13 Driving Schools in Grand Rapids, And How Driver’s Training Works These Days

Getting a Michigan Driver’s License Is Harder Today Than it Used to Be

Normally when you’re thinking of things for teens to do, it’s hanging out with friends, playing sports or in band, or going shopping.

But get ready parents – driver’s training is often a key milestone for teens.

I am no stranger to this, as I just signed up my fifth child for driver’s training. 

Besides being hit hard by the reality that my kid is growing up, I groan inwardly because I know what’s ahead. 

mom in car with teen going to driver's training driving school. Driver's education.

Driver’s training is pretty different from when us parents learned to drive, and the reality of it is: there is a LOT more responsibility put on us than our parents had.

Not only have there been changes to the age, curriculum, and licensing requirements (click here for Teen Driver’s Education basics in Michigan), but with most public schools no longer offering driver’s training, your options for where you enroll your teen have changed, too.

This is good, though, because our kids really do need our expertise, opinions, and coaching to become good, safe drivers. 

How to Choose a Driving School

1 – Consider the Driver’s Training Location

You will be driving your kid to driver’s training multiple times a week, usually for three weeks, plus to multiple practice and driving observation times.

Pick a place convenient to you or a place you don’t mind hanging out while you wait.

Drivers training

2 – The Curriculum is Basically the Same at Every Driving School

As far as getting “the right” school, they’re all pretty much the same, as far as the content they teach. Driver education programs follow the state-mandated curriculum. Driving schools in West Michigan all aim to teach your kid to drive safely for a lifetime. 

Driving schools emphasize defensive techniques, which teaches drivers how to drive smartly and avoid accidents, even if they are not in the wrong. Some specifics may be:

  • Double check an intersection both ways before entering, even after you have a green light.
  • Keep an eye on all factors of the road through constant internal monologuing.
  • Think about what can potentially happen and plan a way out.

PS – Kids start learning driving habits right away, so reinforcing what your child is learning in class is a good idea.

3 – Talk to Local Friends About Their Experiences

Driving schools in West Michigan are similar in cost, but often provide different class options, customer service, and communication styles.

For example, some driving schools teach class sessions online, while others only conduct lessons in person.

We recommend finding friends in your area that have recently gone through driver’s education. Ask them about their experiences to find driving schools with the best service – and timing – that fit your needs.
drivers training girl with drivers permit (edited)
Teen driver with permit doing practice driving hours

Steps to Getting Your Michigan Driver’s License 

There are several steps to getting a Michigan’s Driver’s license these days. Driver’s Education is now a multi-phase event that is not typically funded by your local school system.

Today, Michigan’s driver education curriculum is split into two segments. Gone are the days of attending class for a few hours, getting a learner’s permit, driving a bit, and then getting a license.

The 3 Licensing Levels for a Graduated Driver’s License

  • Supervised Learner’s License. (Level 1) Formerly known as a “driver’s permit.”
  • Intermediate License. (Level 2 License) Limits passengers and unsupervised nighttime driving.
  • Full-privilege Driver’s License. (Level 3 License) Issued after a teen driver has successfully completed all previous instruction and driving requirements.

Segment 1

Driving students take Segment 1 of drivers education before beginning supervised driving.

This segment requires a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction, a minimum of 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and at least 4 hours where you observe another student’s driving.

Graduated Driver’s License (GDL)

After completing “Segment 1” of driver’s training, your child will be eligible to receive what is called a “Graduated Driver’s License.” 

GDL is a driver licensing system that gradually increases driving privileges as a teen advances. GDL consists of two segments of driver education instruction and three licensing levels.

Acquiring this first level of the license will require a trip to the Secretary of State’s office with multiple documents for proof of id. Your driver’s training school should very clearly tell you which documents will be required for this first license.

Once your child’s practice hours are complete and they pass Segment 2 of driver’s training, you will sign your child up to take a road test, which includes parking skills (yes, parallel parking).

You can choose from this list of driver testing businesses.  After passing the road and parking test, it’s off to the SOS again to get the level 2 driver’s license.

Pro Tip: Check the expiration dates on all levels of your child’s licenses.

The first level of the GDL does expire after a year, and the second level expires at age 18. 

While the SOS does automatically renew and mail the second level license to you, there may be a gap of time between when a license expires, and a new one is sent through the mail. This literally just happened to my daughter, which resulted in a week of no driving for her.

Segment 2

To move on to Segment 2 of driver’s education, the student has to have 30 hours of driving experience (at least 2 hours at night).

Segment 2 includes a minimum of six hours of classroom instruction.

Pro Tip 2: There’s An App To Help Log Driving Time

There’s an easy way for your teen to keep track of their driving hours.

Get them to download the Road Ready app. They simply start the app when they begin their journey and end it when they arrive at their destination.

The app will also remind your driver to record any noticeable weather conditions, whether they drove on surface streets or a highway, and if it was daytime or night.

Car Insurance Rates Will Go Up 80 – 100% When You add a Teen

In Michigan, a child does not need to be added to your car insurance until they have a level 2 license.

Of course, you will need to consult with your insurance provider to discuss how adding your new driver will affect your rates. Basically in Michigan rates go up 80-100 percent when you add a new driver. 

Factors include the child’s age, gender, and type of vehicle the child will be primarily driving. Rates continue to increase for each child added. (Which is really fun for big families!)

Rates go down once the child is in their 20s if they have a clean driving record.

Pro Tip 3: Don’t Let Them Have ANY License Before you Talk about Texting and Driving

Texting and driving is super dangerous, yet teens are extremely susceptible to it.

Have open, clear conversations with them about the dangers of texting while driving before you let them have any kind of driver’s license.

And set them up for success wherever you can. Verizon had a good list of apps that can block texting while driving, for example.

Driver’s Training Schools in West Michigan

We’ve put together a list of driver’s training programs in the area to help you sort through your options for you and your teen as you tackle this milestone. Take some deep breaths. 

If you thought potty training was a tough ride, you’ll really need to buckle up for driver’s training!

Best Places to Take Driver’s Training

Area parents voted on the best Driver’s Training Schools in our annual Grandtastic Awards. Here’s how they ranked:

winner icon 70x70 Winner: Jungle Survival Drivers Training

1. Jungle Survival Drivers Training
2. Century Driving School
3. All Star Driver Education
4. Main Street Driving School
5. Courtesy Driving School
6. Georgetown Driving School
7. Official Driving School
8. Buckle In Driving Academy

A Top Place to take Driver's Training in Ada

6090 Fulton St E C, Ada MI, 49301 - (616) 676-4600

Jungle Survival Driver's Training is a locally owned driving school that offers high school students Segment 1 and Segment 2 classes.

Our instructors are highly trained and licensed professionals with many years of experience, and we are committed to providing our students with the highest quality of instruction.

"What stood out to me was the behind-the-wheel training. The instructor was able to pinpoint areas where I needed improvement and gave me really helpful feedback."



Driver’s Training Schools and Their Locations

Finding a school that’s nearer to home is a big plus for many families. Here’s where you can find a driving school near you.

All Star Driver Education | Known for being the most comprehensive driver’s training program in the state for Segment One. Unlike most other driving schools, All Star also offers Road Tests.
Caledonia, Cedar Springs, Comstock Park, East Grand Rapids, Fruitport, Grandville, Hopkins, Lowell, Pentwater, Ravenna, Rockford, St. Joseph

  • East Grand Rapids Community Center: 750 Lakeside Dr SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Grandville HS: 4700 Canal Ave SW, Grandville, MI 49418
  • Rockford HS: 4100 Kroes St NE, Rockford, MI 49341
  • Lowell HS: 11700 Vergennes, Lowell, MI 49331
  • Cedar Springs HS: 204 E Muskegon St, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

Buckle In Driving Academy | Founded by parents, Buckle In understands the importance of a drivers training program that works with both the parent and teen. They even let parents come along on their teen’s last drive!
Grandville, Muskegon

  • 3901 Chicago Dr SW Suite 116, Grandville, MI 49418
  • 5871 Harvey St, Muskegon, MI 49444
  • 6211 S Westnedge Ave, Portage, MI 49002

Century Driving | Allendale, Big Rapids, Byron Center, Coopersville, Dorr, Fennville, Fremont, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Hastings, Holland, Houghton Lake, Hudsonville, Jenison, Middleville, Newaygo, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, Wayland, Wyoming

  • 1008 28th St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
  • 5645 Balsam Dr #500, Hudsonville, MI 49426
  • 575 E 8th St, Holland, MI 49423
  • 13100 168th Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Georgetown Driving School | Hudsonville

  • 4832 40th Ave, Hudsonville, MI 49426

Jungle Survival Driving School |  Jungle Survival Driving School is focused and dedicated to teen driver safety, with the stats to back it up. On average, 80% of teen drivers will get in an accident within their first three years driving, but less than 20% of Jungle graduates will have had an accident in the same time frame. Students and their parents also get access to Jungle’s electronic driving log to help log driving hours.

  • 6090 Fulton St E C, Ada, MI 49301

Keys Driving School | Grand Haven

  • 800 Washington Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417

Macatawa Driving School | Holland

  • 612 W 23rd St, Holland, MI 49423

Main Street Driving School | Grand Rapids

  • 2017 Celadon Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Navigator Driving Academy | Rockford

  • 2989 13 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI 49341

Official Driving School | Grand Rapids, Grandville, Holland

  • 2035 28th St SE Q, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
  • 4693 S Wilson Ave, Suite G, Grandville, MI 49418
  • 2300 Plymouth Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • 870E. Superior, Wayland, MI 49348
  • 9050 Kraft Ave SE, Room 1220, Caledonia, MI 49316
  • 4100 Kroes St NE, Rockford, MI 49341
  • 600 Van Raalte Avenue, Holland, MI 49423

Prestige Driving School | Hamilton

  • Hamilton HS: 4911 136th Ave, Hamilton, MI 49419

RiteWay Driving School | Grand Rapids

  • 2650 E Beltline Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546


What documents are needed for a first-time driver’s license in Michigan?

The new driver will need to provide proof of legal presence, proof of Social Security number, proof of identity, and two documents proving Michigan residency.

How much is driver’s training in Michigan?

Most programs average about $400, with the bulk of the cost going toward segment 1 and a smaller amount going toward segment 2.

How old do you have to be to start driver’s training?

Individuals as young as 14 years and 8 months old can apply to begin segment 1 of driver’s training.

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3 thoughts on “13 Driving Schools in Grand Rapids, And How Driver’s Training Works These Days”

  1. Hi! I like to practice parallel parking in an empty parking space with cones. Do you know where I can go exactly? Thanks! I live in Ada, MI

  2. Great article! It’s always important to stay up-to-date on the latest driving schools and driver training methods. It’s interesting to see how technology has influenced the way we learn to drive, with features like virtual simulations and online courses becoming more prevalent.

    I appreciated the breakdown of the different driving schools in Grand Rapids and their unique approaches to teaching. It’s helpful for prospective students to have this information readily available when choosing the right school for them.

    Overall, this article highlights the importance of proper driver education and training in ensuring safety on the road. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

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