CDL Classifications

CDL ClassificationsThree different CDL Classification exist (Class A, Class B and Class C) and federal law requires states to issue a CDL to drivers accordingly.

Class A CDL: Any combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

Class B CDL: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.

Class C CDL: Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or is transporting material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under subpart F of 49 CFR Part 172 or is transporting any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR Part 73.

* The above is taken from the Department of Transportation website:

Class A vehicles include:

  • Tractor-Trailer
  • Truck and Trailer Combinations
  • Tractor-Trailer Buses

Class B Vehicles include:

  • Straight Trucks
  • Large Buses
  • Segmented Buses

Class C Vehicles include:

  • Any vehicle not included as a Class A or Class B vehicle.

Vehicle classes are generally determined by their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the manufacturer design. The class of vehicle also has an impact on the type of CDL Endorsements you’ll need. For example, a bus will most likely require you to obtain a Passenger Endorsement (P) or a School Bus Endorsement (S).

Find out more about the different CDL Classifications on the following pages:


US Department of Transportation –

15 Responses to “CDL Classifications”

  1. Wesley Webb says:

    So you have to be 21 to get a Class B CDL? Even I were only to do local driving?

  2. Fenny says:

    Hi Aidan

    If I want to get a class A license, do I need to read class B or class C stuffs on the commercial driver’s manual book ? thank you

  3. Glen Silvey says:

    I’ve been to a bunch of CDL sites…yours is the best, thanks!

  4. Seth McKinley says:

    I don’t get the endorsement stuff.

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Seth,
      I could give you a better answer if I understood what part of the endorsements was confusing you. Basically, endorsements are an addition to your license that allow you to do more than just drive the truck. You have to take a test and pay a small extra fee to have an endorsement added to your CDL, but it’s usually well worth it. If you want to reply back with more specific questions, I’ll be glad to try to address them. I hope that helps you.

  5. Joey says:

    Do we get tested on these classifications?

    • Aidan says:

      Joey, if you’re asking if you’ll be tested about the different types of classifications, no. You only need to know what they are so you can decide which Class of license you want.

  6. G.Trantham says:

    Can I get licensed in more than one class?

  7. Phillip T. says:

    Are endorsements required on Class A trucks?

    • Aidan says:

      Phillip, good question. It usually depends on what you plan to haul. If there’s a possibility you’ll be hauling hazardous materials, you’ll definitely need a Haz-Mat endorsement. You may need a Passenger endorsement if you’re planning to take someone with you on the trips. Your instructors will be able to guide you as to which endorsements you need based on your preferences. I hope that helps.

  8. Ronny Sams says:

    Does one class make more money than the others?

    • Aidan says:

      Ronny, generally speaking the Class A drivers tend to make more, mostly because they’re the ones who are able to travel all over the country.

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