The state of California has a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program created by the CA DMV that says all new drivers must successfully finish a driver’s education program prior to getting their provisional permit, which is also known as a learner’s permit.
California Driver’s Ed Eligibility Requirements
For those living in California, the age requirements are that you must be between the ages of 15.5 and 18 in order to get a learner’s permit. Getting this permit requires that you finish a state-recognized driver’s education program and pass a written test at the DMV.
NOTE: You should call your driver’s ed provider to receive more details about the minimum sign-up age.
For those who are older than 17.5 but younger than 18, you are able to get your learner’s permit without having to take a CA driver’s education course and driver training certificate. However, in that circumstance, the driving test still cannot be taken until you are 18 or older.
A driver’s ed program is an essential part of becoming a safe, smart, and responsible driver. Driver’s education in California allows you to learn the basics of road awareness and safety for new young drivers while also serving as a great refresher course for those who may have a lot of experience driving over the years. California, among many other states, says a person must complete a California driver’s education course in order to apply for a driver’s license. Many insurance companies will also grant discounts to people who have successfully finished a driver’s ed course. When taking your California driver’s education course, you’ll learn information pertaining to:
- The basic fundamentals that make up safe and responsible driving, which includes the knowledge base, the attitude, and the driving techniques needed to safely drive a vehicle on the roadways.
- The California traffic laws, including how to learn who has the right of way and how far away you should stop behind a stop sign.
- Road signs and traffic signals that you will encounter as you drive on California roadways.
- Hazards and emergency driving situations that every driver is at risk of facing, which includes inclement weather, construction zones, and safety steps for crossing at a railroad.
The CA DMV has listed out the entire curriculum of a driver’s education program. This can be useful when trying to answer any questions you may have about the program, especially in certain areas such as driving skills, road signs, alcohol, and drugs.
When taking a driver’s education program, one must finish:
- 30 hours of classroom time.
- Six hours of driving with a licensed professional instructor.
NOTE: Your six hours of actual driving time with your instructor will not count towards your required 50 hours of supervised driving that will be required in the process of obtaining your California driver’s license after you get your learner’s permit.
Just Moved to California?
If you’ve just moved to California, and you have completed driver’s education in a different state, it will likely carry over to the requirements of California as long as you turn in:
A form indicating that you’ve completed driver’s education in a different state (Form DL 33). You can get Form DL 33 from your local DMV location or by calling them at (800) 777-0133. This form should be sent to your out-of-state provider for them to complete.
A written letter from your past driver’s education provider that states you’ve completed a driver’s education course that is an equivalent to a California secondary school program. (This is described in Section 10020, Title 5 in the California Code of Regulations.) This letter has to be printed on the stationary of your past provider and signed by an official of the program.
A great way to study for your written exam is to take a free online practice exam. These exams closely resemble the written test you will encounter at the DMV, and all of the questions will be derived from the California Driver Handbook. The length and types of questions you’ll encounter on the practice exam are like a simulator for the real thing, which is perfect for those looking to pass their written exam on their first try.
What Comes after Driver’s Education?
After successfully finishing a state-recognized driver’s education course, you’ll get your certificate of completion. After that, you simply need to take the written exam to obtain a provisional permit.