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Driver’s Education in Washington
The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) requires every new driver under 18 years old to take a driver’s education course, also called Traffic Safety Education (TSE), before getting a driver’s license.
A driver’s education course will provide all kinds of information about WA driving laws, operating a motor vehicle, and becoming a safer driver.
You may attend a driver education course as early as 15 years old. While you can enroll in your course before you obtain an instruction permit, you must get your permit within 10 days of starting your first class.
Depending on your age, you must satisfy different drivers ed requirements to apply for your instruction permit:
- If you’re younger than 15 1/2 years old, you must show a certificate of enrollment in your Driver’s Ed course.
- Drivers of any age must pass the knowledge test.
NOTE: If you're younger than 18 years old your parents must give permission for the instruction permit by providing a signature.
For information about the process of applying for your permit and specific permit restrictions, please visit our Drivers Permits in Washington page.
All approved driver’s education courses in Washington will provide course material about:
- Being a safe driver.
- The highway transportation system.
- Motor vehicle laws.
- Car insurance requirements.
Classroom and Behind-the-Wheel Hours
The Washington driver’s training course you attend must include:
- 30 hours of classroom instruction (2 hours per day max).
- At least 6 hours of driving practice (1 hour per day max).
- At least 1 hour of behind-the-wheel observation.
NOTE: If you’re a teen with a valid license from another state, you still need to meet all the same requirements of the intermediate driver's license laws in Washington.
Types of Driver’s Ed Courses in Washington
If you’re under 18 years old, you must attend an in-classroom driver education program at your high school or a driver training school.
If you have specific questions, contact the Washington Driver Training School Program via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you complete all the requirements for driver’s education and hold your learner's permit for at least 6 months, you may apply for your Washington driver’s license. You must visit your local WA DOL office and show:
- A driver’s education completion certificate (if the training school did not submit it electronically).
- Proof you completed at least 50 hours of driving practice (10 hours must be at night).
- A completed Parental Authorization Affidavit (Form DLE-520-003).
- Proof of liability car insurance.
- Proof of your identity.
NOTE: You must be at least 16 years old to apply for your Washington driver’s license. You will only be issued an intermediate driver's license, which carries driving restrictions, if you are under 18 years old.
For more information, including fees and other required documents, visit our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Washington page.
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