How Many Hours of Drivers Ed is Required in California?

Are you preparing to complete your drivers license application in the Golden State? In California, two of the most important steps are to finish drivers education and behind-the-wheel training.

State regulations can be confusing for teens and parents trying to complete the various DMV steps. Many especially wonder how many hours of drivers ed is required in California. Aceable is here to provide guidance as you navigate the requirements for obtaining a driver’s license.

Drivers Education Requirements for Teens

For teens in California, drivers ed requirements typically involve 30 hours of professional classroom instruction or equivalent home study or internet training. In this case, any teen between the ages of 15½ and 17½ must complete those 30 hours of drivers ed for their learners permit. This Drivers Ed program (which needs to be DMV-certified) is the first step for most students.

These programs cover essential topics like traffic laws, road safety, and accident prevention. Aspiring drivers must understand this content and the required hours they put towards their license to be adequately prepared. Completing a state-approved driver education program is a crucial step in the process of becoming a safe and responsible driver.

Getting Behind the Wheel

After taking a drivers ed course and passing the written test at the DMV, behind-the-wheel training begins. This drivers training is all about getting practice experience in real driving scenarios—something all students need before driving on their own. 

How many hours of driving do you need to get your license in California? Drivers Training requires a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Many parents and students also ask: “How many hours do you need with a driving instructor in California?” All six of those hours need to be with a professional instructor.

In addition to your six hours with an approved instructor, students also need 50 supervised driving hours, with 10 of those hours conducted at night. “Supervised driving” can be with a parent, guardian, or another adult who is at least 25 years old and has a valid drivers license. Driving sessions typically shouldn't exceed two hours per day; this keeps drivers fresh so that they can effectively learn this skill without getting fatigued.

So How Many Hours Of Drivers Ed Is Required In California?

How many hours of drivers ed is required in California, really? Let’s review and break it down.

California ultimately requires a total of at least 56 hours of drivers training to apply for your license and take the official driving test. This includes at least 50 hours with a parent or guardian and an additional six hours with a professional instructor. 

Certificates of completion are provided by the instructor, which you take to the DMV as proof of your DT completion. Students also need their parent or guardian to provide verification at the DMV, signing off that the student did complete 50 hours of training with them.

Here’s another caveat: before you turn 18, you’ll need to practice for a minimum of six months before taking the driving test. What does this mean? Essentially, you need to drive for 56 hours, but even if you complete those hours in less than six months, you still need to have six months' worth of driving before you can take the test.

For example, let’s say you get your learners permit in February and have completed your hours by June. You still must wait until July to go to the DMV and take your test since you haven’t been driving for six months yet. This gives new drivers enough time to gain experience and develop their skills behind the wheel before earning their license.

To summarize, remember that to take the driving test, students must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.

  • Have their permit for a minimum of 6 months.

  • Complete a California drivers education course approved by the DMV (if you're under 17½).

  • Complete 6 hours of professional DT (if you're under 17½).

  • Have completed 50 hours (including 10 hours of night driving) of practice with a licensed adult who is 25 years or older (if you're under 18).

Start Driving Today with Aceable

Drivers education doesn’t have to be confusing with the right program—which is where Aceable comes in.

We’re a state-approved driving school designed to make obtaining a license fun and simple. By enrolling in Aceable, you'll gain access to engaging content, interactive lessons, and expert guidance, all 100% online. Students will be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to become safe and responsible drivers. Plus, with Aceable's user-friendly platform, you can learn at your own pace and on your schedule.

Don't wait any longer to start your driving journey. Enroll in Aceable today and take the first step towards obtaining your driver's license with confidence.

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