The process for obtaining a Class C license begins with a general knowledge and pre-trip inspection test, which is followed by a hazardous materials test, passenger transport test and an operational road test. Some states require additional testing based on their own laws.
The general knowledge test for a Class C license has a minimum of 30 questions. Subjects on the general knowledge test include vehicle controls, shifting gears, inspection, road hazards and communications practices. The pre-trip inspection test, which applicants take only after passing the general exam, covers emergency exit and evacuation plans. It also covers the internal inspection of controls and cab items as well as the external inspection of connections, tires, light functions and when hauling, trailer connections and condition.
The hazardous materials test includes questions related to bulk tank loads, such as petroleum, gases and oil. The test also covers tank and trailer loading, unloading and caution markings. Emergency practices and procedures, including measures taken during and after a leak or accident, are a large part of the hazardous materials test.
Regardless of whether they intend to haul goods or transport people, applicants must take a passenger transport test. The passenger transport test allows for the option of Class C license-holders to operate mass-transit or school buses. Questions in this part of the test include the topics of emergency exits, loading and unloading passengers, railroad crossing and draw bridge procedures, and post-trip inspections.