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Driver's Education in Montana

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Most new drivers in Montana are required to successfully complete a State-approved driver's education program in order to obtain a Montana driver's license. In fact, for many applicants, the driver's education certificate of completion is part of the actual driver's license application.


  • Montana residents under the age of 16 can apply for a learner's permit if they are enrolled or complete a State-approved driver's education.
  • Montana residents 18 and older who have never held a license from Montana, or any other US state or foreign country, must hold a learner's permit for a minimum of 30 days, or complete a State-approved driver's education program before applying for a new license.


Driver's education courses are offered through both public and private school programs, all of which must be approved by the Montana Traffic Education Unit. Driving schools, licensed by the Motor Vehicle Division, cover the same course content.


While driver's education courses vary from one school to another, all licensed programs must include the following components:

  • Classroom periods, focusing on issues including alcohol safety and drug abuse awareness, defensive driving, right-of-way, parking, vehicle balance, motorcycle awareness and organ and tissue donation.
  • In-car instruction sessions, divided into six hours of actual driving and periods of observation time.

After the successful completion of the driver's education course, your driving school will a send a copy of the completion certificate to the Montana Motor Vehicle Division, after which you may be issued a permanent driver's license. Drivers under the age of 18 must have their certificate signed and authorized by a parent or legal guardian, who must certify that the student has had at least 50 hours of driving practice, including at least 10 evening or nighttime hours.


In addition to the core requirements of a driver's education course, many driving schools in Montana offer optional programs that focus on particular aspects of driver education. Specialized courses include Auto Insurance Discount Courses or Defensive Driving courses, either of which may qualify students for a discount on auto insurance. These and other courses may also enable students to reduce points on their license, and/or get their license back sooner after a suspension. See our section on Montana driving schools for more information.


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