Training requirements: CDL

Minimum training requirements

Before you can get a commercial driver license (CDL), you must successfully complete a training course at an approved CDL training school. The training must include at least the following:

Class of CDL Minimum training required
Class A 160 total hours, including at least:
  • 40 hours of classroom instruction
  • 18 hours of street driving training
  • 16 hours of training in backing maneuvers
  • 16 hours of proficiency development
  • 70 hours of combined lab training, range training and observation
Class B 48 total hours, including at least:
  • 20 hours of classroom instruction
  • 14 hours of street driving training
  • 4 hours of training in backing maneuvers
  • 4 hours of proficiency development
  • 6 hours of combined lab training, range training and observation
Class C 36 total hours, including at least:
  • 20 hours of classroom instruction
  • 8 hours of street driving training
  • 2 hours of training in backing maneuvers
  • 2 hours of proficiency development
  • 4 hours of combined lab training, range training and observation

After you complete the minimum training requirements

The training school will give you a certificate of completion that you must present at a driver licensing office when you get your CDL. You don’t need the training certificate to schedule and take a CDL skills test, but you must present the original certificate at the licensing office after you have passed all your tests and are ready to get your CDL. You won’t be issued a CDL unless you present the original certificate. Photocopied, faxed, handwritten, or mailed certificates won’t be accepted.

Types of drivers exempt from training requirements

Employer-certified drivers

If your employer agrees that you have the skills and training to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely, he or she will complete and sign an employer certification that includes the classes of commercial vehicles you may operate. To be exempt from meeting the minimum training requirements, you must present this typed, signed certification at a driver licensing office when you are issued your CDL.

To qualify as an “employer,” the person or organization who completes the certification must:

  • Register with us. (See Employer registration and certification to learn how to register as an employer.)
  • Have hired at least 1 individual to operate a commercial motor vehicle on a regular basis during their normal course of business.
  • Not have the primary purpose of training commercial vehicle operators.

Drivers with military truck driver training

If you received specialized truck driver training in the military, you may be eligible for a Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate from the Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). Present this certificate instead of a training school certificate when you apply for your CDL. To learn how to get a military training certificate, see the WDVA website: Military Commercial Drivers License Skills Test Waiver.

Agribusiness

You may get a restricted CDL without meeting the minimum training requirements if you’ll be operating a commercial motor vehicle only for agribusiness purposes. When you get your CDL, we will add a restriction that only allows you to drive a commercial vehicle for an agribusiness. To have this restriction removed, you must present a training or employer certificate.

An “agribusiness” is a private carrier who primarily transports the following products during the normal course of business:

  • Farm machinery, farm equipment, and implements of husbandry.
  • Farm supplies and materials.
  • Seed, feed, fertilizer, and crop protection products.
  • Unprocessed agricultural commodities.
  • Any combination of the above.

To get this restricted CDL without meeting training requirements, your agribusiness employer must send us a completed Agribusiness Minimum Training Requirements Exemption form. Then we will assign you a unique ID number and send your employer the approved form. You must present this approved form at a driver licensing office when you are issued your CDL. For more information, see Agribusiness.

Frequently asked questions

I used to have a CDL. Do I have to meet the minimum training requirements if I want to get a CDL again?

Yes, unless you work for an employer who will certify you have the skills and training necessary to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

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