Driver’s Education

Traffic lightsWhat is a DEC Anyway?

A DEC form is a Driver’s Eligibility Certificate. It is the certificate all students under the age of eighteen who have not yet received their high school diploma must obtain from their schools (or your homeschool) certifying that they have met the criteria that North Carolina requires of its student drivers, which is that they are:

  1. Currently enrolled in and regularly attending a North Carolina school; or enrolled in and physically attending an out-of-state boarding or an out-of-state day school.
  2. They must be making academic progress toward graduation (not failing all their classes)
  3. They must not have not been suspended from that school for more than ten days for possessing an illegal substance on the school campus; possessing a firearm or weapon on the school campus; or, assaulting a school staff member.

If your student is 14 1/2 years old, they can register for an NC state approved DE class. Once they have completed the Driver’s Education course and received their certificate of completion, they will need a DEC form (good for 30 days after the administrator of the homeschool signs it) in order to show that they are eligible to receive their limited learner’s permit/level 1 license.

The DEC form is required in addition to the official State of North Carolina Driver Education course completion certificate which indicates that the student has successfully completed a State of North Carolina approved student driver education course of study.

The details of the appeal process if the student doesn’t meet the criteria above, as well as other information on student driving eligibility can be found here.

As the administrator of a non-public school in NC, you (the homeschool admin.) may request the Driver’s Eligibility Certificate from the Division of Non-Public Education.

How to order a DEC?

If you are the chief administrator of a North Carolina non-public school (home or conventional) which has been registered with DNPE and meets all current North Carolina requirements for such a school, you can request a student driver eligibility certificate online at the NCDNPE website.

You will need your school ID number, which you can also access at the website, if you don’t remember it.

Or you can call DNPE for assistance at (919) 733-4276.

The DECs will then be mailed via US mail to your homeschool address, so be sure that it is updated in their records. There is no cost to receive a DEC.

Further Information on obtaining the NC “Driving Eligibility Certificate” (DEC) can be found here.

Remember: when your student goes to the DMV, they will need to have both the DEC (expires after 30 days from issuance date) and a certificate of completion from their Driver’s Education Course unless they are over 18 years of age.

What Do We Take to the DMV?

  1. Two valid forms of ID
  2. Proof of Social Security
  3. Driving Eligibility Certificate (DEC – you request this from the DNPE as above)
  4. Driver’s Education Certificate (the school or DE course provides this once the student has completed the in-class or online portion of DE)

The DMV has lists of documents that meet the requirements for identification, so click here before you leave, to check with them to see what you can take, and to check on any other requirements in addition to the ones I have mentioned above.

Are They Ready to Drive Now?

Now that your child has completed the classroom portion of their driver’s education class, they will be scheduled for in-car training with their driver’s education program – whether that is with the public school district in your area, or with an approved private instructor. They will receive no less than six hours of supervised driving instruction and then they will be ready to get their Limited Learner Permit/Level One license. (see DMV page for details)!  Then they are ready take to the road with you, or another qualified supervising driver to complete their required driving hours to get the next level of their license – a level two or Limited Provisional License. (also see DOT DMV website for all the requirements)

Are You Ready?

We have been working up to all of this, so I hope so. Your child may be one who has been longing for the open road, or may be reluctant to give up mom and dad’s taxi service, but either way, parents have to be prepared for the fact that they will be in the driver’s seat logging a lot of hours with this student driver. Some studies have shown that a good parent instructor is essential to a student’s safe driving record. There is a state specific iPhone app that enables parents and students to easily document their required hours.

The Time to Drive app was created by researchers at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center in collaboration with Sky Highways. It was developed to support supervisors of teen drivers during the practice period. The app records the amount of driving and conditions (and generates a log which you can provide to the DMV), keeps track of hard stops, provides tips for parents, encourages the parent-teen team to meet driving goals and shows a map of past trips. Click the link to go to a contact page for more information on the app.

You can always download and print the driver’s logs for each of the three licensing levels at the DMV website that is linked for you above.

Some things have changed since you and I hit the road, so there is also an NC  parent manual that can help you as you supervise and instruct your student. You can CLICK HERE to get that and read it online or download it. The manual has parental tips, is a terrific refresher for us all and also conveniently has copies of the NC hour logs that students have to complete in order to move up to the next level of licensing. So take a deep breath and go get it.

Remember that you are your child’s best teacher in this as well as in so many other subjects throughout the years. Students who are not taught well may not follow safety standards and in our state, (as per a law enacted Oct. 2012) they can even go to jail rather than just getting a ticket if they are found to be speeding over fifteen miles per hour, driving aggressively or passing a school  bus.

Parents of Teen Drivers - Check Out the Time to Drive App! Click To Tweet

How Do I Find a Driver’s Education Course For My Homeschooled Student?

Your local school district can provide specific information about their Driver’s Education Courses and their schedules. You will need to register according to your local high school’s requirements. NC provides some funds for the courses in your local school’s  Driver’s Education program for each student to take the course ONE time. Your school district will let you know the total costs involved in completing the written and driving portions of driver’s education.

Some homeschool groups sponsor DE classes, so you might look at their websites, Facebook or Yahoo group pages to see if there is one in your area who has classes available. Some private schools may allow enrollment in their programs.

Some DE Instruction Information:

Not all Driver’s Education courses that are available online are approved by the state of North Carolina. The easiest way to get an approved program for your homeschooled student is to register through your local high school. It can also be cost effective. Some school districts will have an additional charge that all students pay for the classes and in-car training, but some of them cover the entire cost for your student since some funding comes through the state.

Here are some programs and contact information:

Cabarrus – Cabarrus County Schools will offer driver education for homeschool students in their district. Contact Robert Kluttz at 704-262-6252 or Information on registration can be found here.

Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania, Yancey – visit your school district website to find out how to register for DE – these school districts will be using Mountain Professionals Driving Academy who sometimes hold homeschool classes (if you have a group of 30 students – no charge, they get paid through state funding) or call 828-688-3456 or 828- 385-4477. They are experienced, extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

Statewide – Mountain Professionals Driving Academy is offering a $60 online class for your students to complete the written portion of their DE. They will then contact your requested school district with your student’s completed certificate so that the school can contact you to set up the on-the-road portion. Click here to sign up for the online class and pay online.

Iredell County – Go to the website or contact Dale Fox at 704-902-0391 or

Durham – you must register with the school in your area. Contact David Roberson at or call 919-560-3702 or check the list of contacts for the DE program for the school closest to you here.

Wake County – contact Jordan Driving School through their website or call 919-772-4877. Click on their homeschools section to see where they have classes scheduled.

New Hanover – East Coast Driving School has a DMV approved program in Wilmington, go to their website or call (910) 791-9925.

Chatham – summer classes available in August – information and application here. 

Davie County – contact to enroll in Driver’s Education. You can visit the very informative website for information on the procedures to begin the Davie High program.

Forsyth County – visit their website for details on how to register with

Johnston – contact Jamey Phillips, Director of Driver Education 919 -284-2031. Info at their website here.

Mecklenburg – click here to go to the Jordan Driving School website or call 704-566-9900

JDS Carolinas handles DE classes for the following counties: Bladen, Carrboro, Craven, Franklin, Lenoir and Nash-Rocky Mount schools. Click here for the website and links to go register or get information about your school districts driver’s education program.

NCDS handles online registration and DE for school districts in the following areas:

Asheboro City
Chatham County
Clinton City
Elkin City
Hickory City
Lexington City
Weldon City
Whiteville City

You can find the information for Homeschools at the NC Driving School website here or call them for information on how to register and what the cost is for your area – 1-800-375-6550, or contact the school district directly.

Orange – visit the website here for a current schedule or contact Mr. Hartley at 919-732-6133 Ext. #20911

Union County – home educators can take the online DE classes with Union Academy Charter School. Click here for details or contact Bettie Linker at 704-843-3210

Other Resources for North Carolina Teen Drivers

Here are a few other resources, apps and helpful websites for your teen drivers:

  • A fun and helpful online driver’s permit practice test is HERE
  • Road Ready is a free app available for iPhones & Android. It will help your teen track their time, learn safe driving practices, track driving conditions, view driving summaries, download their driving log, track goals & progress and identify areas that need improvement.  CLICK HERE for more information
  • The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program is free guidance for you as parents you can CLICK HERE to get Free Parent Resources for Supervising your Teen’s Driving Experience
  • View the NC Department of Insurance Website for Teens HERE. You will find tips for safe driving and insurance
  • The Waze App makes it easy to set up a trip – it can alert your teen to  traffic & safety issues on the road and even let you know when they have arrived at their destination. Check out Waze HERE
  • Don’t forget to discuss Organ Donation with your student driver. Get help on how to do that from Donate Life NC


31 Responses

  1. AJ says:

    We will be moving into NC from PA. My 16 year old has a PA learner’s permit but is not required to take driver’s Ed here. She will be attending a private school in the fall. If we do a PA DOT certified driver’s instruction course will that be accepted in NC so she can take the driver’s test? It’s rather difficult to get a straight answer with the steps in the process.

    • Merit Kirkpatrick says:

      Hey AJ – Welcome to NC! You will need to check with your private school about D.E. requirements-it’s different for home educators.

  2. Julie Filter says:

    Hey there! Thanks for a great overview. We have been trying to piece these things together and got tripped up on a few parts that might help to clarify better. First, you mentioned that the Driver’s Education Certificate is given by the school or program once the classroom or online portion is completed, but that is not accurate. The certificate is given once driving with an instructor for the 6-hours minimum is completed. We just figured this out. Also, the next step was not clear as written as to what it meant. You stated, “They will receive no less than six hours of supervised driving instruction and then they will be ready to get their Limited Learner Permit/Level One license. (see DMV page for details)”, but what that intimated was that they were now fully qualified to receive their level one permit, rather than ready to TEST at the DMV to get their level 1 permit. We also just learned that she has a whole portion of tests to do at the DMV. The wording just had us confused. Sadly there are so few clear resources for us homeschoolers so I wanted to hopefully help to provide some feedback that might better help your readers because this is basically the best help I’ve found on the topic! So thank you for that. Great job and hopefully this helps to make it even better. ❤️

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi there, any information on Jackson County?

    • Merit Kirkpatrick says:

      Hi Michelle – check by county at the homeschool listings. Also check/search the co-ops and classes listings there are often some great groups there and should be listed by county.

  4. Sherri says:

    Hi- My 15 year old is not interested in driving right now. She wants to wait a couple of years. Is she required to take Drivers Ed. in NC if she doesn’t want to?

  5. Linsey Smith says:

    A driving school should have skilled and knowledgeable employees.
    I like how you said that about it.Here allows for extra practice?Thanks for sharing.

  6. I appreciate some of the suggestions you gave for getting drivers education. I like how you point out that DE list.Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for all the information.I read your blog often and you always post excellent content.Thanks for writing this!

  8. Jane says:

    Thank you for providing all of this information! This can be a daunting task and having posts such as yours makes it all a bit less harrowing. I did want to see if you had any information for Davidson County. Thank you and God bless you always!

    • Merit Kirkpatrick says:

      Hi Jane – thanks for letting me know the site helped you! I know that Davidson has a regular homeschool group CCHE which you can find here Also check on Facebook for NC Adventurous Home Educators – that group does a ton of field trips all over, but are based in Davidson/ the Piedmont Triad area, we have some Davidson families in our Forsyth Home Educators Group too since it is convenient for them to travel to Forsyth. FHE is great! Hope you find the perfect group, and thank you again for letting me know you like the website.

  9. Christina Fascenda says:

    My son just finished hid drivers ed course here in cabarrus county and I know a DOC firm is necessary with your homeschool name on it. My question is this, I have a homeschool name but he actually takes his classes through an online school. Which name am I supposed to list? Our school name or the name of the online school?

    • Merit Kirkpatrick says:

      Hi Christina – this is not the NCDNPE, just my private blog (Merit), but having had three teens get their licenses while homeschooled, I can tell you that you need to list your homeschool information on all your documentation. The online school is your “curriculum” and you are the administrator of your homeschool. Use your homeschool’s name. Hope this answers your question 🙂

  10. My son starts a week long class on June 13th through our local public school. So it is best to wait until after he completes the course before requesting the DEC? I wasn’t sure if I should request it when he first starts or afterwards. I also wasn’t sure if they operated on a normal schedule once school is out for the summer. Thanks!

    • Merit Kirkpatrick says:

      Hi Kristie! You can request the DEC if he is taking the summer class. Just don’t fill it out until you are sure you are going to use it. Once you sign and complete it, it is only good for 30 days. It just verifies that your son is enrolled in your homeschool and is progressing etc.

  11. Amber Hudson says:

    My son will be 15 in January and is desperate to start drivers ed. He home schools and we live in Chatham County. Ive been scouring the internet and can’t even find a drivers ed course for him to take. Any help with approved courses would be very much appreciated.

    • Merit Kirkpatrick says:

      Hi Amber – check with your local high school. All three of my students used our high school program and it was very reasonable and the teachers were great. Now that the funding issues have settled down, the schools are scheduling homeschoolers for Driver’s Ed again.

  12. Linda ferrell says:

    Wayne county is no longer offering drivers Ed at schools. Can a child go to another county?

    • Merit K says:

      HI Linda- there are quite a few changes going on in county DE programs since the budget issues in Raleigh. Apparently much of the funding for the programs that came from the state is being withdrawn and many school districts can’t absorb the cost. Stay tuned for an article here on the blog once I have more information about the issue. I am currently researching it and trying to find out more about alternatives for homeschoolers!

  13. Nikki Brooks says:

    I am in Benson, Johnston County, NC. I heard the fee is going up after June. Mandatory meeting at South Johnston High School for parents is tonight. Classes start June 17th. Do they have online classes also? That would be great. I feel pressured to sign him up, quick. I hate that. Thank you.

    • Merit K says:

      HI Nikki- the fee went up in our county too. It is my understanding that it is probably due to de-funding of the program by the state. In our county, the county voted to pick up the classes and some of the costs, and an increase in what parents pay made up the rest. Our county classes were all online and then the kids took their written test and their on-the-road driving at the high school. If I were you, I would attend the meeting and find out more about the program if you can. It might be just what you are looking for. In some areas, you might also find a private group providing classes, but it was so easy to get this done in the summer and then be able to work on getting the driving hours in for a level 2 license.

  14. Jull says:

    The best way to pass exam from the first try are practice and good teacher. Its good to have a nice instructor like your parents but its much better if you inquire to other car expert who can tell you about all about driving and some tips. When I started to learn how to drive i asked my father but it was a great mistake. He’s terrible as a partner. After that my mom bought lessons at So the best thing you should do – hire good teacher and a lot of practice and stay calm =)

    • Merit K says:

      Hi Jull- thanks for your thoughts on Driver’s Education. You are so right about the practice and “stay calm” advice! I know my kids much preferred having me in the car over their dad too 🙂 In NC, you can participate in public school Driver’s Education classes. We just had to register with our school district and they sent us a schedule and all the information we needed. The kids took their written tests at the school and most of the material was presented online. Then they were scheduled for driving. We paid just $40 toward their in-car sessions and then we took them to get their permits at the DMV. Our levelled licensing for students can seem a little overwhelming so one of our kids just opted to wait until she was 18 to take her tests and get her license. She missed out on all those fun restrictions and hours of logging driving time that my sons are dealing with! lol!

  15. alissa says:

    Im homeschooled and looking for a guy named mr.Wallace in Hampstead nc who charges only 100 dollars for drivers ed

    • Merit K says:

      Alissa, I don’t know which company this is, but I am approving the comment in case someone who sees it can help you. As a Home Schooled student, you are eligible to take Driver’s Ed at the public schools. Most of them only charge the $40 dollars that it costs them for the “in car” driving portion. Our school district let us do all the coursework online. Let me know if you have questions for me and I will keep my ears open and if I find out who this is, I will email you. Good luck with your Driver’s Ed.

  16. Lucinda says:

    Does anyone know if Ms. B is still teaching drivers ed for homeschoolers? Looking for classes in Greensboro area.

  17. Tracey Stevens says:

    Thanks for all the great, detailed info on this subject.. We are heading down that road very soon.

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