Driver's education

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COVID-19: We are aware of the significant impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on teen driver’s education across the state. Iowa law specifies that parent-taught driver’s education is only available for parents who have homeschooled their children during the previous year through the present year (Iowa Code section 321.178A). To be eligible for the parent-taught driver’s education program, the teaching parent must be providing competent private instruction pursuant to Iowa Code sections 299A.2 or 299A.3, which does not include taking classes or learning online through accredited public or private school programs.

If you are seeking options for your child to obtain driver’s education during COVID-19 school closures, we encourage you to contact your school district, or a nearby private driver's education provider to discuss the options available during this time.

Parent-taught (home-school) driver education

Parent-taught (home-school) driver education was created and authorized by the Iowa legislature for parents that home-school their children. The information below contains the requirements, process, and Iowa DOT approved courses.

For questions about parent-taught driver education, please contact or 515-237-3220.

Processing for each step with submitted documentation may take up to 10 – 14 days.

Step 1: Parent completes and submits application

A parent must complete the application to provide parent-taught driver education and submit it to the Office of Driver & Identification Services.

When submitting your application, please include documentation verifying that the student is currently receiving private instruction pursuant to Iowa Code Section 299A, and also received such instruction during the previous year. Possible examples of this documentation include a filed CPI Form A from both the current and previous year, enrollment forms from a Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) from the current and previous year, or a letter from your local school district administrator verifying that your student is homeschooled currently and has also been homeschooled the previous year. Please contact with any questions about what documentation meets this requirement.

Student requirements

  • Possess a valid instruction permit.
  • Age 14-21.
  • In custody and control of teaching parent.

Parent requirements

  • Provide private educational instruction to the student the previous year.
  • Possess a valid Iowa driver's license.
  • Have a clear driving record for the previous two years.

If the request is approved

Application is approved If the request is approved,the parent will receive an approval letter along with an approval packet from the Iowa DOT and may proceed with parent-taught driver's education.


If the request is denied

Application is denied If the request is denied, the Iowa DOT will send the parent a denial letter that explains the reason(s) for denial.


Step 2: Completing course requirements

  • After receiving the Iowa DOT's approval to teach the course, the teaching parent may purchase course material directly from the course provider and begin instruction. See the list of approved courses on the tab above.
  • Student successfully completes an approved course, including required classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction.
  • Parent submits the Application for Parent-Taught Driver Education Certificate of Completion to the Iowa DOT. Parents can request the application by sending an email to
    The following items must be included:
    • Name of approved course completed.
    • Copies or printouts of written tests.
    • Copy of driving log.
    Submit course completion information to:
    Iowa Department of Transportation
    Driver & Identification Services
    P.O. Box 9204
    Des Moines, IA 50306
  • The Iowa DOT will review the submitted materials. If requirements are met, the Iowa DOT will mail a certificate of completion to the parent and student. If the course completion material is unsatisfactory, the Iowa DOT will send a denial letter explaining the reason it was denied.

Step 3: Obtaining driving privileges

  • After receiving the certificate of completion, the student MUST pass a driving test with a certified DOT consultant before obtaining driving privileges. The student and parent may schedule their driving test at any driver’s license station. The student and parent should bring the following items with them to the driver’s license issuance site:

Approved courses

The following course providers have been approved by the Iowa DOT. Please indicate which of the following courses you will use on your application. After you receive approval from the Iowa DOT to teach the course, you may purchase the course material directly from the course provider.

Want to be an approved course provider? Apply now to get approved by the Iowa DOT.

Attention course providers: Course providers will be approved for one calendar year or for the remainder of a calendar year and must renew annually by submitting a new application and required course materials at least 60 days prior to the expiration date.

Frequently asked questions

Teaching parent qualifications

Question Can anyone provide parent-taught driver education?

Answer No, Iowa Code 321.178A only allows parents (or legal guardians or custodians) who are already providing lawful private instruction (home-school education) to their children to conduct parent-taught driver education.

Question My child attends private school, am I eligible to conduct parent-taught driver education?

Answer No, parents that are not providing private instruction (home-school education) and have enrolled their children full time in an accredited public or private school are not eligible under the law to conduct parent-taught driver education.

Question What is private instruction?

Answer Private instruction is commonly referred to as home-schooled education.


Question What requirements does the teaching parent need to meet to be able to provide driver’s education to their child?

Answer A qualified teaching parent must have provided private instruction (home-school education) to the student during the previous year and possess a valid Iowa driver’s license, other than a motorcycle-only license or temporary restricted license (TRL/work permit), that permits unaccompanied driving as well as have a clear driving record for the previous two years.

Question What qualifies as a clear driving record?

Answer A clear driving record means that in the past two years, the parent’s driver’s license was not suspended or revoked, the parent was not identified as a candidate for a suspension for habitual violations, and they have not been convicted of a moving traffic violation determined to be the cause of a motor vehicle accident.

Question A teaching parent must have provided private instruction (home-school education) to the student during the previous year. What does “the previous year” mean?

Answer The previous year refers to the twelve months prior to the date of the application. For instance, if a parent applies in November 2014 and provided private instruction beginning in September 2013 through the date of the application, the parent provided private instruction in the previous year and would be eligible

Question Can a parent teach someone else’s child (a child they don’t have custody for)?

Answer No, Iowa Code 321.178A specifies that the instructor must be the student’s parent or legal guardian or custodian and must have custody and control of the student. The parent cannot instruct students that don’t meet those requirements, even if the parent is providing other instruction to those students.

Question What if the teaching parent has more than one child? Can they teach all of their children?

Answer Yes, but they have to complete a separate application for each child.


Question Can both parents teach driver education to their child?

Answer Each parent must complete an application form and receive approval from the Iowa DOT to teach the course.

Question What if the parents are divorced? Can either divorced parent conduct parent-taught driver education?

Answer Yes, as long as each parent has legal custody of the student and meets the requirements to teach the student in question. If the parent does not have legal custody, they are not eligible to conduct parent-taught driver education because the student is not in the custody and control of the parent.


Course material

Question What course material is required to be used by a teaching parent?

Answer A qualified teaching parent will select a curriculum that has been approved by the Iowa DOT. A list of the approved courses can be found on the "Approved courses" tab above.

Question Can I use my own course or another school’s course rather than a course approved by the Iowa DOT?

Answer No, the legislation requires the teaching parent to select a course that has been approved by the Iowa DOT and is listed on the list of approved courses on the tab above.

Question How much will the course material cost?

Answer Costs are set by the approved course vendors and vary according the course selected and the type of material the parent chooses to receive (for instance, written versus online).


Student requirements

Question How old does a student need to be to take driver’s education from a teaching parent?

Answer A student must be between the ages of 14 and 21 and be within the custody and control of the teaching parent. The student must have an Iowa instruction permit before beginning driver’s education.

Question How many hours of driving does a student have to complete?

Answer The student has to complete 40 hours of street or highway driving, including four hours of nighttime driving (after sunset and before sunrise) while accompanied by the teaching parent. The parent should use Iowa Department of Transportation Form 431228 – Driving Log for Parent-Taught Driver Education to log the required driving hours completed by the student. The form will be included in the approval packet once the parent has been approved for the program.

Question Teens that apply for an intermediate license must complete 20 hours of supervised driving (including two hours of nighttime driving) outside driver education to be eligible for the intermediate license. Does that mean a student that had parent-taught driver education has to complete 60 hours of driving?

Answer No, Iowa Code 321.178A allows the student to use 20 of the 40 hours required for parent-taught driver education to meet this requirement. This includes the required nighttime driving.

Question Do all students that complete parent-taught driver education have to take a drive test?

Answer Yes, the legislation requires every student that successfully completes an approved parent-taught driver’s education course to pass a driving test administered by the Iowa DOT at a driver’s license issuance site before they can obtain their license.

Question Do all of the other eligibility requirements for an intermediate license apply to parent-taught driver education students?

Answer Yes, the legislation that established parent-taught driver education did not change any of the other eligibility requirements for students taking parent-taught driver education. (A student may also apply for a minor school license if they are receiving private instruction but taking certain classes at an accredited school or participating in extracurricular activities at an accredited school.) Find more information about driver’s license eligibility requirements for minors.

Question If a student is 18 years old or older are they still required to take a driver education course?

Answer No, although it is important to gain appropriate knowledge and skills before operating a motor vehicle, any person 18 years old or older is not required to take a course in driver education. A person 18 years old or older may instead elect to pass the knowledge test and driving exam to apply for a driver’s license.