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Virginia Drivers Education

New motorists must complete drivers ed in Virginia if they are younger than 18 years of age and wish to obtain a driving license. After attending first time driving school, students must hold a learner’s permit for nine months before they may apply for a driver license. Additionally, motorists may complete a drivers education program if they are older than 18 years of age and wish to bypass the state’s learner’s permit, practical training and road skills test requirements. If older applicants choose to take driving lessons, then they will complete a road skills test as part of the driver safety course requirements. To learn more about enrolling in a teen driving school in Virginia or to discover behind-the-wheel requirements, review the information below.

What is Virginia driver’s ed?

Driving classes are available to motorists who wish to obtain a first-time driver license, including those who are younger than 18 years of age or adults 18 years and older. However, motorists cannot enroll in drivers education until they are at least 15 years and 6 months of age. Motorists must be 16 years and 3 months of age before they may apply for a driver license. Furthermore, students may take a VA driving course through a public or private school program or they may enroll in a driver training school. School-based driving education courses receive approval by the Department of Education, while driver training schools are licensed under the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Alternately, students may complete a teen driving course from home if they are an approved home schooler. Home schoolers may enroll in an online driving course or they may complete an in-class program if they prefer. Online driving courses in Virginia are available to other students as well. However, students who complete online driving classes must also complete behind-the-wheel training and pass a final exam in person at an approved classroom setting. To receive certification for a driving safety course in Virginia, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Attend the equivalent of 36 classroom periods of 50 minutes each.
  • Complete 14 practical training sessions of 50 minutes each.
  • Practice driving for at least 45 hours, with 15 occurring after sunset (for drivers younger than 18 years of age only).
  • Complete 30 hours of online driving safety courses (for online students only).

When students attend first-time driver school in Virginia, they learn about topics such as alcohol safety, aggressive driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, fuel-efficient driving, motorcycle awareness, distracted driving and more.

Note: If you are completing driver’s ed as a resident of Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William and Loudoun counties, or if you reside in the cities of Fairfax, Alexandria, Manassas Park or Manassas, you must complete an additional 90-minute parent/student driver education course.

Virginia Drivers Education Eligibility Requirements

Virginia drivers ed is a requirement before many motorists may obtain a learner’s permit or driver license. However, first time driving school requirements vary depending on the age of the student. Driving lessons are mandatory for students under 18 years of age, while driving courses are optional for residents over 18 years of age. After students complete a driver education program, they receive a completion certificate, which is sent by the instructor to the DMV. To learn more about VA driver safety course requirements for older and younger motorists, review the following sections.

Students Younger Than 18 Years of Age

Young motorists must enroll in a driver safety courseand hold a learner’s permit for at least nine months before they may apply for a driver license. In addition to completing VA driver ed lessons, students must complete behind-the-wheel training and practice driving with a licensed adult for a total of 45 hours, of which 15 must occur in the evening. However, students cannot complete driving education classes until they are at least 15 years and 6 months of age.

Students Older Than 18 Years of Age

VA driving classes are optional for students over 18 years of age. If students do not complete drivers ed, however, they must apply for a learner’s permit and hold their permit for at least 60 days before they may take their road skills test through the DMV to apply for a driver license. Additionally, students who do not complete driving courses must complete a behind-the-wheel checklist and practice operating a motor vehicle with a licensed adult. If motorists choose to complete drivers ed training, they must provide the DMV with a certificate of completion when they apply for a driver license, which will waive their learner’s permit requirements. Students who attend Virginia driving school will complete a road skills test as part of their drivers ed program requirements.

Virginia Drivers Ed Benefits

In many cases, drivers education courses are a requirement before motorists may apply for a driver license in the state. However, VA driving classes are optional for motorists who are 18 years of age or older. As such, older motorists may enroll in a driving safety course before they apply for a license or they may complete a drivers education program and increase their chances of passing their driving license exams on the first try. In Virginia, motorists must retake driving lessons or complete additional behind-the-wheel training if they fail their knowledge exam and road skills test a total of three times. However, the successful completion of Virginia driver safety courses can help students increase their chances of passing their DMV tests the first time.

Virginia Drivers Education Enrollment

Motorists may enroll in an approved Virginia driving course if they meet minimum age and eligibility requirements. To enroll in drivers ed, students must contact the driving school directly to learn more about course schedules, rates and additional requirements. Available adult or teen driving schools in Virginia include drivers training under the DMV, online driving lessons or public or private school courses under the Department of Education. Unless students enroll in an online driving course, they may complete drivers education classes in person at participating schools or training centers throughout the state.

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