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.
WHO MUST TAKE DRIVER'S EDUCATION
- 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.
WHERE TO TAKE DRIVER'S EDUCATION
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.
WHAT'S COVERED IN A DRIVER'S EDUCATION COURSE
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.