A Step-By-Step Guide to Texas Parent Taught Drivers Ed

Want to get your Texas driver's license without going to a formal driving school for behind-the-wheel training? In many cases, a parent can fill the role of instructor for free, thanks to a program called Texas Parent Taught Driver's Ed (PTDE). This can be an excellent option for families if driver's ed isn’t offered at their teen’s school and commercial driving schools are too expensive. 

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) oversees the PTDE program. If you're ready to get started, the first step is to determine whether you're eligible for the PTDE program. If you meet the requirements, you can complete the program in eight simple steps:

  1. Sign up for a state-approved PTDE course.

  2. Choose a driving instructor.

  3. Order your Parent Taught Driver's Ed packet.

  4. Complete Level 1 of the Texas PTDE course.

  5. Get your learner license at the Texas DPS.

  6. Complete the remainder of the course and the behind-the-wheel training requirement.

  7. Complete the Impact Texas Teen Drivers (ITTD) Program.

  8. Pass the driving test to get your provisional driver's license.

How to Complete Texas Parent-Taught Drivers Ed in 8 Steps

Step 1 - Sign Up for the Texas PTDE Course

sign up for parent taught drivers ed with aceableEducation is the key to becoming a licensed driver. The first thing parental driving instructors need to do is partner up with a TDLR-approved PTDE course provider like Aceable to complete the education portion. Completing the course is part of the Parent Taught Driver's Ed requirements, and you won’t be able to get a learner's permit without being enrolled. 

The most convenient option is to take Texas driver's ed online. Aceable offers self-paced online courses that are fun, easy, and interactive. Plus, if you sign up with Aceable, you can take the learner's permit written exam using our app and skip a trip to the DPS office!

Here are some basics about the Texas PTDE course:

  • Level 1 is a six-hour section that needs to be taken before you can get a learner's permit.

  • There are 12 levels that total 32 hours of instruction.

  • You’ll need to pass an assessment test with a 70% or higher at the end of each level.

  • Once you finish all of the levels, you’ll receive a certificate of completion.

Our course is made for modern education that gives new drivers and their parents more control. You can take our course on any device — your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android phone, Android tablet, laptop, and desktop computer. You can even start on one device, then pick up where you left off on another, making Texas driver's ed online a seamless learning experience.

Here are a few more reasons why Aceable is the best choice for online driver's ed!

Step 2 - Choose a Driving Instructor

how to choose driving instructor with aceableOne of the most important decisions you'll need to make is who will be the PTDE instructor. It’s called Parent Taught Driver's Ed, but in reality, the instructor doesn't necessarily have to be a parent. A “parent” instructor can be:

  • A biological parent

  • An adoptive parent

  • A foster parent

  • A legal guardian

  • A grandparent

  • Step-parents and step-grandparents

No matter who you choose to be the instructor, they’ll need to meet minimum PTDE instructor requirements. These include: 

  • Meeting the relationship requirements set forth by the State of Texas.

  • Having held a valid driver's license for the past three years that has not been suspended, revoked, or forfeited following a traffic offense.

  • NO DWI convictions or probate sentences in the last seven years.

  • NO criminally negligent homicide convictions or probate sentences in the last seven years. 

  • Not having three or more moving violations or two or more moving violations that resulted in an accident in the past three years. 

Using a Designated Individual as the Instructor

There’s one more option. A parent or guardian can designate an individual to be the driving instructor. However, this option comes with a few more requirements. They must meet all PTDE requirements above, and:

  • Cannot charge a fee at any time.

  • Must have been a licensed driver for at least seven years.

  • Must be at least 25 years old.

**Before ordering the packet, check the TDLR official website to determine if a parent or designated individual is eligible to be an instructor.

Step 3 - Order Your Parent Taught Driver's Ed (PTDE) Packet

To get started, you’ll need the official Parent Taught parent taught drivers ed packet aceableDriver's Ed packet. You can order the PTDE packet online from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). There's a processing fee of $20 that you can pay with a credit or debit card.

When you submit your form online, the TDLR will send a PTDE packet back to you by mail or by email, whichever you choose. If you choose to receive the packet by mail, it will take about 2-3 weeks for it to be delivered. If you choose to receive the packet by email, the TDLR will send a link within a few minutes, and you can immediately download the packet.

The Texas PTDE packet will include: 

  • An explanation of the parent instructor's responsibilities and obligations.

  • Behind-the-wheel training tools and forms.

  • An affidavit that must be filled out by the parent instructor.

  • A purchase receipt. 

Don’t forget to get the packet! You'll need to show the purchase receipt at the DPS office. Without it, you cannot get your learner's permit or provisional driver's license. If you need help, Aceable's experts are available to provide resources on how to fill out the parent-taught driver's ed packet.

Step 4 - Finish Level 1 of Online Driving School and Pass the Permit Exam

how to get your texas learners permit with aceableBefore you can get a learner's permit, you’ve got to do some learning. The DPS requires that the first six hours of the Parent Taught Driver's Ed course be completed before you can take the written exam.

Level 1 in the Aceable app gives you the rundown on everything driving-related so you can qualify for a permit. In the first six hours, you’ll learn:

  • The rules and regulations for using a learner's permit. 

  • General traffic laws and signs in Texas.

  • Driver responsibilities.

  • Blood alcohol level and impairment information.

  • How to share the road with pedestrians and cyclists. 

  • Best practices for safe driving.

And here's where things get really great — not only is Aceable the only state-approved driver's ed app, but we're also the only Parent Taught Driver's Ed course in Texas approved to offer the TDLR written test within our app and website. 

Once the first six hours are done, you can take the actual written permit test right inside the app without having to make a trip to the DPS office. After completing the test, we'll email you a certificate within three business days. With the certificate in hand, you’re ready to apply for your learner’s license!

Step 5 - Get Your Learner License at the DPS

what do you need to get your learners permit in texas with aceableVisiting the DPS is fairly low on the list of things people like to do in their free time, but it's a necessary step in getting your learner's permit. At least with Aceable’s app, you can continue working on your driver's ed course while waiting in line to apply for your Texas learner's permit. 

When you head over to the DPS, make sure to bring the following:

  • The parent instructor — they must be present for the application to be processed.

  • The receipt from your PTDE Program Guide.

  • Social Security card (no copies, originals only).

  • Verification of enrollment in a school. 

  • Completed driver's license application (DL-14B).

If you’re an Aceable student, there’s no need to worry about forgetting a form. We’ll send you a checklist with the forms you need to bring with you to the DPS. 

While at the DPS office, you’ll also take an eye exam. If you wear contacts or glasses make sure to bring them. And don't forget you'll want to look your best, since you’ll be posing for the picture on your learner's permit. 

Step 6 - Complete the Online Driving School Portion and the Behind-the-Wheel Training

behind the wheel training with aceableOnce you’ve got your learner license tucked away in your wallet, it’s time to move on to the next phase of the licensing process. Go ahead and finish up the Aceable driver's ed course, which is 26 additional hours of instruction. As soon as you’re done, we’ll send you a Texas Driver Education Certificate of Completion. 

While you’re wrapping up the course, you can start working on the behind-the-wheel training requirement. Work out a time when you and your parent instructor can devote at least an hour to driving around. Begin with the basics like parking in a mostly vacant parking lot. As the hours add up, you can start learning more advanced moves like the three-point turnaround. 

The first 14 hours of behind-the-wheel training have to be with your parent instructor. Another 30 hours of driving (at least 10 hours at night) can be with any licensed driver over the age of 21 who the parent instructor has certified. In total, you’ll need to do 44 hours of behind-the-wheel training.

Step 7 - Complete the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Program

Every student must complete the Impact Texas Teen Drivers program (ITTD). It's an eight-part, two-hour video course provided free of charge on the DPS website. The course covers the dangers of distracted driving with state statistics and real-world stories.

You can’t take the driving skills exam until the ITTD course is completed. You’ll need to get it done within 90 days before you take your driving exam

Step 8 - Take the Driving Skills Test and Get Your Provisional Driver's License at the DPS

get your license with aceableNow that you have all the required education and training completed, the last step is going back to the DPS office to take the driving skills test. Make sure to book your test ahead of time using the scheduling link on the DPS website

In addition to bringing your own vehicle for the test, you’ll need to provide some documentation to prove you are eligible to take the driving test for a provisional license. Reference this list of forms needed for a provisional license to make sure you have everything ready on test day. Don't forget the PTDE Program Guide receipt and your driving log to show you finished the behind-the-wheel training hours. 

Not sure what to do with the forms? Check out this guide on how to fill out Parent Taught Driver's Ed forms.

Prepping for the Driving Test

Before you take your driving test, it's helpful to understand what to expect and what you'll be tested one. You can find all of this information in the Texas Driver Handbook. If you can execute all of the maneuvers in the Driver Safety Checklist, then you’re ready to take the skills exam. Here are a few other key details about the driving exam:

  • You’ll take the test using your own vehicle. 

  • The vehicle will be inspected before the exam to ensure it’s safe to drive.

  • The exam provider isn’t allowed to engage in general conversation once the test begins, so ask any questions you have before starting the exam. 

  • The driving exam will last about 20 minutes. 

  • If you do something dangerous or illegal, the exam will immediately end, and you’ll automatically fail. 

  • You’ll be told if you passed right after completing the driving test, plus you’ll get feedback and constructive criticism on what you can improve upon as a licensed driver.

  • You get three attempts to pass the driving test within a 90-day period. 

Once you pass the driving test, you’re officially a licensed driver in Texas! The DPS will give you a paper license that can be used until your lovely little plastic piece of freedom comes in the mail. 

Where is the first place you plan to drive with your newfound freedom? Make it epic! And when you arrive, take a photo and tag us @aceable on Instagram.

For more tools to help you accomplish the 44 hours of behind-the-wheel training download the full Parent-Taught PDF guide. You'll get access to a driver's ed cheat sheet, lesson planner, driving hours scheduler, tips, tricks, and even a parent-teen contract to make parent-taught driver's ed a smooth experience.

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Updated 6/12/24