How to Take a Drivers Education Course in Washington
Washington drivers ed provides a number of benefits to teens and adults that have never obtained a license before and wish to learn how to operate a motor vehicle safely and in accordance with the law. For teens, course completion is required by the state if the teen wishes to obtain a driver’s license prior to the age of 18. Regardless of whether or not a course is required, the completion of a state-approved course can teach safe driving knowledge and skills, crash avoidance techniques and potentially provide discounts for car insurance.
Drivers ed online is not recognized in Washington and therefore cannot be taken to meet licensing requirements. The state will only recognize classroom courses that meet the standard hour and curriculum requirements. To learn more about drivers education in Washington, review the information that has been provided within the sections below.
Who needs to take drivers ed in Washington?
In Washington, drivers ed classes must be completed by any teen who is interested in applying for a driver’s license prior to the age of 18. In order for a teen to obtain a license, that teen must:
- Complete an approved educational course.
- Complete a minimum of 40 hours of daylight and 10 hours of night driving experience with an adult that has been licensed for a minimum of five years.
- Hold an instruction permit for at least six months.
- Successfully pass a road skill exam with the DMV.
- Obtain parental permission.
Regardless of whether or not education is required, both adults and teens can benefit greatly from course completion.
Types of Drivers Ed Classes in Washington
Teen driving school is available in Washington through participating high schools and licensed third-party providers. High school programs are managed locally through school districts, however, both high schools and third-party providers must meet Washington curriculum and hourly requirements. Parent-taught and online courses are not accepted as a valid course by the Washington DMV.
Adult drivers ed is only available through certain third-party providers that offer this service. However, providers are not required to provide a minimum amount of hours for adult education, so it is important to review the providers in your area that offer this service in order to select the level of education you need.
What will you learn in a Washington drivers ed school?
For teens, a Washington drivers education course must include a total of 30 hours of classroom instruction with a maximum of two hours per day. A minimum of one hour behind-the-wheel observation must also be included as well as a minimum of six hours of practice driving with a maximum of one hour per day.
As part of a drivers ed course, students will learn an abundance of information related to safe driving and Washington traffic laws, including, but not limited to:
- Safe driving knowledge and skills.
- Signs, symbols and pavement markings.
- Entering and crossing traffic flow.
- Washington traffic laws and regulations.
- Auto insurance
- Restraint systems.
- The effects of drugs and alcohol on driving.
- The dangers of distractions, emotional driving and drag racing.
- Environmental issues and weather driving.
Washington Drivers Education Requirements
Washington drivers ed school must meet minimum curriculum and hours in order to be licensed by the state. Classes are required to include at least 30 hours of classroom instruction, one-hour behind-the-wheel observation and six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.
There is a maximum limit of two hours of classroom instruction and one hour of behind the wheel instruction per day. To attend a course, you must be at least 15 years old. However, to obtain an instruction permit and practice driving, teens must be at least 15 and a half years old.
Benefits of a Washington Driver Education Course
Washington drivers education classes offer a variety of benefits to both teens and adults who complete the course, including:
- The ability to earn a WA driver’s license prior to the age of 18.
- The ability to learn safe driving knowledge and skills.
- Depending on the insurer, auto insurance discounts may be available after course completion.
How to Enroll in a Washington Driver Ed School
If interested in Washington drivers education, you will need to contact a licensed provider in your area. Each provider will generally allow enrollment either online through the company’s website, over the phone or in person. When selecting a provider, the Washington DMV recommends the following:
- Make sure that both the instructors and schools are licensed.
- Compare the school’s curriculum with the state curriculum requirements.
- Look for instructor-led classrooms that include the appropriate use of videos and visual aids.
- Ensure that the provider has enough instructors to meet student needs and answer any questions that they may have.
- Inquire as to how the school will keep a record of your student’s attendance as well as classroom and behind-the-wheel lessons.
Washington DMV Drivers Ed Certificates
After completing Washington drivers ed, you will receive a certificate indicating your successful completion. If you are a teen who is seeking a driver’s license before the age of 18, this certificate must be submitted to the DMV in person when applying for a license.
If you are seeking an auto insurance discount, your insurer will most likely require you to submit a copy to them as well. Depending on your insurer, submissions may be accepted by fax, in person, by mail or online.
Drivers Ed for New Washington Residents
If you completed drivers education outside of Washington, you may not be required to take an additional course, so long as the course you completed meets WA state standards. You will need to contact your local DMV in order to inquire as to whether or not previous course completion will carry over for teen license requirements.
Washington Drivers Ed vs. Traffic School
Washington drivers ed is designed to provide experience to teens and adults who have never obtained a license as well as help those individuals learn how to drive safely and in accordance with the law. For teens, successful completion is required to obtain a license prior to the age of 18. Traffic school, also referred to as a defensive driving course, is taken for very different reasons and serves as an overall refresher for experienced drivers.
Washington Driver Education Fees
Washington drivers ed prices vary from one provider to the next as fees are not state regulated. Therefore, it is important to review the costs of multiple providers with the state. On average, courses can cost between $600 and $700, depending on whether or not additional behind-the-wheel instruction is desired.