This page is dedicated to showing you how to get a CDL, or commercial drivers license. Since the requirements for a CDL differ for each state we’ve included a comprehensive list.
Click on the name of your state below to get further information about the steps required to get your license.
CDL Requirements by U.S State
Before you apply to work as a truck driver, you should first know how to get a CDL or a Commercial Driver’s License. Without this license, you will not be employed by any trucking company and you will not be allowed to drive a truck in the first place.
First, you need to apply for a CDL permit which is used by students of truck driving while they are learning how to drive a truck. But before you get that, you have to pass a test first which would cover basic aspects of the truck in order to know if you have the basic knowledge needed to operate a truck. When you have this permit, you can drive a truck around the state as long as you have someone with you who has a Commercial Driver’s License with him. The permit is valid for 6 months which is just about how much time you need to finish a truck driving course.
A CDL permit is only issued to those who are at least 18 years of age and a commercial driver’s license is issued if you are at least 21 years of age. After you graduate from a truck driving school, you can now apply for a CDL in your state. For you to be able to do this, you need to pass a physical exam by the Department of Transportation. They are tests designed to know if you have the physical capacity to handle the tasks required in a truck driver such as lifting, pulling and doing vehicle inspections. There are also some required medical exams in some states although this is not the norm.
If you pass the said physical exam, you can now take the written test and schedule your road test. This is the final commercial driver’s license requirements are composed of two parts. First, you need to take the written tests which are designed to correspond with the type of vehicle that you will be driving although there is a general knowledge test which is required for all such types. The tests are as follows and which can be conducted on different days: General Knowledge, Passenger Transport, School Bus, Air Brakes, Combination Vehicles, Hazardous Materials, Tanker Test, and the Doubles or Triples Test. They are special endorsements which you can choose to take at the exam too.
After passing the written test, you would have to undergo the skills test which measures you capability to safely operate the truck before, during, and after driving. The skills test is composed of three parts which cover pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. You will be tested on different skills such as maneuvering the truck on heavy traffic as well as checking the safety and condition of your truck. Some of the tests will not be done on one single day and you may have to come back for another day for the other parts of the test.