Requirements to start a driver training school or become an instructor

Commercial (for-profit) driver training schools and instructors are licensed and regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. For information, forms and links to start a school or become an instructor, select from the boxes below.

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To start a school, you will need the following:

Use the Driver Training School Checklist MV3757 to ensure you complete all required documents and cover required curriculum topics prior to submitting to the Department.

Additional forms

  • Certification of Completion Driver Instructor Course MV3261
  • Driver Training Schools/Instructors Complaint MV3756
  • Driver Training School Checklist MV3757

To be an instructor, you will need the following:

  • Be employed by a driver training school prior to becoming a certified driver training instructor and fulfill one of the following training requirements:
    • Complete the 40-hour instructor training course at a driver training school that offers the course (a school showing type of instruction E or I offers the course), or
    • Be DPI certified, or
    • Have completed 9 college credits of driver education
  • Be 19 years of age or older
  • Hold a valid, regular (non-probationary) driver license valid for the training you will provide
  • Have 2 years of licensed driving experience
  • Have a satisfactory driving record
  • If you have ever been licensed outside of Wisconsin, submit a driver record abstract from each state in which you've been licensed
  • Pass all required tests which include instructor test, Class D knowledge test, highway signs test, oral test, brake reaction test and skills (road) test. Please note:
    • All tests are given on a walk-in basis at your local DMV Service Center.
    • The Instructor Guidelines the study guide for the driver instructor test. You must pass the test with a grade of 80% or higher. You may take the instructor test twice in one calendar year. If you fail both attempts, you must wait until the following calendar year to take the instructor test again.
    • The Practice Knowledge Test for Class D Driver Instructors will familiarize you with the various question types, what's being tested, how DMV scores the results and show you your score.
  • If you are a Veteran, please reference the Veteran Fee Waiver to see if you qualify to have your initial instructor application fee waived.

Driver instructor applications MV3112 must be mailed to the Department with the required payment of $50.00 for 24 months or the prorated fee of $2.00 per month.

To start a CDL school, you will need the following:

Use the Driver Training School Checklist MV3757 (Sections A-E) to ensure you complete all required documents and cover required curriculum topics prior to submitting to the Department.

The DMV is required to conduct a background check on every owner/manager and instructor of a CDL driver training school.

CDL instructors must pass tests for the CDL classes and endorsements they plan to teach, such as:

  • CDL general knowledge test (taken at DMV)
  • Highway signs test (taken at DMV)
  • Endorsements (air brakes, doubles/triples, etc., taken at DMV)
  • Hearing/vision tests (taken at DMV)
  • CDL skills tests (Will be arranged with a Third Party Auditor as their schedule allows)
  • Oral test (Make arrangements at the same time as the CDL skills test)

To start a school, you will need the following:

  • School name approval - School name must be approved prior to submitting application.
  • Driver school application and fee - Driver School Application form MV3110
  • Bond? - Driver School Bond form MV3764 or Driver Training School Bond Alternative form MV3755
  • Business liability insurance ($500,000 minimum coverage)
  • Customer contract
  • Fee schedule
  • Curriculums
  • Completed Failure to Yield/Right of Way Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU serves as the contract or agreement and must be signed and dated prior to operation.
  • Completed Driver Education Completion (DEC) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU references and serves as an agreement for use of the online Driver Education Completion application.

The DMV is required to conduct a background check on every owner/manager of an online failure to yield/right of way driver training school.

Online course standards and requirements:

  • Consumer screening process - Schools must provide pre-course samples and specifications for consumers to determine whether they can use the functions and internet as required to complete the course.
  • Course outline - The online failure to yield course must, at a minimum, cover what is noted in Outline of Curriculum Right of Way found in Supplement A of the Driver Training School and Instructor Guidelines.
  • Contract and receipt - All contracts must be pre-approved by the Department prior to issuance and instruction. Consumers must receive an emailed, printable contract and receipt, as well as a completion certificate. If e-mail is not an option for a consumer, a physical copy must be mailed.
  • Additional standards:
    • School must provide a complete disclosure of fee structure, including any potential, additional fees.
    • The Department must approve all fees and changes to fees.
    • Testing must contain all multiple-choice questions, a minimum of 15 questions with 80% correct for a passing grade.
    • In the event of failure, consumers must be given the option to retake the test one time before being required to go through all course material again at no additional charge.
    • Test questions must be reshuffled with no more than 25% reused.
    • Help option (phone or e-mail) must be made available and standard hours must be documented within the consumer contract.
    • Non-course related content is not allowed during any portion of the pre-course, course or post-course program. This includes but is not limited to advertising, political content or any business solicitations.

Driver Training Schools
P.O. Box 7920
Madison WI 53707-7920

Phone (608) 264-7495
Fax (608) 223-7705