How to Qualify for a CDL License

If you’re interested in obtaining a CDL license, the first place to start is to learn what it takes to qualify for a CDL license. Anyone who is in good health and has a good driving record can usually qualify without a problem. The following list details the major points to cover when deciding whether or not you qualify:

Do you qualify for a standard driver’s license in your state?

You must have, or be able to obtain, a standard driver’s license in your home state before you qualify to receive a CDL license.

Are you old enough for a CDL license?

In most cases, you must be 18 to drive within your home state and 21 to drive from state to state.

Do you have a good driving record?

A good driving record is important to not only get your CDL license, but to keep it. If you have had a DUI or other alcohol-related conviction in the last five years, more than two accidents in the last two years, or more than five moving violations in the last five years, you won’t qualify for a CDL license.

Do you have a criminal record?

If you’ve had a felony conviction in the last 20 years or a misdemeanor conviction in the past five years, you may be able to receive your CDL license. However, many trucking companies will not hire you.

Can you pass the DOT physical?

You must be in good overall health plus not have any disqualifying conditions to pass the DOT physical. Before you can even receive your CDL learner’s permit, you must present a signed certificate from your doctor that certifies that you’re physically able to do the job.

Can you pass the vision screening?

Your vision must be at least 20/40 in both eyes with or without corrective lenses to qualify for a CDL license.

Can you pass a drug test?

Both before you receive your CDL license and after you start driving, you’ll be required to submit to random drug screenings. Any use of illicit drugs could disqualify you from obtaining, or keeping, your CDL license.

Can you pass the knowledge test?

To receive your CDL license, you’ll have to pass a multi-part knowledge test first. This test includes questions about general knowledge and more intensive sections for each endorsement that you might need. Be prepared to answer questions about air brakes, hazardous materials, double and triple trailers, and passenger vehicles depending on the type of CDL license required.

Can you pass the skills test?

This test includes everything from a pre-drive check list to connecting and disconnecting a trailer to an actual road test. Most CDL license candidates take advantage of a certified CDL training program before attempting this test. In many cases, your driving school instructor will be allowed to administer this test and issue a certificate of completion.