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Skills test: CDL

Overview

  1. Find out when you need to take a test
  2. Schedule your test
  3. Take the test
  4. Get your CDL

1. Find out when you need to take a test

You can't take a skills test until

  • A WA DOL CDL approved training provider has completed your training.
  • They have entered your course completion.
  • You’ve met all federal Entry Level Driver Training requirements.

You must prove proficiency in all segments of the skills test to the training provider before taking a skills test. We won’t test you without your state and federal training completions submitted. If you take a skills test before these requirements, we may require you to re-take all 3 components of the skills test.

You must take a skills test anytime you:

  • Get an original CDL.
  • Upgrade your commercial license for:
    • A higher commercial class.
    • Adding endorsements that require a skills test, including:
      • Passenger endorsement.
      • School bus endorsement.
    • Tank vehicle endorsement (only if testing and/or training in tank vehicle).
    • Removing an air brake.
    • Removing no manual transmission restriction.
    • Removing non-tractor trailer restriction.
  • Haven't had a CDL for 1 year or more for any reason other than your license has expired.
    • Late renewal fee will apply.
    • If the only reason is because your license expired, you have up to 8 years to renew your CDL without having to test or show training requirements.

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

  • Tanker
    • If you're training and/or testing in a tank vehicle, you must have the tank endorsement on your commercial permit.
  • Hazmat
    • If you held a Hazmat endorsement before, you aren’t required to meet any training requirements. You must be able to prove you had the endorsement.
  • Double/Triple

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

  • Truck or passenger (excluding school bus) skills test taken with an Independent third-party examiners (TPE) or DOL examiner: $250
  • Any type of vehicle for Head Start employee: $225
  • School bus test taken with Educational School District, DOL examiner or TPE: $100

The fee for skills test covers 2 test attempts. If you change the type tester (i.e. DOL to TPE or TPE to DOL) on your 2nd test attempt, you'll have to pay the fee again.

There are 3 components of a skills test:

  • Vehicle Inspection
  • Basic Controls (backing exercise)
  • Road Test

You must wait 14 calendar days after we've issued your original or upgraded CLP before you can take the skills test.

2. Schedule your test

You'll test with a DOL Examiner or TPE. We must authorize you to test with a TPE before they can schedule your test. If a skills examiner type isn't assigned, call us at 360.902.3785 to get confirmation of who you'll test with.

  • If testing with a DOL examiner:
    • Contact us at 360.902.3785 to schedule your skills test.
    • You can pay over the phone using credit, debit, or pre-paid card for one or more persons in one transaction. Convenience fee will apply.
    • Other payment options:
      • Complete the Commercial Driver License Skills Test Mail-In Payment form.
      • Mail with check, money order, or cashier's check.
      • Handwritten or incomplete forms aren't accepted.
      • In the Name and School/Employer ID# field on the form:
        • If paying for your own test or you're not a training provider paying for a student or employee:
          • Enter your first and last name
          • Leave the school/employer ID# blank
        • If you're a registered training provider mailing in payment for a student(s) or employee(s), enter the:
          • School or business name you're approved or registered under
          • Registration ID# we issued to you
    • Wait for the email confirmation that we got your payment, then contact us to schedule your test.
  • Note: Processing mail-in payments can take up to 3 weeks. You can complete your scheduling when we receive your payment. We’ll invalidate your skills test and/or CDL due to dishonored payments.
  • If testing with a Third Party Examiner (TPE):
    • Contact the TPE to schedule your test.
    • Pay the test fee to the TPE. They should issue you a receipt.
    • You must schedule your test at least 3 days before you want to take it.

3. Take the test

Be on time and bring all the following to a CDL skills test location or you won't be able to take the test:

  • The type of vehicle you have a CLP for
  • An unloaded commercial vehicle
    • 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 endorsement, bring a bus designed to carry 16 or more passengers with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of:
      • 26,001 or more for a Class B CDL
      • 26,000 or less for a Class C CDL
    • For a school bus endorsement, bring any school bus with a GVWR of:
      • 26,001 or more for a Class B CDL
      • 26,000 or less for a Class C CDL
    • If you pass the passenger and school bus knowledge tests:
      • You can take a skills test in a school bus and receive both passenger and school bus endorsement.
    • If you have a Class C CDL with a passenger endorsement and you test for a school bus endorsement with a GVWR of 26,001 or more:
      • We'll upgrade you to a Class B CDL
  • Your valid WA driver license with CLP
  • A valid Medical Examiners Certificate if applicable:
    • State Waiver
    • Skills Performance Evaluation Certificate
    • Federal Medical Waiver
  • Proof of insurance.
  • A letter from the vehicle's owner, if borrowed, that authorizes its use for your test.

What to expect when you take the test

  • It takes about 2 hours and includes the following (in order):
    1. Vehicle inspection.
      • If you fail this part, the test is over
    2. Basic controls test (backing exercises)
    3. Road test
  • You can't:
    • Use help aids other than what is in the drivers guide
    • Use an interpreter
    • Mark or label components or memory aids
  • The test is in English
  • Be sure you have studied sections 11, 12, and 13 of the CDL guide
  • You'll need to:
    • Describe and provide criteria for inspections items
    • Describe and show the air supply system check
    • Back the vehicle through a pre-designated course
    • Safely operate the vehicle per criteria in the guide
  • Dress accordingly. DOL test sites don't have climate-controlled waiting areas. Be prepared to wait in your personal vehicle to avoid extreme weather conditions.

If you don't pass all 3 components of the test, schedule a retest

  • If you don't pass all 3 components of the skills test before your CLP expires, you'll have to retake any passing components of the test. Your CLP expires at 12:01 a.m. of the expiration date printed on the CLP.
  • Make sure your CLP is valid. If it will expire before an open test time, you'll need to make an appointment to visit a driver licensing office location to renew or get an original issued.
  • If a renewed CLP is expiring, you will need to retake knowledge test(s) to get another original CLP issued.
  • If you test once and decide to change to a different examiner:
    • None of your previous scores will transfer*
    • You'll have to retake and pass all 3 parts of the test*
    • Testing fee will apply
    *This doesn't apply if you tested with DOL and change to a TPE
  • You need to wait to retake the test.
    Days you must wait before retaking the test
    If you don't pass the: You can retake the test:
    Pre-trip inspection In 3 calendar days
    Basic controls test In 3 calendar days
    Road test In 7 calendar days
    Equipment failure

    No wait time and it does not count as a test.

    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, schedule your retest:
    • If you tested with a DOL examiner, call 360.902.3785 (this number is only for scheduling and DOL skills test payments).
    • When you call, have the following ready:
      • Your driver license number
      • The site you tested at before
      • The date you last tested
    • If you tested with a TPE, contact them.

4. Get your CDL

You must wait 24 hours after passing all 3 components of the skills test before we can issue your CDL.

Skills test scores are valid for 180 days. We calculate the 180 days from when you passed the first component of the skills test.

Make an appointment to take the following to a driver licensing office, if you haven't already:

Related information

Questions? Need help?

Call us: 360.902.3900 (TTY: Call 711)

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