Driver's Education and Obtaining a DEC
When a student reaches the age of 14-1/2 (and not a day before) he is eligible to take Driver's Education free of charge. This class, provided by the state, includes 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. In NC, a student under the age of 18 must take this class to get a learner's permit and driver's license. Contact the school district's Driver's Education Coordinator to arrange for classes. If you cannot find the number in the telephone book, call the local school board. In some areas homeschoolers have organized their own classes. Some districts also offer a proficiency test which can substitute for the classroom instruction. The coordinator can give you information on whether this test is offered in your area, and what the age requirements are.
In accordance with a law passed by the 1998 NC General Assembly, all homeschoolers under age 18 who wish to obtain and maintain a NC driver's license or learner's permit must obtain a Driver's Eligibility Certificate (DEC) from DNPE. The DEC must be signed by the chief administrator of the homeschool. It takes about one week to obtain this certificate and it expires after thirty (30) days.
If your student wishes to drive, he must remain listed with DNPE after he turns 16. A homeschool enrolling only students who are age 16 or 17 may not request a DEC form until after the school's currently valid Notice of Intent to Operate has been on file with DNPE for six calendar months, unless the student has just moved to North Carolina. More information may be obtained from DNPE at (919-733-4276) or on their web site.