The requirements to obtain a CDL, or commercial driver's license, vary by state. Regardless, all states require the driver to complete a training program, pass a written exam and take a hands-on driving test.
- Review state-specific CDL requirements
Obtain a copy of your state's CDL requirements by contacting the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Current CDL requirements are often available by visiting the state DMV website.
- Choose the ideal CDL type
There are three main CDL types: Class A, B and C. Classes determine what the license holder may drive. For example, Class A drivers may operate any size vehicle, while Class C drivers may operate a vehicle carrying less than 16 passengers or weighing less than 26,001 pounds.
- Enroll in a CDL training program
Register for a CDL training program based upon your intended license class. License type determines training hour requirements. For example, in the state of Washington, Class A licenses require 160 hours of training, while Class C licenses require 36 training hours. Select a training program approved by your state's DMV.
- Take CDL examinations
After training is complete, locate a driver's licensing office that offers CDL testing. Schedule and take the required exams for your license class. Exams typically include a vision test, a multiple-choice knowledge test and a road-skills test. To obtain a CDL license, you must pass all required exams.