How to Take a Drivers Education Course in Texas
All state motorists who are younger than 24 years of age are required to take a Texas drivers education course before obtaining a license to drive for the first time. Fortunately, the classes are available in a variety of forms and price ranges. For instance, first-time motorists can learn skills from their parents, undergo a program in high school, sign up for a drivers ed online course or attend classes at a local third-party institution.
The prices, lengths and general curriculum of a TX drivers ed course will vary depending on which provider you opt for. However, there are general information that is provided by the majority of these programs. In any case, it is important for the course of your choice to be approved by the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). To learn more about classroom-based and online drivers ed courses available in Texas, read the sections below.
Who needs to take drivers ed in Texas?
Both the teen drivers ed course and the adult drivers education program are required for first-time motorists in Texas. The teen course is required for students between 14 to 17 years of age, while the adult course is required for drivers who are older than 18 years of age but younger than 25 years of age.
Additionally, motorists who already have their license but are younger than 18 years of age must undergo a Texas driver ed class. Then, they will be issued a provisional license to drive. Furthermore, while young drivers may enroll in TX drivers education at 14 years of age, they may not qualify for a learner’s permit until their 15th birthday.
Types of Drivers Ed Classes in Texas
There are three kinds of driver education programs in Texas that are accepted by the Department of Public Safety (DPS): a traditional in-classroom program, a driving classes offered in public schools and parent-taught drivers ed. In any case, DPS-approved programs are available both in person or as online drivers ed courses, suiting the preferences of each student on a case-by-case basis.
What will you learn in a Texas drivers ed school?
First-time motorists in Texas are allowed to attend classes or learn to drive from their parents, so the information covered in drivers education classes can vary widely depending on each type of course. However, the TX Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has a set of standards that new drivers must be aware of. Overall the following required topics must be covered in all TLDR-approved DMV drivers ed courses:
- State traffic laws.
- Safe driving habits.
- The penalties for aggressive driving and driving under the influence.
- The meanings of common road signs.
- Vehicle maintenance.
Texas Drivers Education Requirements
All adult drivers ed classes in Texas must be six hours long. Moreover, teen driver classes are required to be at least 32 hours long. In the case of parent-taught programs, these hours are extended even further.
It is important to note that all first-time motorists must complete the Impact Texas Drivers (ITD) program. That is because a certificate proving the completion of this course is required for applicants to qualify to take a skills test or apply for a driver’s license in the state. Overall, there are two ways to complete the ITD requirement.
First, there is a two-hour video included within the Impact Texas Teen Driver course. Secondly, there is the free one-hour video on distracted driving featured on the Impact Texas Young Drivers program. Once a driver has received an ITD certificate of completion, he or she has 90 days to pass the skills test and apply for a driver license.
Benefits of a Texas Driver Education Course
The clearest benefit of TX drivers ed is that it helps new motorists get their learners permits and progress to obtaining a proper license. However, there are many additional benefits to taking a drivers education course, including:
- High school credit. Students who take high school drivers ed earn school credit for attending the class.
- Insurance discounts. Young drivers who attend Texas drivers education schools tend to be safer motorists. Consequently, various auto insurance companies offer insurance discounts to drivers who completed a course.
- A safe way to learn to drive. Taking a drivers ed course gives students a safe place to learn to drive. As such, many schools step up obstacles courses to teach students about operating a vehicle in a mistake-proof environment.
- More likely to pass the DMV exams. Routine studying guarantees that a student is more likely to pass the written and skills tests than if they had taken them unprepared.
How to Enroll in a Texas Driver Ed School
When deciding whether to take an adult drivers ed online or in person, you do not need to report to the Texas DPS. However, you will need to select an education plan from an approved list. It is important to note that even parent-taught courses require parents to purchase an approved course from the TX Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).
Parent-Taught Drivers Ed
In order to enroll in a parent-taught drivers ed (PTDE) program in Texas, you must download the PTDE packet from the state TDLR, as well as purchase an approved PTDE course online. Overall, parents, grandparents or legal guardians are responsible for filling out the affidavits included in the PTDE packet. Moreover, parents or guardians must be present at the DMV for a young driver to apply for a license.
To enroll at a driver’s ed school, you must either find a DPS-approved online course or an in-classroom course provider near you. Generally, most providers allow you to enroll online. However, classroom courses will require you to select the specific classes you will attend, as well as their times and dates. Alternatively, online providers such as DriversEd.com only require a name, email and payment method before you can begin your course.
High School Drivers Ed
If a teen driving school is offered through your high school, you may enroll in the class via the school’s online or through a guidance counselor. In general, drivers ed programs are offered as electives. Thus, you will be responsible for deciding if a particular program suits your class load.
Texas DMV Drivers Ed Certificates
All DPS-approved drivers education schools in Texas provide official certification of completion. This document must be presented to the state DPS for applicants to obtain a license or permit. Additionally, students are encouraged to save a copy of the certificate for their own records.
Overall, TX requires proof of drivers education completion for new state residents applying for a license. Therefore, in the event of relocation, a certificate proving the completion of a drivers ed course may be required to apply for a new state license.
Certain providers, such as DriversEd.com, issue a certificate completion for free for all students. Moreover, this program mails the certificate on a priority basis within one business day, so that students may apply for their license as soon as possible.
Drivers Ed for New Texas Residents
If first-time motorists between 18 and 24 years of age relocate to Texas, they may take an adult drivers ed online class. Alternatively, drivers younger than 25 years of age who are relocating to TX are required to provide proof they completed a drivers ed course in a different state. In the case of new residents who are older than 25 years of age, it is important to note that they must complete the ITD requirement in order to get a new Texas-issued driver’s license.
Motorists younger than 18 years of age who relocate to the state must attend a Texas teen driving school, even if they have a valid license from another state. Therefore, teen drivers may not transfer their license to TX. Instead, the driver will be required to provide proof he or she completed a drivers ed course and apply for a learner’s permit. Furthermore, they will be required to complete the ITD requirement and hold the permit for six months before being granted a provisional license.
Texas Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School
When enrolling in Texas drivers ed online classes, it is important to distinguish it from traffic school. While drivers ed is intended to help first-time drivers get a license, traffic school and defensive driving courses are for residents who already hold a driving credential. TX drivers ed covers the important topics that students need to know for their written and road skills tests, whereas traffic school is a state-required program that may lower auto insurance costs or reduce the penalty for traffic tickets.
Texas Driver Education Fees
Drivers ed prices in Texas vary depending on the particular type of program or course provider. For example, if your school does not offer drivers ed, or if you would rather take a class with a licensed driver education school, fees will vary based on the program you attend.