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Drivers Education

Who is required to take driver's ed?

In Illinois, any teen under the age of 18 who would like to get a driving permit and later, a driver's license, must complete a driver's ed program approved by the state of Illinois. Aspiring driver's age 17 1/2 and up do not have to take an Illinois driver's ed course in order to get a permit; they simply have to pass the written exam. However, to get a license, the student will have to be 18 and also pass a road test administered by the Secretary of State's office. If you are over 18 and would like to take a driver's ed course before you attempt to get your license, many local community courses offer optional classes for adults, too.  In most cases, students must be 15 and over to participate in an Illinois driver's education class. However, students under the age of 15 may register for the classroom portion of an Illinois driver's education class if they will be eligible to complete the behind-the-wheel training within 12 months of taking the classroom portion. Students must be at least 15 to complete the behind-the-wheel training, because you must be at least 15 to get an instruction permit in Illinois.

In order to encourage teens to do keep up with their schoolwork, Illinois also has some academic requirements for potential driver's education students. For example, students must have passing grades in at least 8 courses over the past 2 semesters. Students who don't keep their grades up will not be able to get their certificate of completion. Also, students who are considered truant are not eligible to attend an Illinois driver's education class. High school dropouts must be enrolled in a GED program, have already completed a GED program, have passed at least 8 classes in the 2 semesters prior to dropping out, or have written permission from both their parents and the school superintendent to take the course.

What agency regulates it?

Depending on where the driver's ed course is taught, it could be regulated by one of two agencies: the Illinois Education Agency or the Secretary of State. Private, commercial Illinois driver's ed schools are regulated by the Secretary of State's office. Illinois driver's ed courses that are held in public schools are regulated by the Illinois Board of Education. In order to provide a uniform educational experience for both groups of students, both types of driving school use a standard curriculum approved by the Illinois Secretary of State.

Who teaches driver's ed?

Illinois driver's ed classes are offered by public schools and commercial driving schools. Parents are not allowed to teach driver's education to their children, even if they are home-schooling them in other subjects. Therefore, classes held by public schools are also open to area children who are being home-schooled. Whether you take the course at school or choose to go to a private driving school instead, your driver's ed class will be taught by licensed driver's ed instructors. In public schools, driver's education instructors are often school teachers who also teach other subjects. However, to teach driver's ed, teachers must have special training in the subject.

Instructor requirements

The requirements for driver's ed instructors differ slightly depending on whether or not the instructor will be teaching at a high school or at a private, commercial driving school. Illinois driver's education classes can be held in either public schools or private schools. Driver's education teachers who teach in a high school must have the following qualifications:

  • If teaching in a public school, Illinois driver's education instructors must have a teaching certificate with an endorsement for teaching safety and driver's education, or have taken 16 hours of courses on safety, traffic safety, instructional techniques, and advanced sociology or psychology.
  • If teaching in a private school, an Illinois driver's education instructor is not required to have a teaching certificate, but must have a 4 year college degree or what the school determines to be an equivalent amount of education and experience, and must have taken at least 16 semesters of classes on general safety, health, traffic safety, instructional techniques, and advanced sociology and/or psychology.
  • Be in good physical health.
  • Have a valid Illinois driver's license, with no suspensions, revocations, or restrictions of driving privileges.


Commercial driving school instructors must be licensed by the Illinois Secretary of State. Instructors who teach at a commercial driving school receive a license to teach at one specific driving school only. They must notify the Secretary of State if they intend to work for another school. In order to qualify for an Illinois driver's education instructor license to teach at a private, commercial school, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be of good moral character
  • Authorize and pay for the Secretary of State's office to complete a criminal background check that uses the applicant’s fingerprints.
  • Pass the Secretary of State's examination, which includes material on the following topics: traffic laws, operation of a motor vehicle, safe driving techniques, and the qualifications of a good teacher.
  • Provide a report from a certified Illinois physician indicating that the applicant has the physical capability to safely operate a motor vehicle and to train others to do so.
  • Be licensed to drive in Illinois, with no suspensions or revocations.
  • Have a high school degree or a GED
  • Pay the application fee of $70.00.


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