As a former driving instructor, I’ve reviewed and analyzed a ton of driving schools, including all of the online driver’s ed programs I’ve reviewed here. Unfortunately, not all drivers ed programs are created equal, and further, driving instructors vary widely in their experience and teaching methods. Some are great and some are lousy.
I thought I would create this page specifically for Austin drivers ed reviews. We will cover both online drivers ed programs that I recommend as well as some local drivers ed companies based out of Austin.
Understanding Your Drivers Education Options
Whether you live in Austin or any other place in Texas, you have some unique options available to you. The state of Texas has given you quite a bit of flexibility on how you wish to complete your drivers ed requirements.
Since there are so many different ways to fulfill your drivers ed requirements, I will organize these Austin drivers ed reviews by the type of program you wish to go with.
Parent Taught Drivers Ed?
One of the most popular drivers ed courses in Austin is the Parent Taught Drivers Ed (PTDE) option. This option is extremely popular all throughout Texas and rightfully so. It offers the most flexibility and is generally a very cost-effective option.
How it works – Parent Taught Drivers Ed is basically a homeschool drivers ed program. A parent or guardian can serve as the driving instructor to fulfill the 34 hours of mandated behind-the-wheel training. All 32 hours of your required “classroom” hours can be done through a Texas state certified online driver’s ed program like this one.
Austin Parent Taught Drivers Ed Course Review
Listed below are my top recommended Parent Taught Drivers Ed courses for Austin. Any of these courses will fulfill your “classroom” requirements online.
While Aceable is an online drivers ed course, they are actually based out of Austin, Texas, so even if you go with the Parent Taught Drivers Ed option, you can still support a local company. In addition, Aceable really is my top recommended drivers ed course for any state it is certified in. They offer the most modern course with great videos, animations, interactive features, and it works great on mobile devices.
While DriversEd.com is not an Austin based drivers ed company, they do offer one of the oldest and most well-established Parent Taught Drivers Ed courses you can sign up for. Their course is certified in the entire state of Texas, so you’re good to go. DriversEd.com is also unique in that they operate behind the wheel training as well, so if you still want to get some drive time in with a driving instructor, this would be a great option.
Driver Ed To Go is actually new to this list of the best driving schools in Austin, Texas. In prior years, I did not include them here as the course was getting pretty outdated. Fortunately, they have recently updated the entire course to make it more fresh and modern. It now works well on mobile devices, it has fresh modern videos, new interactive features, and updated written content. The main selling point for Driver Ed To Go has always been the low price, but it now has quality course content to go along with it. So, if you want to save a few bucks but still want a legit online drivers ed course in Austin, this is a great option for 2019.
iDriveSafely is another Parent Taught Drivers Ed course that has been approved in Austin for a couple of decades now. This is a tried and tested drivers ed course that has dominated the industry since online drivers ed first became a thing. They have had millions of students go through their courses. I hate to admit it, but I really love their animated cast of characters. The car air freshener guy is my favorite! By the end of the course, you might even feel a little sad to say goodbye.
Instructor Taught Drivers Ed In Austin Texas
The more “classic” way of completing drivers ed in Austin is to have some driving hours with a Texas state certified driving instructor. If you choose this option, you will need to have 44 hours of behind the wheel instruction and 14 of those hours must be with a certified driving instructor. The remaining driving hours can be completed at any licensed adult over the age of 21 who have had their license for at least one year.
Classroom Or Online? With this option, you can either complete your required classroom hours online or in a traditional classroom with a local Austin drivers ed company. While most Austin drivers ed students are choosing online drivers ed these days, some still like having a traditional classroom environment with an instructor to ask questions to. Either way, I’ll provide you with a full list of certified courses, whether online or offline, below.
Every ONLINE Austin Drivers Ed Course
This is a list of every Austin drivers ed courses you can take online. I’ve indicated which ones I recommend most, but any of the below online drivers ed courses will fulfill your drivers ed “classroom” requirements. All of these courses will also help match you with a certified driving instructor in Austin:
- Aceable (Recommended)
- DriversEd.com (Recommended)
- Driver Ed To Go (Recommended)
- iDriveSafely (Recommended)
- Safe Way Driving
- National Highway Safety Administration
- Driving Quest
- Texas Instructor-Led Drivers Ed
- Texas Driving School
- Virtual Teen
- National Driver Training Institute
Every CLASSROOM Based Austin Drivers Ed Course
For those who would rather complete their drivers ed classroom requirements in an actual classroom, here are local Austin drivers ed courses you can go with:
- Austin Driving School – I actually wrote a full review of Austin Driving School here.
- National Driver Training
- Travis Driving School
- Easy Street Driving
- A Better Choice Driving School
What You Should Know About Austin Drivers Ed Instructors
If you look at online reviews of Austin drivers ed companies, you’ll notice that they receive very poor reviews and ratings. If you look even closer, you’ll notice that most of the complaints that are posted are during the summer months.
Here’s what the deal is – The driver instruction industry is very seasonal. During the summer months, drivers ed companies in Austin, and really all across the country, get slammed with a huge wave of new students all at once. Most of these drivers ed students are rushing to get their requirements finished before the fall semester begins. This creates a big problem.
Driving instructors end up being booked weeks and sometimes even months in advance. Driving students have difficulty scheduling driving time and it gets very frustrating. Even during the school year, most students need to get their drive time in outside of school hours or on the weekends, so guess when everyone books?
The bottom line is there just aren’t enough driving instructors available in Austin to handle the number of students that need to get drive time in. So, if you’re going to go with the instructor taught drivers ed option, make sure you go into it with the right expectations. It might take you a little longer than you anticipate, and you might need to be a little flexible with your schedule.
Online Drivers Ed vs. Classroom Drivers Ed In Austin
While it can be a little tricky scheduling a driving instructor for your behind the wheel drive time, the classroom portion of your drivers ed training is much easier to complete whether you decide to take it online or in a classroom.
Typically, a classroom-based drivers ed course can be taken locally within’ Austin. As seen above, you have several different locally owned Austin drivers ed courses to choose from, and some of those schools have multiple locations just within’ Austin. The traditional classroom-based courses can be set up in a few ways, but usually, there are scheduled days and times you’ll need to attend the course. These classroom-based courses are best for students that might need a little additional help, explaining, and like to have a physical instructor they can ask questions to.
Online drivers ed has quickly become the preferred route for most teens today. As a former driving instructor, you might think I’m against online drivers ed, but I actually think it’s a great way to learn. Trying to learn the colors of road signs is a boring topic in a classroom or textbook, but online it can be spiced up with games, puzzles, and fun videos to keep things interesting and increase student retention rates. I think online drivers ed courses are great, and even a recommended option for the vast majority of driving students out there.
Is Parent Taught Drivers Ed Or Instructor Taught Drivers Ed A Better Option?
Well, this honestly just depends on if your parents are good drivers or not! You should also take into account how well you mesh during stressful environments. If you feel like you would end up arguing and getting upset with each other, by all means, go with the instructor taught drivers ed option.
On the other hand, the majority of parents out there have been driving for at least a decade with either very few or no problems at all. Trust me, even certified driving instructors receive traffic tickets or have minor accidents from time to time, so a perfect record isn’t required. Having a parent or guardian act as a driving instructor really helps with flexibility, and since usually parents know their kids best, this type of arrangement really works out well most of the time. Dare I say it’s even a bonding experience? I know it was with my Dad, I’ll never forget my first drive!
How To Sign Up For Parent Taught Drivers Ed
If you do decide to sign up for parent taught drivers ed, there are a few forms that need to be completed. This can take a few weeks to complete, so make sure you begin this process about a month before you plan to start driver training.
For starters, you might as well get signed up for an online drivers ed course. You can start going through your online training immediately while you wait for the parent taught drivers ed paperwork to be completed. Parens should go through the following steps:
- Determine if you are eligible for this program – There are some pretty basic general requirements that must be met as outlined in that link.
- Request & purchase a driver education program guide – The state of Texas requires the purchase of a program guide. This will cost $20.
- Purchase a state-certified drivers ed course – While I provided you with my recommendations and options for local Austin drivers ed schools, that link provides a list of every drivers ed school certified in the state of Texas.
Some Final Thoughts About Austin Drivers Ed Schools
Fortunately, Austin drivers ed schools are pretty good compared to many other areas of Texas. If you want to use a local Austin drivers ed school, you can do so whether you choose to use an Austin based online course or a local drivers ed program, you have several options to choose from and they are all pretty good. Your experience will vary depending on the exact driving instructor you go with, but if you take your course through one of the online programs I recommended and sign up for the parent taught drivers ed option, you’ll have your Austin drivers ed requirements finished before you know it!
- How Exactly Does Parent Taught Drivers Ed In Texas Work?
- Top 5 Defensive Driving Tips
- Driving Safely During Inclement Weather
- Tips For Teen Drivers
- Tips For Parents Of Teen Drivers
Page last updated on January 9th, 2019.