As a certified driving instructor, I am often asked about how drivers ed in Texas works since it is a bit different than other states. There are two ways someone under the age of 18 can take drivers ed. You can take what is called Parent Taught Drivers Ed in Texas (PTDE) or you can take Instructor Taught Drivers Ed in Texas (ITDE).
Over the years, parent taught drivers ed has become the preferred option since it provides so much flexibility. While many parents don’t feel comfortable taking the role of “driving instructor”, students typically only spend 14hrs with an instructor anyway and most parent drivers have many years of safe driving experience they can pass along.
There is a bit of a process to signing up for the parent taught drivers ed program in Texas as this program requires a parent to be “approved” as an instructor. It’s easy to get approved, but there’s some paperwork involved. So, let’s explore how this process works.
The 7 Step Process To Parent Taught Drivers Ed In Texas
Here is a quick general overview of the 7 step process of parent taught drivers ed in Texas. This is just a brief overview, at which point I will get into the details below.
Step 1: Order Your PTDE Packet – You’ll need to print out a packet, fill it out, and send it into the Texas Department of Public Safety along with $20.
Step 2: Sign Up For An Online Drivers Ed Course – Before any driving student can start actually driving, they’ll need to sign up for driving course and complete the first 6 hours. Most students elect to take the course online. I’ll give several available online driving schools below, but this is my top recommended course.
Step 3: Get Your Permit – Grab your birth certificate, social security card, as well as your certificate proving you completed 6 hours of online training so you can go get your driving permit! Woot! You’ll need to complete a total of 44 hours of driving with mom or dad.
Step 4: Finish The Online Drivers Ed Course – Go through the remainder of the training in your online course to learn all about the rules of the road and proper driving safety practices, then take your final exam.
Step 5: Complete The Required Impact Texas Teen Drivers Course – Within’ 90 days of your driving exam, you’ll need to complete a special 2 hour video course on the Texas DPS website.
Step 6: Get Your License – The moment that seems to never arrive really does arrive! You’re ready to head to the DPS where you’ll take your driving test and assuming you pass, you get that all important piece of plastic stating you can drive all by yourself. Woot again!
Step 7: Drive – That’s it! Enjoy your newfound freedom!
So, now that you have a basic overview of the process, let’s get into the details.
Ordering Your Parent Taught Drivers Ed Packet
The very first thing that needs to get done is mom or dad has to fill out a form called the Request For A Parent Taught Driver Education (PTDE) Program Guide. That request can be made through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation here. Don’t forget to send in $20 with this form or your request will be denied until payment is made.
Once this packet is received, it will explain all of the fine print details for both the student as well as mom or dad. An affidavit and purchase receipt will need to be taken to the DPS office before you can receive your driving permit.
Please be aware that parents must meet the minimum requirements to become an instructor.
Quick Tip: You’re able to receive this packet either through the regular mail or through email. If possible, choose the email option as it only takes a couple of days to get a response, where regular mail can take up to 3 weeks.
Sign Up For An Online Drivers Ed Course
I’ve already shared with you that this is my favorite online drivers ed course, but you have several options available to you. Listed below are 3 of the more popular options in Texas…
My Top Pick: Aceable
Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally put a new driving school as my top choice. Aceable is actually one of the new schools to hit the market. In the past, I’ve always been one to promote schools that have been around for a while and have a proven reputation. While Aceable is only a couple of years old, they have quickly formed the best reputation of all online driving schools. Not only are they actually based out of Texas, but as a new startup company that received millions of dollars in venture capital, they created the single best, most modern online driver training course available on the market today.
While the other courses I mention below are also higher quality, this one is clearly different from the rest. When you start the course, you’ll meet “Ace” who is an animated robot… and your instructor! By the time you’re finished with the course, you’ll actually be sad to say goodbye to Ace. If you’re looking for the highest quality online driving school that will work on all your devices, this is the one I’d go with, hands down.
My second pick: iDriveSafely Teen Drivers Course
Out of all the online drivers education courses available, I really like the iDriveSafely teen drivers education program the most. They are the only online driving school that seems to include resources for parents. While mom and dad can certainly get away with doing nothing, I think most parents want to be involved (and should be involved in my opinion). They are also very fairly priced, it’s guaranteed, and they have a fantastic reputation including an A+ rating over at the Better Business Bureau.
Also, this is the most interactive Texas drivers ed course I have taken. They have lots of graphics, animations, and quizzes to help retain information and stay awake. I really believe that the interactive aspect of this driving course is what really sets it apart. They didn’t skimp out here. This is a full budget kind of deal. Your money is going to good use and I think this kicks the butt out of any boring classroom based drivers ed program. It’s clearly a great school.
Since they were the very first online Texas drivers ed program, they’ve built themselves a nice reputation. Hands down, they are the “authority” driving school for Texas. If I had a teen who was about to start driving, this is where my money would go.
My third pick: DriversEd.com
DriversEd.com has been around since the beginning of online drivers ed. That’s a long time to perfect online driver training techniques. With millions of graduates, they have this down to a science. Previously, I was not entirely impressed with their course due to compatibility issues with many browsers. However, they have revamped the entire course and now offer a course that is available using any computer, laptop, tablet, or even your smart phone. The animated videos now have a 3D appearance and their regular videos were recently updated. Many online drivers ed programs fall into the trap of getting dated by not replacing old content with fresh content. I’m happy to say, DriversEd.com is not falling into that trap.
This online drivers ed program also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and have a great online reputation. They also have 24/7/365 customer support via phone, chat, or email and you can also reach them through their many active social media pages. As one of the very first certified online drivers ed programs in Texas, you can’t lose with these guys.
Once you’ve finished the first 6 hours of any of the above Texas approved online drivers ed courses courses, you’re able to get get your permit at the DPS. You do not need to take a test at the DPS as you’ll complete that in the online course before you go in. An added bonus!
TIP: Going to the DPS sucks. There’s lot of waiting in line and standing around waiting for your number to be called, so make sure you bring all the forms you’ll need to get your permit!
Finish The Online Drivers Ed Course & Behind The Wheel Training
At the same time you’re getting your required practice driving hours in, you’ll want to finish up your online drivers ed course. You’re on the home stretch now! But take your time. Everyone is excited to get their drivers license, but this is something to be taken seriously.
…Ok, ok, I’ll stop acting like Dad! Just have fun!!
Don’t Forget About The Impact Texas Teen Driver’s Program!
Yup, even after you’ve finished all your behind the wheel training and your entire online drivers ed course, there is one last step in the process if you go with the parent taught drivers ed in Texas option. You’ll need to complete the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Program which can be accessed here.
Don’t worry, this is only a 2 hour video course and it does not cost you anything extra. You’ll need to take it no more than 90 days before your driving exam, so get it done early but not TOO early!
Take Your Driving Exam
Ugh! It’s like this never ends! But don’t worry, this is the last step of the process. Time to go down to the DPS one more time, making sure you brought all those important forms with you, and you’ll take your driving exam. Be sure you schedule your driving exam ahead of time as an appointment is required.
TIP: You will be using your own vehicle to take your driving exam in Texas, so make sure your vehicle is in optimal condition! The first part of the driving exam includes a quick walk-around your vehicle to make sure it’s road worthy. If you have lights out, tires that are too low on air pressure, mirrors missing, or anything else that makes the vehicle un-roadworthy, you will be failed, so make sure your car is ready to go!
Hopefully this helps give you a better understanding of how Parent Taught Drivers Ed in Texas works, and good luck on your journey!!