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Driver's Education in Virginia

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


  • Virginia residents under the age of 19 must hold a learner's permit for a minimum of nine months, and also complete a State-approved driver's education program before applying for a new license.
  • Virginia residents 19 and older who have never held a license from Virginia, 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 Virginia Department of Education. Driving schools, licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, cover the same course content.


While driver's education courses vary from one school to another, all licensed programs must include the following components:
  • Thirty-six classroom periods, focusing on issues including alcohol safety and drug abuse awareness, defensive driving, motorcycle awareness and organ and tissue donation.
  • Fourteen in-car instruction sessions, equally divided into seven periods of actual driving and seven 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 Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, 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 45 hours of driving practice, including at least 15 evening or nighttime hours.


In addition to the core requirements of a driver's education course, many driving schools in Virginia 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 Virginia driving schools for more information.


Reviews of Driver's Education in Virginia

If you are new to Virginia, when must you change your Driver's License from another state?

If I got my learners after I turned 18, do I still have to take a behind the wheel course before i can get my license?because i was told that i do not have to take the course if i know how to drive already by a driving school instructor, but my driver's ed teacher from high school told me i still have to take a behind the wheel course even if i am im kind of confused.

Once your 18 do you not have to fill out the 40 hour log? Can you just take the in-car session and then get your license if you have already finished the classroom portion.

I paid for the on line pratice test for a month and it will not let me take it. What do I do?