Drivers Ed in Wisconsin

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Driver's Education in Wisconsin

Driver's Ed teaches teen drivers the facts, theories, and techniques of safe driving in both a classroom setting and behind the wheel of a car.

The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires all new drivers under 18 years old to complete driver's education as part of the graduated driver's licensing (GDL) process.

GDL programs restrict new drivers and gradually increase freedom as teens become more experienced.

Wisconsin Driver's Education Eligibility

You must be enrolled in a Driver's Ed course before you can apply for your Wisconsin instruction permit. To obtain your permit, you must:

  • Be at least 15 1/2 years old.
  • Be enrolled in or have graduated high school (or equivalent).
  • Pass a vision, knowledge, and road signs test.

For more detailed information about applying for a Wisconsin learner's permit, see our page on Drivers Permits in Wisconsin.

Once you have obtained your WI instruction permit, you must begin your behind-the-wheel component of the driver's education course within 60 days.

New Wisconsin Residents

If you have recently moved to Wisconsin and have already completed Driver's Ed in another state, you do not have to retake it as long as your course included both:

  • Classroom instruction.
  • Behind-the-wheel instruction.

You will need to take your certificate of completion to the WI DMV when you apply for your learner's permit.

About Your Wisconsin Driver's Ed Course

Driver's Ed is offered in most high schools and through private driving schools in Wisconsin.

All courses must meet certain standards to ensure that you receive complete, correct information and instruction.

Visit the WI DMV website for a full list of approved private driving schools.

Course Curriculum and Cost

Approved driver's education courses provide both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction.

Classroom instruction covers topics including:

  • Driving laws.
  • Safe driving techniques.
  • Alcohol and drug awareness.

Behind-the wheel instruction includes:

  • Time behind the wheel to learn and practice driving skills.
  • Time observing classmates as they learn and practice skills.

Fees and course schedules vary, so check with your chosen program for more information.

Classroom & Behind-the-Wheel Hours

Your Wisconsin Driver's Ed course must include a minimum of:

  • 30 hours of classroom instruction
  • 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.
  • 6 hours observing other learner drivers.

Some courses may provide additional hours of instruction or use different methods, like driving simulation, for part of the classroom or behind-the-wheel sections.

After Driver's Ed - Getting Your WI Driver's License

Once you've successfully completed both components of your Wisconsin driver's education course, you are on your way to getting your probationary driver's license.

Before applying, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have held your instruction permit for 6 months or longer.
  • Have not had any violations in the past 6 months.
  • Have practiced driving for 30 hours (including 10 hours at night).
    • NOTE: Up to a maximum 5 hours driving with an instructor can be counted towards the total. (Hours with an instructor count as double)
  • Be enrolled in or have graduated high school (or equivalent).
  • Pass a driving skills test.

For more information about applying for your WI driver's license, including application fees and required documents, see our page, Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Wisconsin.

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