Everything you need to know about getting your Texas license
Most people jump through the hoops of getting their first license one-by-one. We’ll walk step-by-step through the process of how to get a Texas driver’s license.
Your driver’s ed class might be online, in a classroom, or found in a book. Whatever method you and your parent decide, this list of steps will help you feel prepared when you hop in the queue at the DMV.
Register for your drivers ed course
The first step to getting a license is enrolling in a driver’s ed classroom course. This will allow you to begin studying for the written exam. Heads up: You will still have to wait until age 15 to apply for a learner license.
Note: some students opt to do the classroom portion and behind the wheel instruction in the same time period.
What you should note about your 32 classroom hours: You can’t complete more than two hours of classroom work per day! Be sure to choose a verified course. Remember that it’s OK to choose to take the course at school, after school, or at home.
Your Guide to Types of Driver’s Ed in Texas
Some may opt to take a driver education course offered at their school. But there are three other main routes to take if there isn’t space in your regular fall or spring semester to learn the laws of driving. Read about your options for driving school later in this post.
You might choose a driving education course that’s outside of school – in other words a traditional driver education course by a certified driver training school. Driver education courses are taught in person, and now more than ever, have shifted to offer remote online platforms. If you choose a private company, verify the school’s credentials before you purchase here.
There’s also an option to choose a Parent Taught Driver Education (PTDE) course. You can find instructions here. For parents with the time and will to teach, this method only costs $20. There’s no need to purchase an additional online course unless you feel it’ll help you better understand the material.
Here we’ll focus on how to get a Texas Driver’s license if you are under the age of 18.
Texas Parent Taught Drivers Ed
A teen driver’s ed course can be taken:
- In a course offered at your public school
- At home through the parent-taught driver education
- Through a course offered by a licensed training school. (May be online or in person.)
For parents who have the time, doing parental instruction behind the wheel can be a great way to know first-hand your teen’s knowledge behind the wheel. Keep in mind that insuring a teen with a learner’s permit is not the same as insuring a fully licensed teen.
The learner’s permit is a driving permit the teen gets before they become fully licensed. In the most basic sense, teens with a learner’s permit don’t need to have their own car insurance.Your insurance company will typically extend the policy to cover a teen with a learner’s permit. Don’t assume that your teen is automatically added – you should contact your car insurance agency to notify them of the change. Otherwise your teen, because they live in the same household as you, could be considered an excluded driver.
To get started, visit Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) Driver Education and Safety.
Begin practice with a learner’s permit for the practical driving exam
Now that you’ve studied and completed the written portion of your class, it’s time to take the written exam! While the test won’t be fun (snooze) it’ll put you one step closer to getting behind the wheel with a learner’s permit.
Complete this step, and you can start the fun (and important!) part of learning to drive in the car.
Steps of Graduated Driver License Program
In Texas, there are two phases all drivers go through with licensing. Step one is the “Learner License.” In step two, teen drivers must have a “Provisional Driver License.” Keep reading to learn more about how to get a Learner’s License.
Learner’s License (Phase I)
An entry-level license allows a teen driver to practice driving with a licensed adult. And teens face higher scrutiny when it comes to using digital devices. Teens are prohibited from using any type of communications device, including a hands-free device while driving except in case of emergency.
This phase lasts at least 6 months. A teen must hold a provisional driver’s license for at least six months before graduating on to the next step. The only exception is if the teen turns 18 before the six months have elapsed.
How to Apply for Your Learner License
Gather your documents to bring to the DMV.
Show proof of Citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.
Demonstrate proof of Texas Residency – for students an easy choice is a Texas high school report card or transcript.
Social Security Number
Show proof of Texas Driver Education Certificate. Must have completed the required 32 classroom hours (or 6 if completing the concurrent education option.)
Provide proof of school attendance with a Verification of Enrollment form. (Must be signed by a school admin like your counselor or vice principal.)
Pay a $16 learner’s permit fee.
Complete the application form.
Proof of car insurance for each vehicle owned
Must have a parent or legal guardian present to take the test.
First, before you go the DMV, complete the driver’s license application before going to the DMV.
Second, schedule an appointment. Make sure your parent can be present with you at the time of the appointment. If your primary caregiver or adult is someone other than your parent, you will need to provide a certified court order proving guardianship.
When you go to the DPS you must provide the original form to verify that the required classroom hours have been completed. If you are doing a parent taught course, you will find the forms in the Parent Taught Driver Ed packet. Your parent will be required to complete those forms for you. Make sure they know to sign them in front of a DPS officer!
After you pass the vision test, submit your paperwork, and if necessary taken the driver knowledge exam, you will enter into Phase 1 of the Graduated Driver License Program. Now you may begin driving with a licensed adult over the age of 21. Congratulations on earning your Learner’s Permit!
Take a practical exam for a driver’s license!
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Held a valid learner license (or hardship license) for a minimum of 6 months
- Completed the classroom and behind-the-wheel portions of driver education
- Completed an Impact Texas teen Drivers (ITTD) course
- Taken (and passed!) the practical driving course.
Again you will need to bring your parent with you, an updated VOE, driving education documents (from your in-car lessons), and an Impact Texas Drivers (ITD) certificate of completion.
What is the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Course? It’s a free, 2 hour video class that shows how dangerous distracted driving is. It’s made specifically for new drivers between the ages of 15-17 years. You have to complete the course whether you opted for a course or the parent-taught method.