Driver's Education

  • The goal of the Orange School System (OCS) Driver Education Program is to provide a quality driver education experience to all students in a safe and timely manner. The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel training.

    Driver Education is available to all students between 14½ and 18, who are registered in public school, private school, charter schools and a licensed home school within Orange County, NC.

    The Driver Education program is managed by Buddy Hartley, Coordinator, with a highly qualified staff conducting the classroom and behind the wheel phase.

    The state allotment for Driver Education continues to dwindle; therefore Orange County Schools charges a $40 fee per student. This helps us maintain a safe and serviceable fleet of cars and pay qualified instructor salaries. The fee also helps offset the volatility of fuel prices. Forty dollars will be collected during the classroom phase. Failure to complete the registered course will result in forfeiture of the $40 fee. A student re-enrolling will still have to pay the $40 fee to register. A student who is suspended for disciplinary action from the Driver Education class will not be refunded the fee nor allowed to re-enroll in another class at a later date.

    Buddy Hartley
    Driver Education Coordinator
    500 Orange High School Road
    Hillsborough, NC

    If you have questions, you can reach Mr. Hartley at 919-732-6133 Ext. #20911


    Students must be enrolled at a public, private or home school located in Orange County and at least fourteen and one-half (14½) years old to be eligible to participate. Oldest students have priority placement.  Following completion of the classroom instruction, students are placed on a list to drive according to age. Oldest students drive first.


    Students are expected to bring pens, pencils, and paper to class everyday, including the first day of instruction.  Absolutely no misconduct will be tolerated.  Students who misbehave will be dismissed from driver education.They will not be eligible to re-enroll until the following school year.

    Classroom Instruction During the School Year

    After-School Classroom Instruction:

    • The Driver Education classroom program consists of thirty (32) hours of instruction, Monday – Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    • Parents must arrange to pick-up students at 6:00 p.m. The Class meets fifteen (15) days in order to satisfy the state requirements.
    • No classes meet on teacher workdays, holidays, or any day that school is dismissed early for any reason.

    Before-School Classroom Instruction:

    • An additional class is offered before school from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
    • The before-school class is primarily for those students who participate in after-school extracurricular activities, work after school, or cannot arrange evening transportation.
    • The before-school class meets for thirty (32) days in order to satisfy the state requirements.
    • The before-school class is taught once each semester.
    • There are NO Classes on Fridays.
    • No classes meet on Teacher Workdays or Holidays or any day that school is cancelled.

    Behind the Wheel Instruction

    • One of six instructors will contact the student after successful completion of classroom instruction in order to schedule driving times.
    • Taught before-school hours, after-school hours, and on Saturday during the regular school year.
    • Taught during the summer.
    • The driving requirements include a minimum of six (6) hours of instruction behind the wheel.
    • Students must pass the 6 hour driving phase called ‘Behind-the-Wheel’ training (BTW), in order to receive a Driver Education Completion Certificate. 
    • Students who fail the classroom and/or BTW will not be allowed to enroll again through the school system sponsored driver education program. 

    When called by the instructor do the following:

    • Name of instructor
    • Place to be picked up and dropped off. Please note - any changes in the drop off location must be approved and in writing from the parent or guardian.
    • Days and times of behind-the-wheel training

    Course Completion

    Driver Education Certificate

    This certificate states that you have completed 30 hours of classroom, six hours of drug and alcohol prevention, and six hours of BTW training.  You will use this certificate to obtain a Driver Eligibility Certificate from your school and Level 1 Learner’s Permit from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

    How long is the Driver Education Certificate valid?

    This certificate is valid as long as you need it. After getting your permit or driver license, file the certificate with your important papers for future use.

    Driver Eligibility Certificate

    As of August 1, 1998 persons less than 18 years of age applying for a permit or license must have this certificate. This certificate states that the student is passing at least five of six courses in a regular schedule, or three of four courses in a block schedule, and is currently enrolled in school.

    The certificate may be picked up 48 hours after being dropped off at school. It is valid for 30 days, and then must be renewed if you do not obtain a learner’s permit within that time. There will be a $5 charge for each replacement eligibility certificate.

    Where do I get my Driver Eligibility Certificate?

    Each high school has a person assigned to issue this certificate. The lead teacher at each school will give students information regarding procedures for obtaining a Driver Eligibility Certificate at their school.  Neither the lead Driver Education teacher, nor the instructors issue this certificate. Check with your Guidance Department or school secretary for the contact.

    Going to the DMV

    Be sure to take the following items with you when going to DMV to get your learner’s permit:

    1. Driver’s Education Certificate
    2. Driver Eligibility Certificate
    3. An original or certified copy of your birth certificate
    4. Your social security card
    5. Proof of residence
    6. $15.00
    7. Parent or legal guardian must sign for you

    Once at the DMV:

    • You will take a written test - 25 questions, you must get 19 or more correct.
    • You will get your eyes checked again - also take an oral test on 12 road signs.
    • You will then get your picture taken for your limited learner’s permit.
    • You will fall under the graduated licensing law.

    Graduated License Program

    Level One Learner Permit

    If you are at least 15 years of age and have completed an approved driver education course, you may apply for a Level One Limited Learner Permit to operate vehicles requiring a Class C license:

    • Drivers must be at least 15, but less than 18, years old and reside in North Carolina.
    • Drivers must pass written, sign, and vision tests.
    • During the first six months, a Level One permit authorizes you to drive between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. while accompanied by your supervising driver.
    • Six months after Level One issuance, drivers are eligible to drive any time with their supervising driver.
    • Before graduating to Level Two, drivers must keep this permit for at least 12 months and have no moving violations or seat belt infractions within the preceding six months.

    Level Two Limited Provisional License

    • Drivers must be at least 16, but less than 18, years old.
    • The driver must present a certificate showing he/she has passed an approved driver education course before he/she can take the driver license test.
    • Drivers may drive without supervision from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. and at any time when driving directly to or from work, any volunteer fire, rescue, or EMS.
    • Before going to Level Three, the driver must keep this license for at east six months and have no moving violations or seat belt infractions within the preceding six months.
    • May have only one passenger other than immediate family. Passenger must sit in the front seat and wear seatbelt.

    Level Three Full Provisional License

    • Unsupervised driving is allowed at any time.
    • Level 3 driver is subject to all other conditions of provisional license.

    For all three levels, you are not permitted to use a mobile telephone or other additional technology associated with a mobile telephone while operating a mobile vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area.

    Student & Parent Resources for Driver Education & Safety Information

    Online practice quiz

    Use this resource to practice your road signs and take simple tests.