Parent-Taught? Instructor-Taught? Which Drivers Ed Course is Best for You?

Confused over parent-taught or instructor-taught course.

You can easily get lost in the seemingly endless maze of drivers ed courses. For instance, the difference between Parent-Taught Drivers Ed (PTDE) and Instructor-Taught Drivers Ed can be difficult to understand. It can be even more difficult to figure out which option is the best one for you.

In this post, we’ll help you get to the bottom of the matter and make the best decision for you. We’re going to go over the differences between the two courses, what the restrictions are, who will benefit from each type of course and when you can get your learner license.

What’s the difference between Parent-Taught and Instructor-Taught Drivers Ed?

The difference between the parent-taught and instructor-taught courses comes down to who does the teaching for the two portions of your training (classroom and behind-the-wheel)

In the parent-taught course, your parent/guardian would be your driver ed teacher for both portions.

- They can use our online course as the classroom material, and you can study this at your own pace under their guidance. But another BIG benefit is that your parent/guardian is also your teacher for the behind-the-wheel portion.

- They also have the option to designate someone else to be the instructor if that person is not charging a fee and meets other state requirements.

The instructor-taught course does not require your parent/guardian to teach either portion of your training.

- For the classroom portion, we provide the instructor. However, you can study our online course completely on your own. If you need help from our instructor, you can contact us by phone, chat, or email to get an answer to your question.

- For the behind-the-wheel portion, you will need to sign up with a state-approved school for in-car driving lessons. This would be at an additional cost to you, sometimes ranging from $300 to $500.

The goal is the same with the two courses: make sure you become the safest driver possible. Both of these courses can help you achieve that goal, but the route to get there is different. Before you make the final decision, though, there are a few points to keep in mind.

Why do many people prefer the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed course?

Economics—with the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course, the 44 hours of behind-the-wheel training and practice are free. You don’t have to pay an instructor; you only have to pay for the online course and the $20 Parent-Taught Program Guide from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR).

Then, your parent just has to dedicate 14 hours to teaching you driving skills. After that, you can complete your 30 hours of driving practice with any licensed driver who is 21 or older and has held their license for at least a year.

Convenience—you take the 32 hours of classroom instruction online. That means you can access it anytime, anywhere that’s convenient for you. And you don’t have to spend time traveling to a school.

Speed—you can get your learner license faster. With the concurrent method of the parent-taught course, a student can receive their learner license in as little as 3 days, after just 6 hours of instruction. Using the instructor-taught course, the student must complete all 32 hours of online instruction before receiving their learner license.

Is my parent eligible to teach the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course?

Before you buy the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course, make sure the person who will give you the behind-the-wheel driving education meets the requirements. The person should be your parent, stepparent, grandparent, foster parent, or legal guardian.

Remember that the instructor cannot teach you if:

they were convicted of driving while intoxicated in the last seven years

they were ever convicted of criminally negligent homicide

their driver license is suspended or revoked

they have six or more points on their driver license

Can my parent designate someone else as an instructor?

The good news is, yes! If your parent cannot teach you, they can designate another person to be the instructor. However, that alternate instructor does have to meet the following requirements:

Age—they have to be at least 25 years old

License—they have to have had a driver license for at least 3 years

Driving experience—they have to have at least 7 years of driving experience

Be free—the instructor can’t charge you

What if I don’t have an instructor for the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course?

If you don’t have a family member (or anyone they can designate) to give you the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course, you can take the Instructor-Taught Drivers Ed course.

You can take the classroom portion of the course with an online provider. Then you can apply for your learner license and sign up at a local school to complete the behind-the-wheel portion.

If I choose instructor-taught, do I have to attend a live online class with an instructor?

No, our instructor-taught course is in a self-study format, but we can provide an instructor to answer your questions if you need help with any course material. 

If I choose instructor-taught, can I get my learner license after the first 6 hours of the course?

No, this can only be done with the parent-taught course. With the instructor-taught course, you must complete the full 32-hour course and pass the final exam before you can get your learner license.

How fast can I get my learner license if I take the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed course?

With the concurrent method, you can get your learner license faster. In just 3 days, you can complete the first 6 hours of the online course, take the written permit test online, and download the learner license certificate. Of course, you still need to finish the rest of the online course. But the concurrent method will get you behind the wheel faster.

How do you get started with the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course?

Step 1: If your instructor is eligible, purchase the Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Program Guide from TDLR.

Step 2: Then choose a Parent-Taught Drivers Ed course that meets TDLR’s requirements for driver education. Our Parent-Taught Drivers Ed Course is TDLR-approved and allows you can get your learner license in as little as 3 days!

After I finish the course, what should I do?

After you have finished the drivers ed course of your choice, the next step is the most exciting one. You’re ready to make an appointment go to the DPS office and take the road test. Once you pass that, you’ll get your driver's license.

I bought the instructor-taught course by mistake, I meant to buy the parent-taught course. What should I do?

You have two options:

Option 1: Continue taking the instructor-taught course as normal. At the end of the course, you will be asked for the name and address of the driving school where you would have completed the behind-the-wheel portion.

On this page, you can provide the parent (or teacher's) name and address instead, and your transfer form will show that you are switching to parent-taught for the behind-the-wheel portion.

You won't lose any progress you’ve already made in your course, but you won't be able to obtain your learner license until you complete the entire online course (classroom portion).

Option 2: You can send an email to and request to cancel your current course and start a new parent-taught course. This may allow you to obtain the learner license sooner, as the DE-964 certificate for learner license is issued after the first 6 hours of the course.

However, you will not be able to transfer your progress from the instructor-taught course to the parent-taught course. State regulations require you to start the parent-taught course from the beginning.

I took the parent-taught course, but I want to go to a local driving school for the behind-the-wheel portion. What should I do?

Simply email our Customer Service Team at and request the transfer. In your email, please provide the full name of the student and the full name and address of the driving school. A transfer form will be emailed to you.

Leave your comment