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North Carolina Drivers Education

North Carolina drivers ed is a requirement when students between the ages of 15 and 18 wish to obtain a learner permit and a driving license. However, students may enroll in a driver safety course if they are as young as 14.5 years of age. In addition to attending teen driving school, students must complete all three levels of the Graduated Licensing Program before they may obtain a full provisional license. While drivers education is not a requirement for new motorists who are 18 years of age or older, there are many benefits to completing driving lessons before applying for a full license. For instance, driving classes can help students learn the skills and knowledge they need to pass their written and on-the-road driver exams. To learn more about first time driving school in North Carolina, including behind the wheel requirements, review the information below.

What is North Carolina drivers education?

Students must complete a teen driving course before they may obtain a limited learner permit, if they are between the ages of 15 and 18. Also known as drivers ed, an approved North Carolina driving safety course teaches students about local driving laws and how to read traffic signals and warning or regulatory signs. Furthermore, first time drivers school is a requirement for all students younger than 18 years of age before they may apply for a limited learner permit and complete the three levels in the Graduated Licensing Program. However, the driver safety course must be approved by the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). As part of the driver education course requirements, students must attend 30 hours of classroom instruction and complete six hours of behind the wheel training. After completing teen driver school, students receive a Driving Eligibility Certificate which allows them to apply for a limited learner permit. When applying for a limited learner permit, however, students must pass a vision screening, sign test and a written exam.

Note:NC driving education courses are not a requirement when motorists 18 years of age or older wish to obtain a learner permit or an original driver license. However, a driving course can prepare students for their driver tests, including the road skills demonstration, knowledge exam, traffic sign test and a vision screening.

North Carolina Drivers Ed Eligibility Requirements

Motorists may enroll in a drivers education program if they are at least 14.5 years of age and wish to obtain a limited learner permit under the NCDMV’s Graduated Licensing Program. While NC driving lessons are not a requirement for students who are 18 years of age or older, they are mandatory for new motorists who are between the ages of 15 and 18. To learn more about driver safety course requirements and obtaining a North Carolina learner permit, review the sections below.

Students Younger Than 18 Years of Age

Students must attend teen driving school under level one of the state’s Graduated Licensing Program. As such, at least 30 hours of driving lessons are mandatory when students between 15 and 18 years of age wish to apply for a limited learner permit. In addition to completing a driver education program, students must perform six hours of behind the wheel instruction. After students meet these North Carolina driver ed requirements, they may take their tests for obtaining their limited learner permit through the NCDMV. These tests include a vision screening, signs test and a written knowledge exam. Additionally, students must submit their driving education certificate of completion and a Driving Eligibility Certificate or a high school diploma, as well as the following:

  • Proof of name, birth date and address
  • Proof of Social Security Number or documentation of legal presence

After completing driving classes in NC and earning a limited learner permit, motorists must hold the permit for 12 months before they may apply for a limited provisional license under level two of the Graduated Licensing Program. After motorists complete a driving course and obtain a limited provisional license, they must wait at least six months before they may apply for a full provisional license under level three of the Graduated Licensing Program. During level three of the program, students must submit their drivers ed completion certificate, proof of vehicle liability insurance, and proof of name, address, birth date and Social Security Number before they may complete their vision screening, written driving knowledge tests, and their on-the-road exam. Once motorists complete driver education classes and pass these tests, they will earn a full provisional license.

Students Older Than 18 Years of Age

Driving safety courses are not mandatory for new motorists who are at least 18 years of age. In addition to drivers ed classes, new drivers who are older than 18 years of age do not need to obtain a learner permit before they apply for an original driver license, unless they choose to. However, completing a drivers education program, behind the wheel training and/or an online driving course can help inexperienced motorists learn the skills and knowledge they need to obtain a North Carolina learners permit or an original license. Before motorists may obtain a learner permit, they must pass a vision screening, written knowledge exam and a traffic signs test. As such, North Carolina driver education courses may help students to feel more confident in their driving knowledge and abilities. Additionally, learner permit applicants must submit the following:

  • Proof of age and identity
  • Proof of Social Security Number
  • Proof of state residency or legal presence
  • Proof of vehicle liability insurance

Whether customers complete drivers ed in NC or not, they may apply for an original driver license without obtaining a learners permit. When motorists apply for a standard driver license, however, they must pass a vision screening, traffic signals and regulatory signs test, written knowledge exam and an on-the-road driving skills test. As such, completing a driving lesson helps motorists increase their chances of passing their driver license tests on the first try.

North Carolina Drivers Education Enrollment

If motorists need to compete a North Carolina drivers ed program, or if they wish to take a driver safety class to help them prepare for their driving tests, they may enroll as young as 14.5 years of age. To enroll in a first time driving school, students may speak with the lead driver education teacher through their school or they may obtain registration forms from their school’s main office. In many cases, driving education registration forms are also available during ninth grade orientation. As such, schools offer driving classes during the regular school year from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. (for 15 days), or from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. (for 10 days). However, summer driving courses are also available. When students attend their NC driving lessons, they must bring a copy of their birth certificate or U.S. passport, in addition to a notebook and writing utensils. After students successfully complete a driver safety course, they may begin behind the wheel training.

Note: To enroll in a driving safety course if you are older than 18 years of age, you must contact the NCDMV for specific registration information.

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