Get a CDL License



A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a license to drive certain commercial vehicles, including delivery vans, passenger vans, 18-wheelers, and school buses. To obtain a license, applicants must meet federal and state requirements and successfully complete training.

Types of CDL

There are three types of CDLs:

1. Commercial A. Licensing to drive any legal combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.

2. Commercial B. Licensing to drive any vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds, and towing a vehicle weighing under 10,000 pounds GVWR or a 3-axle vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds.

3. Commercial C. Licensing to drive any Class C vehicle with one or more of the following endorsements:

  1. Passenger Vehicle (PV)
  2. Hazardous Materials (HazMat)
  3. Tank Vehicle (TV)

Who Needs a CDL?

A variety of truck driving jobs require a CDL, including:

  • Dry van hauling
  • Tankers
  • Auto/car hauling
  • Refrigerated freight
  • Flatbed
  • LTL freight
  • Oilfield
  • Local and OTR (Over The Road)

CDL Applicant Requirements

As of February 7, 2022, CDL applicants must complete entry level driver training (ELDT) from a registered training provider listed on the federal Training Provider Registry (TPR). ELDT completion is required for applicants seeking to obtain an original CDL (Class A or B) or to upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL.

To obtain an original CDL in California, applicants must also complete at least 15 hours of behind-the-wheel training and submit a California Commercial Driver Behind The Wheel Training Certification (DL 1236) to the DMV.

California commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must be at least 18 years old to carry cargo that originates and terminates within the state. Drivers must be at least 21 if they would like to drive for interstate commerce or transport hazardous materials and waste.

How to Apply for a CDL

Drivers must have a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) for 14 days before they can apply to take the skills test. Once they’ve scheduled a skills test appointment, the driver is responsible for bringing the type of vehicle(s) they would like to become certified to drive. The driver must pass the skills test, which includes a vehicle inspection, basic control skills exam, and a road test.

There are some exceptions to these requirements, which are listed on the DMV website.

What to Expect During Truck Driving School

The first step towards obtaining a CDL is enrolling in a truck driving school. At America Truck Driving School, each student receives customized instruction and training depending on the type of license they’d like to obtain as well as their background in commercial driving. Our experienced instructors can help students obtain every combination of license possible, including:

  • Class A
  • Class A w/ Passenger Endorsement
  • Class B
  • Class B w/ Passenger Endorsement
  • All Endorsements

We help students understand what it takes to pass the CDL exam and succeed in the trucking industry. Contact our office today to begin your training!