Driving Instruction

Do I Need to Attend a Virginia Driving School to Receive a Driver’s License?

August 14, 2021

Do I Need to Attend a Virginia Driving School to Receive a Driver’s License?

If you want to get your driver’s license in Richmond, VA, or another city in Virginia, you must attend and complete a Virginia-approved driver education course. Taking all your tests and satisfying all your classes through a state-approved driver training course ensures that the DMV will accept all your classes and behind-the-wheel training. 

Once the DMV approves your courses, you’ll receive your driver’s license and can legally drive on your own.

Do you know which Virginia driver training tests and courses you need to take?

Do you know how to sign up for a DMV-approved driver education course at a Virginia driving school? 

The requirements for a first-time driver certificate depend on your age and whether you’re getting a learner’s permit or a driver’s license. So, knowing what classes to take and where to take them can be confusing. 

Thankfully, we’re here to provide you with information on driver’s education courses in Virginia.

Keep reading to learn more about how to get a learner’s permit in VA and get an answer to, “Is driver’s ed required in VA?”

Virginia-approved Driver Education Course Requirements for Teens and Adults

Everyone needs to attend and complete a state-approved driver education program to receive their driver’s license in Virginia. 

Your age determines which courses you need to take, with those under 18 having different requirements than those over 18.

Here's a rundown of the DMV-approved driver education courses needed based on your age.

Under 18

If you’re under 18, the first two steps toward receiving your first-time driver certificate include:

  1. Receiving your learner’s permit
  2. Signing up and completing a state-approved driver training course

Below is information on how to achieve these two steps.

1. How to Get a Learner’s Permit in VA

Teenagers can get their learner’s permit at 15 years and six months of age. 

A learner’s permit allows you to drive a car as long as you’re accompanied by someone 21 years of age who holds a valid driver’s license.

The learner’s permit process involves:

  • Applying for a learner’s permit at the DMV (you’ll also complete the application process for your driver’s license)
  • Paying the associated fees
  • Taking and passing a vision screening and two-part knowledge exam

The two-part knowledge exam contains ten road sign questions and then a series of general knowledge questions. You need to get all ten signs correct and score an 80% on the general knowledge portion to receive your learner’s.

Exam questions are taken directly from the Virginia Driver’s Manual, so to prepare for the learner’s permit test, you can:

Since you’ll need to complete a Virginia driver training course to receive your permanent license, it may be beneficial to take one to help prepare you for the learner’s test, too.

Once you have your learner’s permit, you can get your driver’s license by performing these three actions:

  • Holding your learner’s for nine months
  • Driving 45 hours (15 hours at night) with a parent or guardian
  • Completing a state-approved driver training course

2. Completing a State-approved Driver Training Course

Whether you take the class before or after receiving your learner’s permit, you need to sign up for and finish an approved driver education course to qualify for a driver’s license.

Virginia driver training courses consist of two parts:

  • A 30-hour online knowledge course that teaches you the rules of the road and various defensive driving techniques
  • Seven 50-minute behind-the-wheel driving sessions with a certified instructor

Usually, you must pass the knowledge portion first before beginning behind the wheel. However, some Virginia driving schools allow students to take both courses at the same time.

After you complete the classroom and behind-the-wheel portions, you’ll be eligible to receive your driver’s license. 

Over 18

The driver’s ed requirements for someone over 18 are slightly different.

Here are the two ways someone 18 or older can get their driver’s license.

Route #1:

You can receive a license by first holding a Virginia learner’s permit for 60 days and completing a behind-the-wheel checklist with a licensed driver. Then, you must take a road skills test at the DMV, as only the DMV can administer the test without first completing a driver’s ed course.

Once you’ve held your learner's permit for 60 days, completed the checklist, and passed the road skills test, you can receive your permanent license.


Route #2

If you don’t want to wait 60 days, the second way to receive a driver’s license is to complete a Virginia-approved Adult Driver’s Education course. the knowledge test and a DMV-approved driver’s education course in Virginia.

This Virginia driving school adult class includes the classroom knowledge portion as well as the required behind-the-wheel sessions. Adult Driver's Education isn’t available through the DMV, so you’ll need to take it at a private driving school.

Completion of these requirements makes you eligible to receive your Virginia driver’s license.

Sign Up for a Virginia Driving School Class Today

“Is driver’s ed required in Virginia to receive a license?” is a common question many teens (and some adults) frequently ask. Depending on your age, you may be required to take a Virginia-approved driver education course. 

The driver’s license requirements for those under 18 include:

  • Getting a learner’s permit (passing the road sign and knowledge test)
  • Holding your learner’s for nine months
  • Completing 45 hours of in-car driving with a parent or guardian
  • Taking a Virginia driver training course (knowledge and behind-the-wheel portions)

For those 18 or older, the requirements are different. These individuals can do one of two things:

  1. Hold a learner’s for 60 days and pass the DMV road skills test
  2. Take a state-approved driver’s education course anytime after receiving your learner’s permit

At Colonial Driving School in Richmond, VA, we offer state-approved driving training courses for all ages. Our staff is trained, certified, and ready to ensure you’re prepared for every knowledge and road skills test. So whether you’re a teen looking to get your learner’s permit or you’re an adult trying to receive your driver’s license, we have the right courses for you!

Adults over 18 can sign up for our Adult Driver’s Education course.

Teens under 18 can sign up for our Teen Driver’s Education course.