Written by Andrei Zakhareuski. With over 16 years of expertise, Andrei leads Driving-Tests.org, a top online resource for driver education. His leadership has established vital partnerships with over 2,600 libraries, educational bodies, and state agencies.

Essential Steps for a CDL


Age Requirement

Minimum 21 years old for interstate driving, 18 for intrastate.


Driver Training

Mandatory FMCSA-approved training for Class A or B. More info.


Application and Fee

Submit your state’s CDL application and pay the fee.


Identity and SSN Verification

Provide proof of identity and Social Security number.


Proof of Residency

Show evidence of state and US residency.


Medical Documentation

Submit Medical Examination Report and Examiner’s Certificate Forms.


Vision Test

Clear a vision test.


Knowledge Exam


Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP)

Obtain a CLP after passing the knowledge exam. Learn more.


Skills Exam Wait Period

Wait 14 days before scheduling your CDL road skills exam.


Pre-Trip Inspection


Road Skills Test

Successfully complete the road skills test (vehicle required).


Finalization and Fees

Pay fees and potentially submit a 10-Year Record Check. More details.

Class A/B CDL Training: For Class A or B, complete theory and behind-the-wheel training from FMCSA-approved providers. Training records will be sent to the TPR, enabling you to take official tests.

Commercial Driver License

Military Veterans: Veterans with relevant experience may waive certain written and driving tests. Documentation of military driving experience is necessary.

Did You Know? Trucks transport 70% of US freight, totaling over $670 billion – more than Switzerland’s annual income!

Commercial Freight Importance

For all CDL types, basic requirements are federally set, but states may add more. For example, 21 years old is mandatory for interstate driving, but many states allow 18-year-olds to drive intrastate.

When applying, provide evidence of your social security number, identity, and residency. The accepted documents vary by state, so check your state’s DMV website or CDL manual for specifics.

Medical Fitness for Driving: Beyond the vision exam, you’ll need to submit the Medical Examination Report Form (MCSA-5875) and the Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form (MCSA-5876). After 2023, these forms are mandatory for all commercial drivers, regardless of intrastate or interstate travel.

CDL Medical Examination

Key Forms for CDL Applicants

  • Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875 Download
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876 Download

MER Form

MEC Form

Find out how to obtain the CDL Class or endorsement you need:

Class-Specific CDL Requirements

How to Get Class A CDL

Class A CDL

  • Complete FMCSA-approved theory and BTW training.
  • Pass CDL General Knowledge and Combination Vehicles tests.
  • Bring a Class A vehicle to your road skills test.
  • Consider Class A endorsements like Doubles/Triples.

How to Get Class B CDL

Class B CDL

  • Complete FMCSA-approved theory and BTW training.
  • Pass the general CDL knowledge test.
  • Bring a Class B vehicle to your road skills test.
  • Obtain necessary endorsements (e.g., Air Brakes).

How to Get Class C CDL

Class C CDL

  • Pass the CDL General Knowledge test and get a CLP.
  • Bring a Class C vehicle to your road skills test.
  • Apply for required endorsements (Passenger, School Bus, Hazmat).

Things You Don’t Need

  • A truck driving school is not mandatory.
  • No need to purchase your state’s CDL manual.

Time and determination are your biggest investments in getting a CDL. Whether it’s Class A, B, or C, we’re rooting for you to hit the road soon!