Your First-Time South Dakota Drivers License Guide

by Jim Thompson | Last Updated: September 6, 2023

The South Dakota Department of Education offers drivers ed as part of the graduated driver licensing process of the Department of Public Safety. Drivers education is not a requirement in South Dakota, but taking a course provides advantages beyond making you a safer and more competent driver.

Benefits of Drivers Ed South Dakota

The first step to getting behind the wheel in South Dakota is to get a learner permit. Application for this permit can be made either before taking a driver education course or after. To get the permit before taking drivers ed, you must:

To get ready for the written test, you will certainly want to study the South Dakota driver handbook and may want to brush up your knowledge with the permit practice test. These tests contain questions taken from actual South Dakota permit exams and are a good way of knowing exactly what will be expected of you on the test.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you do choose to take a drivers ed course, you will not be required to take the written examination. Further, you will be able to apply for your restricted minor permit after 90 days instead of 180, and your required driving test will be waived as well.

Topics Covered in Drivers Ed South Dakota

A Department of Education approved driver ed course will include both classroom and behind the wheel portions. During the classroom section you’ll be exposed to topics such as:

Where You Can Take Drivers Ed South Dakota

A South Dakota driver education course can be taken at your high school, a commercial driving school or online. It is important that the course you choose is DOE approved if you are looking for written and driving test exemptions. Other courses, including online courses, will be helpful in preparing you to drive but will not grant you these exemptions.

Out of South Dakota Drivers Ed and Out onto the Road

At the end of your drivers ed class, you will receive a certificate of course completion and will be ready for the next step in the graduated driver licensing process. If you are under 16 years old, you may apply for a learner permit or a minor restricted permit. If you are over 16, you may apply for your South Dakota operators license. To apply for the minor restricted permit or the operator permit, you must be ticket free for the six months before application is made.

Remember, taking drivers ed South Dakota will help get you your license faster and exempt you from the written and road tests ordinarily required. More importantly, it will allow you to take to the road as a safer, more competent and more responsible driver.