CDL Requirements – Things You NEED To Know

CDL RequirementsWhile the CDL requirements may vary a little from state to state, the basic requirements for obtaining a commercial drivers license are fairly similar nationwide.

Here’s an overview of what’s required:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age for intrastate driving (driving in your home state).
  • You must be able to read and speak the English language to a level high enough to hold a conversation with the general public, to be able to read traffic signs and signals.
  • You must be able to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.
  • You must be physically qualified to drive a CMV by having completed relevant physical and medical examinations.
  • You must have a current drivers license.
  • You must not be disqualified from driving a motor vehicle.
  • You must have successfully completed an on road test and written examinations corresponding to the class of vehicle you want to drive.


So where do you start?

First you need to identify what Class of CDL you want to obtain, this largely depends on the type of vehicle you want to drive, you can find out more about different CDL Classes here:

Once you know which class of license you require, you also need to decide on the additional CDL endorsements you’ll need. These depend on factors such as how many passengers you’ll be carrying and what type of load you’ll be transporting.

Once you’ve got a basic understanding of the class of CDL required and the CDL endorsements required, you should contact your local Department of Transportation or Department of Motor Vehicles.


Here’s a list of governmental agencies broken down State by State:

Resources:

Alabama – http://www.dps.state.al.us/
Alaska – http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/ADMIN/dmv/akol/cdl.htm
Arizona – http://www.azdot.gov/mvd/faqs/scripts/faqs.asp?section=cdl
Arkansas – http://www.arkansas.gov/dfa/driver_services/ds_license.html
California – http://www.dmv.ca.gov/commercial/commercial.htm
Colorado - http://www.revenue.state.co.us/mcs_dir/wrap.asp?incl=CDL_index
Connecticut - http://www.ct.gov/dmv/taxonomy/ct_taxonomy.asp?DLN=41638&dmvNav=|41638|
Delaware - http://www.dmv.de.gov/services/driver_services/drivers_license/dr_lic_cdl.shtml
Florida - http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ddl/dlclass.html
Georgia - http://www.dds.ga.gov/Commercial/index.aspx
Hawaii - http://www.hawaii.gov/dot/highways/hwy-v/mvso.htm
Idaho - http://www.itd.idaho.gov/dmv/DriverServices/CDL.htm
Illinois - http://www.sos.state.il.us/departments/drivers/cdl/home.html
Indiana - http://www.in.gov/bmv/driverlicense/CDL.html
Iowa - http://www.dot.state.ia.us/mvd/ods/cdl.htm
Kansas - http://www.ksrevenue.org/dmvdrlic.htm
Kentucky - http://drlic.kytc.ky.gov/
Louisiana - http://web01.dps.louisiana.gov/OMV1.nsf/1b2fc6edb63de9b1862564800069f248/f49e283fc26019e8862564ae00546c22?OpenDocument
Maine - http://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/licenses/index.html
Maryland - http://mva.state.md.us/DriverServ/Apply/CDL/commercial.htm
Massachusetts - http://www.mass.gov/rmv/license/8cdl.htm
Michigan - http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1627_8666_9060—,00.html
Minnesota - http://www.dps.state.mn.us/dvs/DriverLicense/DL%20Info/DL%20frame.htm
Mississippi - http://www.dps.state.ms.us/dps/dps.nsf/divpages/hp2ds-info-comm2?OpenDocument
Missouri - http://www.dor.mo.gov/mvdl/drivers/commercial/
Montana - http://doj.mt.gov/driving/driverlicensingcommercial.asp
Nebraska - http://www.dmv.state.ne.us/examining/licpermits.html#top
Nevada - http://www.dmvnv.com/nvdl.htm#Commercial
New Hampshire - http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/driverlic/index.html
New Jersey - http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Commercial/CommercialDriver.htm
New Mexico - http://www.state.nm.us/tax/mvd/mvd_home.htm
New York – http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/cdl.htm
North Carolina – http://www.ncdot.org/dmv/driver_services/commercialtrucking/requirements.html
North Dakota - http://www.dot.nd.gov/dlclass.html
Ohio – http://www.bmv.ohio.gov/driver_license/cdl.htm
Oklahoma - http://www.dps.state.ok.us/dls/
Oregon - http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/driverid/cdlget.shtml
Pennsylvania - http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/commercial_licensing/index.shtml
Rhode Island - http://www.dmv.state.ri.us/licenses/comm_chauff.php
South Carolina - http://www.scdmvonline.com/DMVNew/default.aspx?n=commercial_driver_licenses
South Dakota - http://www.state.sd.us/dps/dl/Commercial/Commercial.htm
Tennessee - http://state.tn.us/safety/driverlicense/cdlalt.htm
Texas - http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/driver_licensing_control/dlindex.htm
Utah - http://publicsafety.utah.gov/dld/CDL.html
Vermont - http://www.aot.state.vt.us/dmv/LICENSES/Commercial/CDLLICENSESPERMITS.htm
Virginia - http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/citizen/drivers/applyingcdl.asp
Washington - http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/cdl.html
Washington DC - http://dmv.washingtondc.gov/serv/dlicense/commercial_howto.shtm
West Virginia - http://www.wvdot.com/6_motorists/dmv/6g0_cdl.htm
Wisconsin - http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/types/cdl.htm
Wyoming - http://www.dot.state.wy.us/wydot/site/wydot/license_commercial

20 Responses to “CDL Requirements – Things You NEED To Know”

  1. Eugene Morris says:

    I’m about to start trucker school but I want to own my own rig as soon as possible. I’ve heard about a lease program that’s available from some companies, is that my best option?

    • Aidan says:

      My best advice is to talk to some owner-operators. Some of the leasing programs are not all they’re made out to be and if you’re not careful you can wind up getting burned pretty badly. They’re not all that way of course, but you have to be careful.

  2. Sean Patterson says:

    How much time will I have at home once I start driving? Realistically.

    • Aidan says:

      Sean, that will vary from company to company and even from driver to driver within the same company. It also varies depending on whether you’re driving regionally, locally or OTR. Best bet is to check with some drivers at the company you’re applying to.

  3. Damon Jenkins says:

    I’m single and 29 years old with no kids. If I wasn’t renting an apartment, the only bills I would have would be car payment, insurance payment and some kind of internet connection. How much could a new driver save each month? I guess what I’m asking is how expensive is it to live on the road? What I want to do is drive for a couple of years and try to save up about 15 or 20 thousand dollars.

    • Aidan says:

      It can be somewhat expensive to live on out on the road, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things you can do to save money, even while you’re driving. If you don’t have any other bills, you can probably save that much in 2 or maybe 3 years, or maybe even less, depending on how much you start out making and if there are any sign on bonuses or things like that. Good luck to you!

  4. R Bennett says:

    Just want to say thank you for a really helpful site. Haven’t made up my mind yet for sure, but I’ve bookmarked the site.

  5. josiah says:

    Thanks for listing all the states! Really helpful!

  6. Theresa Sternburg says:

    Do you know if there are any discounts available for husband/wife training?

    • Aidan says:

      Hi Theresa,
      That’s a great question. Sometimes there is a discount offered. You’ll want to do some shopping around to see if you can find a driver training program in your area that will give you a price break for two people taking the training. Don’t forget to check with the trucking companies as well. Good luck!

  7. herman whitfield says:

    Is there an age limit in South Dakota?

  8. Lester B. says:

    Great job of gathering all this information and putting it all in one convenient place. Hats off to ya! Going to check out Colorado!

  9. maurice cray says:

    how do you know which class you need a lisense for?

    • Aidan says:

      Maurice, it usually comes down to what kind of truck you plan to drive. Your driving instructor will be able to help you decide if you’re still unsure.

  10. Zach Bevins says:

    Cool site manThanks!

  11. Jerry Latham says:

    Will my CDL in Ohio transfer over to Nebraska?

    • Aidan says:

      If your CDL is active, it will probably transfer just fine, but you’ll need to check with Nebraska’s DOT to find out what they want you to do to transfer it.

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