What Are the Requirements for DOT Certification?

For DOT certification, the Department of Transportation requires a physical exam by a certified medical examiner, as well as a written test and a driving test, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Gaining DOT certification requires a higher level of accountability and experience than a non-commercial license.

DOT certification issued by the licensing state, which endorses a driver’s skill, knowledge and experience as being proficient, and verifies that his physical health is suitable for driving, explains FMCSA. DOT-certified drivers are licensed to drive vehicles such as trucks with trailers, tanks hauling hazardous materials, and passengers on a bus, with various endorsements available.

In order to obtain DOT certification, which is also called a commercial license, a driver must prepare by taking three steps, notes FMCSA. The first step is to obtain a manual of DOT CDL rules, laws and regulations. The second step is for the driver to decide which type of transportation vehicle he wishes to drive. The third step is to select which class of CDL license he wants. The requirements are different for each class of DOT certification or CDL license.

Before obtaining a license, a potential driver must obtain a permit by passing a written test, according to FMCSA. After passing the written test, the applicant takes a driving skills test. Passing the written exam and driving skills test leads to the final step in the process, which is taking a physical exam administered by a certified medical examiner.