on the road.

However, some teens may be confused by the licensing process and what role drivers ed plays in it. Young drivers may be unsure of whether they are required to take the course or whether it is optional. This article explains who does and doesn’t have to take drivers ed, the options for the course, the requirements included, the graduated drivers license system and more.

Who needs to take drivers ed in Minnesota?

Teens who want to obtain a provisional driver’s license before turning 18 years of age must complete drivers ed in the state of Minnesota. Teens under 18 who complete the classroom portion of drivers ed receive a blue card or pink card to confirm that they have completed enough hours of drivers ed to get an instruction permit. All drivers, including teens, must carry an instruction permit for a minimum number of months in order to drive. Teens younger than 18 must hold an instruction permit for six months to be eligible for a full drivers license.

Types of Drivers Ed Classes in Minnesota

Minnesota only requires and regulates drivers ed for teens interested in obtaining a provisional license. Therefore, only the 30-hour instructional course available to teens are official Minnesota-approved courses. Some providers may additionally choose to offer drivers ed classes to inexperienced adults. However, this is not required to obtain a license.

Minnesota Online Drivers Ed vs. In-Person Courses

Minnesota drivers have the option to choose between classroom-based and online drivers ed courses for the instructional portion. All students must complete 30 hours of instructional coursework as well as six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Students can complete the 30 hours of instruction in a classroom or online. Classroom-based drivers ed typically allows for more one on one time with an instructor. Students may benefit from the standard classroom environment. In Minnesota, a majority of drivers ed courses are offered through high schools. Students may be able to take drivers ed in school or as an after-school course, making it a convenient choice.

However, students also have the option to enroll in an online drivers ed course like those offered by This option gives students more flexibility than classroom-based lessons. Online courses allow students to participate and read through lessons on their own time, which often means students can complete it faster. Students can review subjects at their own pace and re-read chapters or retake tests as needed.

What will you learn in a Minnesota driver’s ed school?

Students who participate in a Minnesota driver’s ed course will go over basic driving skills and rules. A typical instructional course typically goes over the following subjects:

  • Driving under various weather conditions
  • The meaning of various road signs and markings
  • State driving laws, such as move-over laws
  • How to operate a vehicle in an emergency

Minnesota Drivers Education Requirements

Minnesota teens looking to get licensed before they turn 18 years of age should complete a driver education course. Completing the course will allow students to acquire a provisional license after turning 16 but before turning 18 years of age. To complete the drivers ed course, drivers require 30 hours of instructional coursework and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. However, students cannot enroll in the behind the wheel training before they complete at least half of the instructional coursework, earning either a pink or blue card.

The Minnesota Drivers License Process

The Minnesota graduated drivers license system is designed to introduce drivers to the road slowly. Therefore, drivers younger than 18 years of age must complete several steps in order to become fully licensed. Drivers may be confused about what role drivers ed plays in helping drivers obtain a license. The following process is in place for teens who want to obtain their licenses as fast as possible:

Teens younger than 18 years of age:

  1. Complete at least 15 hours of drivers ed classroom instruction to obtain a pink card, giving you permission to enroll in a behind-the-wheel course.
  2. Enroll in a behind-the-wheel course to obtain a blue card.
  3. After completing the instructional course, take the written driving exam. Bring your blue card and two forms of identification to the exam. This will allow you to drive in your behind-the-wheel course.
  4. Receive your Minnesota instruction permit, enabling you to participate in your behind-the-wheel training.
  5. Complete six hours of behind-the-wheel training to obtain a white card.
  6. Log at least 50 hours of supervised driving with a parent or guardian who is at least 21 years of age or older. 15 of the logged hours must be at night.
  7. Maintain your Minnesota instruction permit without accidents for six months.
  8. After you’ve had your permit for six months and you are at least 16 years of age, apply for your driving test. Bring your white card, a vehicle with proof of insurance, your Minnesota instruction permit and your driving log.
  9. Pass the driving test to obtain your provisional license in MN.
  10. You must hold your provisional license in MN for at least 12 months, or until you turn 18, to obtain your full drivers license.

Benefits of a Minnesota Driver Education Course

In Minnesota, teens over 16 but under 18 years of age who complete drivers education classes are eligible to receive a provisional license. This gives them the ability to drive on the road more often and more independently than teens who do not obtain the provisional license in MN.

In addition to earning a license faster, teens who complete the course may be eligible for an insurance discount. Many auto insurance companies will offer a break to young drivers who complete a course. This is because drivers who complete an educational course are less likely to get into an accident. Drivers are more likely to employ safe driving techniques to avoid earning tickets or getting into accidents.

How to Enroll in a Minnesota Driver Ed School

The processing for enrolling in a Minnesota drivers ed course varies depending on what provider is selected. If a course is offered by a high school, teens may simply need to sign up for the course during school or after school. In that case, only registration and payment may be required. For private educators, students should contact the provider by phone, in person or online. Students should select a course and make note of the time, date and locations for the class.

To register for an online drivers ed course like, students should visit the provider’s website. After making an account and registering for a course, students must pay the course fee. After submitting the payment and registering, students can begin taking the course right away.

Minnesota DMV Drivers Ed Certificates

After completing all components of a teen drivers ed course, you should receive a white card, or certificate of completion. This affirms that you have successfully completed all the Minnesota drivers ed requirements. If you complete a classroom-based instructional course, you will typically receive a blue card immediately. The blue card affirms that you completed the instructional portion of drivers ed.

Some online drivers ed courses like will send you a blue card for free after you complete the online course. Others may charge you a shipping fee for the blue card. You must submit the blue card to a behind-the-wheel course provider in order to enroll. The behind-the-wheel course is required for a white card, and a subsequent provisional license.

Drivers Ed for New Minnesota Residents

Drivers who relocate to Minnesota from another state after completing drivers ed but before obtaining a license do not have to retake the course. Drivers must provide a certified driving record affirming that they met all the requirements, including the instructional and driving requirements. By presenting the driving record, drivers can complete the knowledge, vision and road test to obtain a provisional license.

Minnesota Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School

There is a difference between drivers ed school and traffic school in the state of Minnesota. The former is for inexperienced, unlicensed drivers looking to get licensed. The purpose of drivers ed is to provide an overview of the requirements to drive safely on the road. Lessons are introductory in nature and may focus on simple maneuvers.

On the other hand, traffic school is commonly reserved for licensed drivers who want to improve their performance. In Minnesota, mature drivers can complete a defensive driving course in order to refresh their skills and obtain a car insurance discount.

Minnesota Driver Education Fees

In Minnesota, drivers ed prices can be quite expensive, particularly for classroom-based instruction. Classroom courses, even in high schools, typically have higher fees because they require the use of space and the presence of an instructor. They may offer more individualized attention, however, making them more suitable for students who require more assistance.

Classroom course fees can range from $90 to almost $200, while Behind-the-Wheel instruction fees can range from $200 to $300. On the other hand, drivers ed online classes tend to be much cheaper than classroom courses. This is because they require less resources. For example,’s Minnesota course is available for $49.

Last updated on Monday, March 2 2020.