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Driver’s Education in Iowa
If you’re a teenager applying for your first driver’s license, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) requires you to complete a Driver’s Ed program as part of the graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) program.
IA Driver’s Ed will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a safe driver and pass your DMV road test.
On this page you’ll find information about driver’s education in Iowa, how you can complete the course, and how to obtain your unrestricted driver’s license.
Driver’s Ed, a component of Iowa’s GDL program, is required for all new drivers younger than 18 years old.
You will first need to obtain your Iowa learner’s permit. You must:
- Be at least 14 years old.
- Visit your local IA DMV office with your parent or your parent’s written consent.
- Provide proof of your identity.
- Pass a vision exam and the DMV written test.
- Pay the learner’s permit fee.
For more information, please see our page covering Driver’s Permits in Iowa.
NOTE: While driver’s education is only required for teenage drivers, all new drivers can benefit from a course.
New Iowa Residents
If you are younger than 18 years old and have recently moved to Iowa, you may need to complete a Driver’s Ed course even if you hold an out-of-state driver’s license.
Contact the Iowa DMV at (800) 532-1121 for more information regarding your specific situation.
Your Iowa Driver’s Ed course will consist of lessons and training covering topics including:
- Operating a vehicle.
- Safe and defensive driving habits.
- Iowa traffic laws and rules of the road.
- Alcohol and drug abuse and awareness.
- Sharing the road with other vehicles.
Your classroom sessions coupled with your in-car instruction will allow you to learn and practice the skills necessary to pass your road test and become a responsible driver.
Classroom & Behind-the-Wheel Hours
Regardless of which driver’s education program you enroll in, the course will consist of:
- At least 30 hours of classroom lessons, which includes:
- At least 4 hours of alcohol and drug abuse material.
- At least 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training and observation.
Driver’s education programs in Iowa are provided by:
- Public & private high schools.
- Professional driving schools.
At this time, the Iowa DMV DOES NOT ACCEPT online driver’s education courses.
For a list of approved professional Driver's Ed programs near you, visit the Iowa DMV website or contact your local high school.
Once you select a course that is right for you, contact the provider for details about costs and schedules.
NOTE: Parents of home-schooled teenagers will soon be able to teach driver’s education themselves. The Iowa DOT is in the process of developing rules and an application process. Check the Iowa DMV website for updates about parent-taught Driver’s Ed.
Your next steps involve obtaining your intermediate driver’s license.
In addition to completing an Iowa driver’s education course, you’ll need to:
- Hold your instruction permit for at least 1 year.
- Have had no traffic violations for at least 6 months.
- Practice supervised driving for at least 20 hours, in addition to driving time as part of your Driver’s Ed course, with 2 hours being driven at night.
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Pass your road test.
For more information, please see our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Iowa page.
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