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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 your training is complete. If you take a skills test before your training is complete, you might have to take the skills test again.

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
    • 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 6 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 training and or testing in a tank vehicle you must have the tank endorsement on your commercial permit).
  • Hazmat
  • Double/Triple

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

  • A 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
  • A school bus test taken with Educational School District, DOL examiner or TPE: $100

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 skills testing fee again.

There are 3 components of a skills test:

  • Pre-trip Inspection
  • Basic Controls (backing exercise)
  • Road Test

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

2. Schedule your test

If a skills examiner type isn't assigned call 360.902.3785 to receive confirmation of who you'll test with. You'll test with a DOL Examiner or Third Party Examiner (TPE).

  • If testing with a DOL examiner:
    • Contact us at 360.902.3785 to schedule the skills test.
    • You can make payment 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 CDL Skills Test Mail-In Payment form and 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 payment was received then contact us to schedule your test.
  • Note: Processing mail-in payments can take up to 3 weeks. Scheduling can be completed when payment is received. Dishonored payments will result in skills test taken and/or CDL issued to be invalidated. If testing with a Third Party Examiner (TPE):
    • Contact them to schedule your test.
    • Pay the test fee to them, 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 or letter from the vehicle's owner 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. Pre-trip 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 or an interpreter
    • Mark or label components
  • 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

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 visit a driver licensing office location to renew or get an original issued.
  • Your skills test form covers 2 tests.
  • 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:
      1. Your driver license number
      2. The site you tested at before
      3. The date you last tested
    • If you tested with a TPE, contact them.

3. Get your CDL

You must wait 24 hours after passing all 3 components of the skills test before the CDL can be issued.

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

Take the following, if you haven't already, to a driver licensing office to get your CDL:

  1. Your valid driver license.
  2. Your Medical Examiners Certificate and if applicable any other medical documents.
  3. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency. See list of approved documents.

Related information

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