Skills test: CDL

Things to know

You must take a skills test anytime you:

  • Get or upgrade your CDL
  • Add a passenger or school bus endorsement
  • Remove the air brake restriction

You may need a skills test if you’re reinstating your CDL:

  • It depends on the circumstances surrounding the CDL and endorsements you’re reinstating. Contact us for more information.

A skills test isn’t required for the following endorsements:

  • Tanker
  • Hazmat

The cost of the skills test can vary depending on who you take your test with and the type of vehicle:

  • Independent third-party or DOL Tester CDL skills test for Trucks and passenger vehicles. (Excluding school bus): $250
  • Reduced skills test fee for Head Start only: $225
  • Educational School District skills test or School bus endorsement skills test: $100


  1. Pass the knowledge test
  2. Get your Commercial License Permit (CLP)
  3. Schedule your test
  4. Take the test
  5. If needed, schedule a retest
  6. Get your CDL

1. Pass the knowledge test

2. Get your commercial license permit (CLP) — you must have it 14 days before testing.

3. Schedule your test

  • Go to a driver licensing office location and get the skills test form. We’ll assign a tester at that time. If you’re testing with:
  • The skills test form allows for 2 test attempts with the same tester.
  • Let us know if you’re enrolled at a DOL partnering school or an employee of partnering employer and we’ll assign you to a DOL tester.

4. Take the test

Bring all of the following or you won’t be able to take the test:

  • An unloaded commercial vehicle with the CDL class you want (A, B, or C).
    • It must be in safe operating condition and free of all hazardous material.
    • If needed, proof that the vehicle is clean after transporting hazardous materials.
    • For passenger (P) endorsement, bring a bus designed to carry 16 or more passengers with a GVWR of:
      • 26,001 or more for P1*
      • 26,000 or less for P2*
    • For a school bus (S) endorsement, bring any school bus with a GVWR of:
      • 26,001 or more for S1*
      • 26,000 or less for S2*
  • A signed CDL Skills Test Results form.
  • Your valid WA driver license with CLP.
    • If your CLP has expired you won’t be able to take the test.
  • A valid Medical Examiners Certificate if applicable:
    • State Waiver
    • Skills Performance Evaluation Certificate
    • Federal Medical Waiver
  • Proof of insurance or letter from the vehicle’s owner that authorizes its use for your test.

*If you take the following combination you’ll be able to get your passenger and school bus endorsements with one skills test:

  • Passenger and school bus knowledge tests.
    • If you take the skills test in a school bus, the GVWR of the vehicle will determine if your endorsements will be P1S or P2S.

What to expect when you take the test

  • It takes about 2 hours and includes the following (in order):​
    1. Pre-trip inspection. If you fail this part, the test is over.
    2. Basic controls test (backing exercises)
    3. Road test 
  • If testing with TPT, you’ll pay them your skills test fee.
  • You can’t use help aids or an interpreter. The test is in English.
  • Be sure you have studied sections 11, 12, and 13 of the CDL guide.
  • You’ll need to:
    1. Describe and provide criteria for inspections items.
    2. Describe and show the air supply system check.
    3. Back the vehicle through a pre-designated course.
    4. Safely operate the vehicle per criteria in the guide.

When you pass the test

  1. The tester will complete and sign your CDL Skills Test Results form and return it to you.
    • If you lost your form:
      1. Go back to the CDL/CLP office and get a new form. We’ll mark it “Duplicate.”
      2. Return to the tester so they can complete the form.
      3. Take the form and do one of the following:
        • If you passed all the tests, return to the CDL/CLP office and have your CDL issued.
        • If you’ve failed any parts, return to the office, if applicable pay any fees, and get a new form to retest.

5. If needed, schedule a retest

If you don’t pass all 3 components of the test, you can retest.

  • Make sure your CPL is valid. If it will expire before an open test time, you’ll need to get a new permit.
  • Your skills test form covers 2 tests. Use the same tester to avoid paying for a new skills test form.
  • If you decide to change to a new tester**:
    • None of your previous scores will transfer.
    • You’ll have to retake and pass all 3 parts of the test.
    **This doesn’t apply if you tested with DOL and change to a TPT.
  • You need to wait to retake the test:
    If you don’t pass the You can retake the test
    Pre-trip inspection In 3 days.
    Basic controls test In 3 days.
    Road test In 7 days.
    If you passed the pre-trip inspection in a previous test, the vehicle must also pass a safety inspection when you retake it.
  • If you fail the 1st test attempt, schedule your retest:
    • If you tested with a DOL tester, call the CDL Skills Testing Program at 360.902.3619 option 2 (this number is only for scheduling). When you call, have your:
      1. WA driver license number,
      2. site you tested at before,
      3. date you last tested, and
      4. red test form number (we can’t schedule without it).
    • If you tested with a TPT, contact them.
  • If you fail the 2nd test attempt go to a driver licensing office:
    1. Get a new test form.
    2. Pay any fees, if applicable.
    3. Start the testing process over.
  • If you test after July 1, 2016 with a test form issued before June 28, 2016 and fail your 1st test attempt:
    • If you tested with a DOL tester, call the CDL Skills Testing Program at 360.902.3619 option 2.
    • If you tested with a TPT, contact them. You’ll have to pay an extra testing fee due to the increased test fee.

6. Get your CDL

Take all of the following to a driver licensing office to get your CDL:

  1. Passing and signed CDL Skills Test Results form.
  2. Your Medical Examiners Certificate.
  3. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency, if you haven’t provided it already. See list of approved documents.
  4. An original certificate from your school, employer or agribusiness exemption to verify you’ve completed the training requirements. This form isn’t required for CDL upgrades.

Related information

Questions? Need help?

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