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Get a commercial driver’s license

Learn how to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Connecticut

Get a commercial driver’s license

Learn how to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Connecticut

Get a commercial driver's license (CDL)

To drive a commercial motor vehicle in Connecticut, you need to get a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and then get a CDL.

 

Connecticut Commercial Driver License Manual

A commercial motor vehicle is a:

  • Vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds
  • Vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
  • Vehicle designed to transport 11 or more passengers, including the driver, and used to transport students under age 21 to and from school
  • Any vehicle transporting hazardous materials that is required to be placarded

Exemptions for commercial vehicles
Vehicles that don’t need a CDL include:

  • Those that you use for farming purposes within 150 miles of the farm
  • Any fire-fighting apparatus
  • Authorized emergency vehicles
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Military vehicles operated by military personnel

Application age requirements for a CDL 
A successful applicant needs to meet the following age requirements based on the type of CDL they need:

  • Must be at least age 18
  • To haul hazardous material, must be at least age 21
  • To drive interstate, must be at least age 21

Medical requirements for a CDL 
CLP and CDL holders need to give the DMV a valid medical examiner’s certificate, provided by a certified medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. For more information, visit the CDL medical requirements page.

 

Self-certification 
CDL holders need to provide self-certification of their driving type. For more information, visit the self-certification page.

REAL ID requirements for CLP and CDL

To meet new federal requirements around ID verification, CLP and CDL holders need to provide the DMV with:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Proof of legal presence in the United States
  • Undocumented individuals will not be issued a CLP or CDL
  • Proof of Connecticut residence (proof must be from two sources)
  • Name change documents (if applicable)

For a detailed list of documents you need, visit the REAL ID document checklist.

Who can get a REAL ID

  • New applicants for a CLP
  • Current CDL holders when they renew a license
  • All out-of-state CDL holders when they transfer to Connecticut

REAL ID requirements do not apply to current U.S. citizens who completed this paperwork requirement when they got a verified driver’s license. The license will have a gold star on it, indicating it’s a verified REAL ID, as well as their CDL designation.

  

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  • Get a commercial learner’s permit
  • Complete entry-level driver training (ELDT)
  • Commercial driver's license (CDL) skills test
  • CDL testing for military applicants
  • Fees for CDL

Get a commercial learner’s permit

To be able to apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you must first have a commercial learner’s permit (CLP). Learn more about how to get a CLP in Connecticut.

Complete entry-level driver training (ELDT)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires commercial drivers to take a knowledge and behind-the-wheel test to receive these types of driver designations:

  • CDL A
  • CDL B
  • Public Passenger Endorsement, or PPE (“P”)
  • School bus (“S”) endorsement

For more information, visit the FMCSA website, or the FAQ tab on this page. 

Commercial driver's license (CDL) skills test

After you get a commercial learner's permit and complete the required training, you need to pass the CDL skills test.

You can download and study this manual for your CDL knowledge or skills test, or for your hazardous material (“H”) endorsement—refer to chapter nine for the hazmat section.

Commercial Driver's License (CDL) Manual (PDF) (Rev. 12/15)

CDL testing for military applicants

Military personnel who hold a military license can get an exemption from taking the CDL skills test, but they need to meet all criteria required under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

Exemptions are available for any military personnel meeting one of the following requirements:

  • Active-duty military personnel
  • Recently separated (within one year of application) military personnel
  • Reservist military personnel

All applicants need to pass the required knowledge test(s) based on the type of vehicle they plan to drive. Knowledge tests are provided at no fee if one of the following apply to you:

  • Active-duty status
  • Recently separated (within one year of application) military personnel
  • Reservist military personnel 

Self-certification and medical certification requirements need to be met by all applicants.
 
Required documents

  • You need to provide information on all states where you were previously licensed during the past 10 years.
  • Valid verified (with gold star) REAL ID Connecticut driver's license. If you do not have a verified license, you will be required to provide additional identification documents. See above for REAL ID requirements.
  • Valid U.S. Government Motor Vehicle Operator Identification Card
  • Military Identification Card or Form DD-214 (if recently separated)
  • Medical certification dated within two years and completed by a certified medical examiner found on the National Registry (actual physical or medical certification card must be on file with Connecticut DMV)
  • Self-certification as to the type of commercial driving is required
  • Completed DMV fee waiver request (Forms B-88) and application for a CDL (Form R-229A)
  • Social Security card or proof of SSN
  • Evidence that the applicant operated a military motor vehicle representative of the commercial motor vehicle they operate or expect to operate for at least the two years immediately preceding discharge from the military
  • Completed application for military skills test waiver

The U.S. government license needs to indicate the type of vehicle(s) and the vehicle capacity that you are qualified to operate. To qualify for the exemption, the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle you operate must be at least 26,001 lbs. You may also apply for a Class C CDL.

Fees for CDL

 Tests 
 General knowledge test $16
 Endorsement tests (each) $5
 Skills test  $30
 Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
 New  $20
 Duplicate (replacement)  $20
 Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
 New  $70
 Duplicate (replacement)  $30
 Upgrade  $22
 Modify  No fee
 Renewal  $70 (four-year renewal)
 Renewal late fee  $25

 

Learn more about acceptable forms of payment.

Entry level training FAQs

Effective February 7, 2022, no new commercial driver’s license with an S, P, or H endorsement is issued to a driver unless they successfully complete the following requirements:

 

  • Mandatory theory (knowledge)
  • Behind-the-wheel (BTW) training program by a registered CDL ELDT provider/trainer.

These requirements apply to the following drivers:

 

  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Public passenger (“P”) endorsement (PPE)
  • School bus endorsement (“S”)

If you need a hazardous material (“H”) endorsement, you need to complete the respective ELDT training prior to taking the hazardous material endorsement knowledge test, effective February 7, 2022.

For more information, visit the FMCSA site.

1. You need to complete the ELDT prior to taking a CDL skills test effective February 7, 2022, for these driver endorsement types:

 

  • First-time Class A
  • First-time Class B
  • Upgrade from a Class B to Class A
  • Upgrade from Class C to Class B
  • Public Passenger (“P”) Endorsement
  • School bus (“S”) endorsement

2. If you need a hazardous material (“H”) endorsement, you need to complete a knowledge test to fulfill the FMCSA’s CDL ELDT requirement, effective February 7, 2022,

For more information, visit the FMCSA website

You are exempt from ELDT if you hold:

 

  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Public passenger (“P”) endorsement
  • School bus (“S”) endorsement
  • Hazardous material (“H”) endorsement prior to February 7, 2022.
  • Valid commercial learner’s permit issued prior to February 7, 2022.
  • Those who qualify for a waiver under 49 CFR Section 383, including active-duty military Search the FMCSA site to access 49 CFR Section 383.
To find CDL trainers, visit the FMCSA Training Provider Registry.
You can find CDL training school providers authorized by the State of Connecticut at the Office of Higher Education.

You need to take instruction and training only from an organization that is authorized by the Office of Higher Education This doesn’t include entities seeking to train their own employees.

Theory (knowledge test): The training provider needs to cover five topics in the curriculum, and the driver-trainees need to score 80 percent or higher on the written (or electronic) test to show understanding of the material.

 

Behind-the-wheel (BTW) training: The entry-level driver training regulations don’t require a minimum number of hours for the completion of CDL Behind the Wheel training. The CDL training instructor will evaluate each CDL driver-trainee’s individual performance based on the required elements of BTW training on the range and public road. All BTW training must be conducted in a representative vehicle for the CDL class or endorsement being sought.

Learn more: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (dot.gov)

You can register with FMCSA and self-certify that you meet the applicable FMCSA eligibility requirements of the FMCSA, and affirm under penalty of perjury that you will teach the FMCSA-prescribed curriculum that is applicable for the CDL class or endorsement.

 

Resources for training providers:

You can find additional FAQ information on the FMCSA site.