Are you a Texas resident who’s ready to get your license? Great! Let’s talk about the basics of getting your Texas drivers license. Sometimes all that info is hard to comprehend so we’re going to break it down and make it easy to understand so you know exactly what to do when you go to the Department of Public Safety.

First Things First

This whole “getting your drivers license” process starts when you’re 14. When you turn 14, you can start taking driver education. At 15, you’re eligible to get your instruction permit AKA learner permit. And when you turn 16, you can get your license! So basically, one year of learning without driving, then one year of learning while driving with a licensed driver, then you’ll be driving without a licensed driver (you’ll still be learning, just not through drivers ed or permit driving).

So, as we said, the first step to getting your license is taking drivers ed. Based on your age, you’ll have different requirements for what you need to take. Here is a breakdown by age:

All About Driver Education

Teen Drivers Ed

So let’s break down the drivers ed requirements for teens 14-17. For teen drivers ed, you’re required to take two separate portions of drivers ed learning:

  • Classroom: 32 hours (limited to two hours per day)
  • Behind-the-wheel: 44 hours (limited to one hour per day)

You’re limited to two hours per day of both types of learning combined. So, if you take your one hour of behind-the-wheel, you can only take one more hour of classroom learning that day.

Let’s break down the behind-the-wheel portion even further:

  • Seven hours of observation: Watching a parent/instructor drive a motor vehicle
  • Seven hours of training: Driving while a parent/instructor coaches you while you drive a motor vehicle
  • 30 hours of practice: Driving a motor vehicle with a licensed driver (10 of these hours must be done at night)

There are two different methods of drivers ed you can take: Block or Concurrent.

  • Block: You must finish all 32 hours of classroom instruction before you are able to drive
  • Concurrent: You are able to get your permit and start your behind-the-wheel portion after taking six hours of classroom instruction.
Licensed Using Aceable Drivers Ed!
Licensed Using Aceable Drivers Ed!

There are three different types of teen drivers ed in Texas:

  • Drivers ed at a public school: These are taught at high schools. Some offer just classroom and some offer both classroom and behind-the-wheel. Classes are usually taught at night or during the summer, but space is always limited so make sure you sign up early if this is the route you want to go!
  • Drivers ed at a driver training school: These are schools made for driving training. Sometimes you can do both the behind-the-wheel (seven hours of observation and seven hours of instruction) and classroom portion here, sometimes you can do the behind-the-wheel and take classroom at an online partner.
  • Parent taught driver education (PTDE): With PTDE, the parent does not have to teach their children drivers ed, but they are responsible for overseeing all 44 hours of behind-the wheel instruction. This means the parent just picks the classroom provider. For this, online drivers ed is becoming an extremely popular choice. This way, you and your child can learn drivers ed on the schedule that works best for the both of you.

PTDE sounds great, right? We know! There are a few things that can disqualify a parent from using PTDE, including: if you’ve had your license taken away in the last three years or if you’ve ever been convicted of a DUI. To read all about these rules, click here.

One last thing about PTDE: If this is the route you want to take, you’ll have to get the PTDE packet before you start. You can order this from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) website and it costs $20.

Adult Drivers Ed

If you’re 18 or older, you’re still required to take drivers ed, but it’s different than teen drivers ed. Adult drivers ed is a much shorter six hour course.

You can choose to take adult drivers ed online or at a brick-and-mortar school. If you check the TDLR website, you can find a list of all driver education schools in Texas so you can pick the one that’s right for you. It’s different than teen drivers ed in the fact that you don’t have to have a learner permit or complete behind-the-wheel training. It’s a much easier process.

How to Get Your Texas Learner Permit

To get your Texas learner permit, you’ll have to pass a written knowledge test at the DPS or if you take online drivers ed, you may be able to pass the written test via the course and skip having to take it at the Department of Public Safety. That way, you can just roll in with the correct paperwork and receive your permit.

Texas DPS Approved Online Drivers Ed
Aceable Drivers Ed is Approved by the Texas DPS

Let’s talk about what to bring to the DPS to get your permit:

  • Proof of identity
  • Two documents as proof of Texas residency
  • Proof of social security number
  • Proof of enrollment/graduation from school, like a VOE form, high school diploma, or GED
  • Proof that you are enrolled in/completed PTDE and forms from your PTDE packet
  • $16 for learner license fee

For these, make sure you have all of the original copies, because photocopies will not be accepted.

How to Get Your Texas Driver License

So you’ve finished drivers ed, you’re 16 years old, and you’ve held your permit for at least six months. Well, you’re ready to get your driver license! The last step you have to complete before taking your driving test is taking Impact Texas Teen Drivers (ITTD).

ITTD is a free, two-hour video course that must be completed no more than 90 days before you show up at the DPS to get your driver license. What you do is go to the Texas DPS website and register. You can complete the course all in one two-hour sitting or take it in 15-minute increments. When you’re done, you’ll get a certificate certifying your done-ness.

The last step is passing your driving test! This test is just to make sure all your education and practice have helped to make you drive safely. And since you’ve been getting so much practice, you’re sure to ace it.

Let’s talk about what to bring to the DPS to get your license:

  • Your parent instructor
  • Your permit
  • Proof of yours or your parent’s’ car insurance
  • Proof of yours or your parent’s Texas vehicle registration
  • Proof of enrollment/graduation from school, like a VOE form, high school diploma, or GED
  • Certificates of Completion for Drivers Ed and ITTD

Bring those, pass your driving test, and bam! You’re officially a licensed driver and can hit those open Texas roads! You’ll start with your restricted license until you’re 18, then you can graduate to an unrestricted license.

How to Get Your Texas Driver License as an Adult

To get your license, you’ll have to pass two tests:
  • A written knowledge exam
  • A behind-the-wheel driving test

You may be able to take the written exam with your drivers ed program, so then all you’ll have to do when you get to the Department of Public Safety is take your driving test. Easy peasy!

If you’re want some more driving experience before taking your driving test, you have two options:

  • You can get your Texas adult permit, which is for people ages 18-24 who have never driven before.
  • You can get your Texas driver license with a B-Restriction, which is for drivers age 25+.

Both of these are an easy way to get practice with other licensed drivers in the car before taking the wheel solo. For each of these, bring $25, the correct DPS documents, and pass a vision exam.

Aceable Support is located in Austin, TX

Let’s talk about what to bring to the DPS to get your adult driver license:

  • Driver license application (found at DPS)
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of social security number
  • Two documents as proof of Texas residency
  • Proof of name change (only if your name is now different than what’s on your proof of identity document – for example, from marriage or divorce)
  • Certificate of Completion for drivers ed
  • Driver license fee of $25

Find a complete, printable checklist here!

Again, only legit originals are allowed – photocopies will not be accepted. But once you have those and you pass your driving test, you’ll officially be a licensed driver with all those sweet driving privileges!

So, are you ready to get started on Texas drivers ed?