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Drivers Education

Who is required to take driver’s ed?

Any teen driver who wishes to get a real driver’s license must take either a pre-licensing course or a driver’s ed course in order to be able to take their road test. Teenagers do not have to take driver’s ed to get a learner’s permit. They just have to pass the written test. Adults applying for a new license or transferring a license in from out-of-state do not have to take a New York driver’s ed course.

What agency regulates it?

The New York DMV regulates commercial driving schools, approves instructor applications and reviews pre-licensing course curriculum to make sure that it covers all topics mandated under state law. The DMV also investigates complaints against driving schools if necessary.

The New York Education State Education Department works together with the DMV to regulate driver’s ed courses taught in high schools and colleges.

Who teaches driver’s ed?

In New York, all pre-licensing and driver’s ed classes are taught by instructors that have been screened and approved by the DMV. There are two types of organizations that offer New York driver’s ed classes. Pre-licensing classes are offered by private commercial driving schools. Driver’s ed classes are offered in state-approved high schools and colleges. Therefore, the exact instructor requirements depend on the type of course being taught and whether the course is being offered by a private commercial driving school or an educational institution.

Instructor requirements

In New York, instructors who teach the pre-licensing course must be approved by the DMV. In order to teach the 5 hour pre-licensing class, instructors must obtain a driver’s education instructor’s certificate or a driver’s school instructor’s certificate. Potential instructors must have a valid driver’s license. If their license has been suspended for excessive traffic violations, at least 24 months must have passed since the license was reinstated. Also, the DMV asks about criminal convictions before issuing instructor licenses, and some criminal convictions will bar you from getting an instructor’s license.

For in-school driver’s ed classes, prospective instructors must have a valid secondary school teaching certificate if the course they are teaching is being offered through a New York public school. Also, they must have a good driving history and have taken the following 12 hours of courses from a state-accredited college:

  • Basic Driver Education Teacher Prep Program
  • General Safety Course
  • Trends and Problems in Driver Education


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