How to Get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Posted in July 20th, 2015
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Commercial Drivers LicenseCommercial driver’s license more commonly abbreviated as CDL is one of the most common and important type of driver’s permit in the United States.  A valid CDL is required in order to drive and operate any type of vehicle including light weight to heavy weight trucks within the United States. It is mandatory to operate a truck or trailer which is used for commercial purpose.

CDL or commercial driver’s license can be categorized into:

– Class A trucks, tractors and trailers
– Class B trucks and trailers
– Class C truck categories based on the type of vehicles.

Obtaining a CDL license involves a strict and stringent procedure. In this article, we will discuss in brief about various steps and examinations involved in getting a CDL.

Step 1- Gather information: All the states in the United States are authorized to issue a commercial driver’s license. But, the specifications, requirements and eligibility may vary from state to state. All licensure related info are available in the federal govt. centralized website Therefore, it is recommended to study and gather information related to your state specific rules, regulations and procedure for obtaining a CDL before you decide to apply for a commercial driver’s license.

For example, mostly in all states, the minimum age requirement for getting a CDL is 18 years and for an interstate license it is 21 years. But, in some states in US, both state resident and interstate CDL requires a minimum of 21 years.

CDL is a requisite for driving heavy commercial vehicles in the countries like UK, Australia and New Zealand, therefore, if anyone resides in those countries, they can check out the country specific websites for further instructions.

Step 2 –Check out the application procedure: Usually, everywhere, getting qualified for a CDL, requires a specific fees, and a standard format. Enquire about those steps, tests and fees and then apply for your license.

Step 3- Collect CDL training handbook/manual: This is one of the most important step towards obtaining a commercial driver’s license.  A commercial driver’s manual or handbook is usually available at the DMV office or on its website and it’s free to download. Get hold of the manual and study hard before applying for the actual license.

Step4- Application: Once, you are finished studying the driver’s handbook, you are ready to apply for your license and take the first step towards getting the license. You can either fill up the application form manually or online. Once you have filled up and submitted the online application form, you need to appear for the online knowledge CDL test which comprises of a number of multiple choice questions testing your theoretical knowledge regarding driving a commercial vehicle.

The driver’s handbook serves as the study material and one has to appear for the knowledge test only at the DMV center. Once you pass the test, DMV issues you learners permit. It is highly recommend to appear for a CDL permit practice test before appearing for the actual one.

Step 5- Practice and taking the driver’s skill test: After you have your learner’s permit, enroll in a DMV authorized and licensed truck training school for practice and learning. Once you are confident, appear for your commercial driving skill test and upon passing the skill test, you will awarded your CDL by the DMV.