Driver's Training in Massachusetts

As you approach driving age, seeing your peers get their licenses can make you anxious to get yours.

But taking tests and sitting in classrooms is only half the battle. According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), you’ll still need to get the right training under the supervision of professional instructors and family members.

On this page you'll find information about your behind-the-wheel driver training and practice requirements, as well as the next steps towards your first driver's license.

MA JOL Program Requirements

If you're a teenager applying for a new Massachusetts driver's license, you must satisfy the requirements of the RMV’s junior operator license (JOL) program to receive a license. The JOL program is Massachusetts’ version of a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program.

Your JOL program has three components:

  1. Classroom instruction;
  2. Professional driving instruction; and
  3. Supervised driving practice.

You can begin the JOL program and your behind-the-wheel requirements when you turn 16 years old by applying for your learner's permit and enrolling in a driver's education course.

You’re required to spend several hours:

  • In a driver’s education class. You can complete this:
    • In a classroom.
    • Online.
      • For more information on completing your driver’s education requirements, check out our page on MA Driver’s Ed.
  • Receiving on-road instruction, which is the non-classroom component of your Driver’s Ed class. This includes:
    • Driving practice under the supervision of a certified instructor, known as driver training.
    • Time spent in a vehicle while another student is taught by an instructor.
  • Practicing supervised, behind-the-wheel driving.
    • This includes time spent practicing under the supervision of a parent or guardian.

We'll go through all of these requirements with you below!

Driver's Training Course

Driver's training in Massachusetts is a component of your Driver's Ed course and is offered by public schools and professional driver's training schools.

Visit the RMV’s driver’s education guide to make sure the program in your area follows the required standards.

Your Driver's Ed program will include a minimum of:

  • 12 hours of behind-the-wheel on-road instruction with your driver's training instructor.
  • 6 hours in a car being driven by a fellow student, under the observation of your instructor.
  • 30 hours of classroom instruction.

About to get your learner's permit?

Practice makes perfect—and you want to earn your learner's permit on the first try, right? Then set yourself up for success by taking an online practice test or two before your permit exam!

Supervised Driving in MA

Before you can advance from your learner's permit to your provisional driver's license, you'll need to complete EITHER:

  • 40 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel practice IN ADDITION TO your driver training requirements.
  • 30 hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel practice ONLY IF you have completed a driver skills development course.
    • A driver skills development course requires a valid learner’s permit and at least 10 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training. Check out the RMV’s explanation of driver education programs for details.

No matter your age, while you hold a learner's permit you are allowed to drive ONLY while accompanied by a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old and has at least 1 year of experience driving with a license.

You can keep track of your supervised driving hours with the Massachusetts RMV Supervised Driving Log.

Driving Restrictions

If you’re under 18 years old and have a permit:

  • You’re NOT ALLOWED to drive between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m unless you are accompanied by a licensed parent or legal guardian in the front seat.
  • Your parent or guardian must complete 2 hours of lessons in a driver training course, unless they’ve completed a course within the last 5 years.
    • Parents are encouraged to use the RMV’s online resource to read up on the supervised driving program.
  • You'll need to submit a written statement signed by your parent/legal guardian to certify your driving practice before taking your road test.

Next Steps—Get Your Provisional License

You will be eligible to take your road test and obtain your junior operator license (JOL) when you:

  • Are at least 16 1/2 years old.
  • Have held your learner's permit for at least 6 months.
  • Have had no traffic violations in the past 6 months.
  • Have completed both the classroom and driver's training components of your Driver's Ed course.
  • Have completed your supervised Massachusetts behind-the-wheel training.

Once you meet the requirements above, visit the Massachusetts RMV website to schedule your driving test.

For more information about the forms, fees, and any other documents you'll need to receive your driver's license, please visit our guide to teen licenses in Massachusetts.

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