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Establishing a Private Driver Training School

Thank you for your inquiry concerning the procedure for establishing a Private Driver Training School (PDTS).

The following items are required for starting a PDTS:

  1. A place in which to work (business location).

  2. Each proprietor, each member of a partnership or each officer and director of a corporation that owns a school, who is directly connected with the conduct and operation of the education program must submit: 
    • A statement certifying that the applicant is of good moral character and at least 18 years of age.
    • A list of names, addresses and daytime telephone numbers of three persons serving as character references, none of whom are related to the applicant or are in any way connected to the school.
    • A statement certifying that persons employed by and/or directly connected with the conduct and operation of schools are not addicted to the use of alcoholic liquors, morphine, cocaine or other drugs that have a similar effect. 
  1. Registration of a fictitious name with the Department of State if you use a name other than your own for the school.
  1. Submit one check or money order to cover all fees made payable to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue:
​Initial
​Annual
Initial school fee of $500.00  Annual school renewal fee of $300.00
Initial instructor fee of $30.00Annual instructor renewal fee of $20.00
Initial vehicle fee of $10.00Annual vehicle renewal fee of $5.00
Initial agent fee of $5.00Annual agent renewal fee of $5.00
  1. Certificate of Occupancy, per regulations, for indoor instructional areas where five or more students will be taught at the same time.

  2. Each member of the professional staff must submit the following to this office for approval:
    • A completed Professional Staff Application.  The application must be signed by the owner, director, or chief executive officer of the driving school.  The application must be notarized.
    • A list of names, addresses and daytime telephone numbers of three persons serving as character references, or three letters of reference that should include the length of time the reference has known the applicant, how they are affiliated with the applicant, if the reference is aware of any criminal convictions in the applicant's background, if the reference is aware of anything that might make it detrimental for the applicant to be working in a one-on-one situation with minor teenagers, and an attestation to the applicant's moral character.  None of the references are to be related to the applicant or are in any way connected to the school in which the applicant is seeking employment.
    • A copy of the applicant's Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.  The clearance cannot be more than one year old at the time application is made.
    • The applicant's original Three-Year Driving Abstract from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that is less than one year old. Request for Driver Information form DL-503
    • Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record Check
    • Federal Criminal History Background Check using service code 1KG6XN
    • Evidence that each teacher and director applicant successfully completed a practical examination administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation after successfully completing the theoretical examination, unless exempt per regulations. 
  1. Documentary evidence that the PDTS owner or director has a minimum of two years of successful driver education teaching experience in a private driver training school, private high school or public high school. The documentary evidence shall set forth the names of the schools or classes and the place, dates and length of instructional service, including a statement from the official head of the school or class certifying that the teaching experience was successful and attesting to the place, dates and length of the service.

  2. A car or truck used for practical driver training may not be more than 8 years old or have more than 80,000 miles, whichever occurs later. A vehicle is not needed if a driving school is approved for theory instruction only. The vehicle must be equipped with:
    • an operable extra brake pedal and in the case of vehicles equipped with standard transmission an operable extra clutch pedal,
    • a defroster and heater in working order,
    • a rear-view mirror placed on the inside of the car in the vicinity of the cowl and two outside rear-view mirrors, one on each side of the vehicle and
    • cushions for the proper seating of the student.
  1. Certificate of Insurance, if approved for behind-the-wheel instruction, showing the certificate holder as: Pennsylvania Department of Education, Private Driver Training Schools, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126-0333. The certificate must show the vehicle identification number, type and amount of vehicle insurance, and the effective dates of the coverage.

  2. A course outline detailing the objectives for each hour of classroom instruction and/or behind-the-wheel instruction. Please be certain to incorporate the Driver Education Content and Performance Expectations into the course outline.

  3. The following completed applications must be submitted to this office for approval:

Private driver training schools contracting with public schools are required to utilize teachers licensed by their driving schools who meet the statutory requirements as outlined below in Section 1519 of the Public School Code.

  • § 15-1519. Teaching of safe driving of motor vehicles (a) Any school district may provide for the teaching of safe driving of motor vehicles in the elementary and secondary schools of the district or in the secondary schools only, in accordance with the standardized program established by the Department of Public Instruction. In the case of pupils under the age of sixteen (16) years, such instruction shall be limited to classroom instruction by those who shall possess the qualifications prescribed by the State Board of Education. In the case of pupils of the age of sixteen (16) years and over, the instruction may include practical instruction in the operation of motor vehicles on the public highways, or other places, selected by the board of school directors or by the principal of the school where the instruction is given.

    (b) The board of school directors may employ and fix the compensation of qualified persons to teach the practical operation of motor vehicles on the highways, or elsewhere, who shall possess the qualifications prescribed by the State Board of Education. Teacher aides may be used in the practice driving phase of the standardized program in the public schools of the Commonwealth. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall, upon the request of the local chief school administrator for employment of a teacher aide, provide for an oral examination, a written theoretical examination and a practical examination. In addition, the applicant shall possess the following qualifications: (1) satisfactory completion of the examination provided by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, (2) possess a high school diploma, (3) have a motor vehicle operator's record free of violation of "The Vehicle Code" and other traffic laws and free of accidents, (4) completed a three-credit course in driver education, (5) shall complete an additional nine hours of credit in General and Traffic Safety Education within a three year period of employment, and (6) shall be eligible according to the provisions in​