Driver's Training in Iowa

Iowa Driver's Training

If you're a teenager applying for your first driver's license with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), you'll need to complete both driver's training and behind-the-wheel driving practice.

Iowa driver's training is a requirement of the state's graduated driver's licensing (GDL) program, designed to ensure you have all the skills of a safe and responsible driver.

Supervised behind-the-wheel practice will allow you to gain the experience and confidence necessary to pass your road test and eventually earn your unrestricted driver's license.

Each requirement will also help you build the driving skills you'll need to take on the responsibilities and challenges of driving alone.

On this page you'll learn about your behind-the-wheel requirements and the next steps in the Iowa GDL program.

IA Behind-the-Wheel Requirements

If you are younger than 18 years old, you'll need to:

  • Complete an approved Driver's Ed program (including driver's training with an instructor).
  • Complete at least 20 hours of additional supervised behind-the-wheel practice.

You can begin the GDL process when you are at least 14 years old by applying for your learner's permit and enrolling in driver's education.

For more information about applying for your learner's permit and enrolling in a driver's education/driver's training course, please visit our pages on those topics:

Driver's Training in Iowa

In-car driver's training is part of your Iowa driver's education program and can be taken at a public/private high school or professional driving school.

Along with the classroom component of your course, you'll complete at least 6 hours of in-car training with your driving instructor.

Your driver's training will help you learn technical driving skills that you'll be able to apply when practicing with your learner's permit. You'll also have the opportunity to practice and strengthen the knowledge you'll have gained during the classroom component of your Iowa driver's education course.

Supervised Driving Practice in Iowa

While you hold your Iowa MVD learner's permit, you'll be permitted to drive with:

  • Your licensed parent/legal guardian.
  • A licensed immediate family member who is at least 21 years old.
  • A licensed adult who is at least 25 years old and has written permission from your parent/guardian.

To satisfy the requirements of the learner's permit stage of the IA GDL program, you'll need to complete at least 20 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel practice, including 2 hours at night. Your supervising driver will need to download the Parent's Supervised Driving Program, which includes the driving log to track your hours. You can also download the RoadReady app to track your hours as well. Bring this log with you when you apply for your license.

Your supervised behind-the-wheel training is crucial to preparing you for your Iowa DMV road test.

Getting Your Provisional Driver's License

You'll be eligible to apply for your provisional driver's license once you:

  • Are at least 16 years old.
  • Have held your learner's permit for at least 1 year.
  • Have had a clean driving record for the whole 6 months before applying.
  • Have successfully completed a Driver's Ed course. (See “Driver's Training in Iowa" above.)
  • Have completed your behind-the-wheel driving practice. (See “Supervised Driving Practice" above.)

For more information about any additional documents and fees you'll need to submit to the Iowa DMV, please visit our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Iowa page.

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