What 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:
- 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.
- They must be making academic progress toward graduation (not failing all their classes)
- 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?
- Two valid forms of ID
- Proof of Social Security
- Driving Eligibility Certificate (DEC – you request this from the DNPE as above)
- 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, $3.99 at the iTunes App Store, 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Durham – you must register with the school in your area. Contact David Roberson at david.roberson
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.
Forsyth County – visit their website for details on how to register with www.ncdrivingschool.com.
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:
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