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  • Special Licenses in North Carolina

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    Special Driver's Licenses in North Carolina

    For certain vehicles, such as heavy trucks and buses, you may need to apply for a license or endorsement other than your regular driver's license.

    The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers a few different license classes and endorsements depending on what type of vehicle you want to drive.

    On this page you'll find an overview of some of the different driver's license classes and endorsements available to you.

    If you are looking for information about applying for a noncommercial, regular driver's license, please visit one of the following pages:

    North Carolina Commercial Driver's License

    Certain vehicles and driving professions require you to hold a commercial driver's license. A CDL will allow to you drive:

    • Heavy-weight vehicles.
    • Vehicles designed to transport a large number of people.
    • Vehicles carrying hazardous materials.

    For more information about applying for a commercial driver's license, please visit our Applying for a New CDL in North Carolina page.

    School Buses

    If you want to drive a school bus in North Carolina you must:

    • Be at least 18 years old.
    • Have at least 6 months of driving experience.
    • Hold either a Class B or Class C commercial driver's license (CDL).
    • Have "P" and "S" endorsements.
    • Have a School Bus Driver's Certificate.

    Additionally, you'll likely need to:

    • Pass a background check.
    • Maintain a clean driving record.
    • Pass a medical test.

    For more information on how to get your certificate, read the School Bus Handbook. You can also pick this up at your local DMV.

    Shuttle Drivers

    You do not need a CDL if the shuttle van or bus you're driving is designed for 15 passengers or less. Certain types of shuttles may require you to hold a CDL.

    Taxi Drivers in North Carolina

    License requirements are governed by each municipality. To become a licensed and certified taxi driver, you should be prepared to:

    • Pass a background check.
    • Maintain a clean driving record.
    • Pay a taxi driver licensing fee.

    For more information, please contact the North Carolina DMV.

    Chauffeurs

    North Carolina does not require a chauffeur's license.

    Sport Vehicles in North Carolina

    While most sport and off-road vehicles do not require a special driver's license, some may have a minimum age requirement to operate.

    Certain types of sport vehicles may require you to hold a motorcycle license or endorsement. For more information, please visit our Motorcycle License in North Carolina page.

    All Terrain Vehicles (ATV)

    Many new ATV riders must complete an ATV safety course in order to legally operate an ATV in North Carolina.

    Personal Watercraft (PWC)

    To drive a personal watercraft or jet ski you must meet the age requirements:

    • Kids 14 years old or older can only operate a boat if they've completed a state-approved boating safety education course, or if they're accompanied on board by anyone 18 years old or older.
    • Kids under 14 years old are not allowed to operate a PWC.
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