How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Alaska
Obtaining an Alaska CDL, or commercial drivers license, is a crucial first step for anyone seeking employment in a field that requires driving large, cargo or passenger vehicles. Prospective CDL holders must be residents of Alaska, at least 18 years of age and hold standard drivers licenses in order to apply. Applicants need to meet a series of documentation and testing requirements within a set window of time to earn their licenses. This includes passing a federally mandated physical health exam.
Not all applicants will need the same CDL license classes or endorsements. As a result, different applicants will be subject to different testing requirements and restrictions. Generally, this means that motorists need to determine what types of employment they intend to pursue before applying for a truck driver license in order to ensure that they pursue the classifications appropriate to their personal needs.
CDL Requirements in Alaska
Alaska CDL license requirements include age and residency limits, knowledge tests, skills tests and health considerations. Specifically, to obtain a commercial drivers license, applicants must:
- Be legal residents of Alaska.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have held a standard drivers license for no less than one year.
- Pass a Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination.
- Hold a CDL learners permit for no fewer than 14 days, and no more than 180 days.
- Pass the applicable written knowledge tests and driving skills tests.
Under state and federal CDL requirements, motorists may be prohibited from receiving licenses, or have their licenses revoked, if they:
- Are convicted of felonies.
- Commit drug or alcohol violations.
- Illegally leave the scene of an accident.
- Commit traffic violations, including inappropriate mobile device use.
- Lose their regular drivers licenses for any reason.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Alaska
Before acquiring commercial drivers licenses, motorists must apply for – and hold – an Alaska CDL learners permit. Motorists must hold a CDL permit for at least 14 days before testing for their licenses. State CDL permit rules mandate that motorists sit for their licensing exams within 180 days of receiving their permits. Permit holders may apply for 180-day extensions, if necessary, but may only do so once.
Permits do not authorize holders to drive commercial vehicles independently. CDL permit requirements dictate that permit holders drive under the supervision of properly licensed CDL holders and trainers at all times.
Getting CDL permit credentials in Alaska requires applicants to submit specific items to their local DMV offices. These include the following:
- Proof of residency/citizenship (like a passport or a certified birth certificate)
- A standard drivers license
- A valid Social Security Number
- A DOT Medical Card (proof of passing federal CDL health exam) and exemption forms, where applicable.
- Payment for applicable fees.
CDL Written Test in Alaska
Permit holders can take the Alaska CDL written test in person, at their local DMV offices, by appointment. Currently, no online CDL test is available. The CDL general knowledge test covers all of the material in the Alaska Commercial Drivers Manual, including relevant laws, safe driving practices and the skills that will be tested in the corresponding road test exam. Applicants need to answer 80 percent of CDL permit test questions correctly in order to pass.
Alaska CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
Alaskan commercial driving permit holders can use a variety of CDL practice test options to help them prepare for their exams. All prospective licensees should thoroughly review the state’s CDL handbook in order to ensure they are familiar with the laws and guidelines regulating commercial licenses and vehicle operation.
Some motorists will elect to enroll in a CDL school to complete the training they need in order to be successful on their tests. Others may seek out CDL prep materials, including online practice tests. While school attendance is not mandatory in Alaska, CDL training can save applicants time and money by preparing them to succeed on their tests on their first attempts.
How to Get a CDL License in Alaska
The process of how to get a CDL in Alaska begins with applying for a learner’s permit. To apply for CDL permits, however, motorists must first hold private drivers licenses and have visited an approved medical examiner and passed the DOT medical exam. Motorists who pass their physical exams should take their CDL application forms and the following supporting documents to their local DMV offices:
- Passports or certified birth certificates (to demonstrate residency and citizenship)
- A current in- or out-of-state drivers licenses
- Social Security Numbers
- The DOT Medical Card and exemption forms
- Payment for the associated fees
Keep in mind that applicants must hold their permits for at least 14 days before testing, but must sit for their licensing tests within 180 days of obtaining their permits or applying for an extension, if needed.
CDL Driving Test in Alaska
Motorists must make appointments with their local DMV offices to take the CDL driving test. The skills portion of a CDL test consists of three parts, which include the:
- Vehicle inspection.
- Basic driving skills.
- On-road skills demonstration.
Tests for CDL drivers are conducted by certified DMV examiners. Detailed lists and descriptions of all of the skills and maneuvers applicants may be required to demonstrate in each section of the test are available in the Alaska CDL book.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Alaska
Alaska military CDL waivers allow members of the United States Armed Forces, who are certified by the military to drive commercial vehicles, to get the CDL permit via a simplified application process. To qualify for the modified CDL for veterans application process, motorists must:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Hold current and valid drivers licenses.
- Be U.S. citizens and residents of Alaska.
- Have had a minimum of two years’ experience driving military commercial vehicles.
- Have driven military commercial vehicles within one year prior to application, along with a military certification documenting the types of vehicles driven.
- Have at least two years’ of clean driving records prior to application.
Military CDL applicants are exempt from the road skills portion of CDL testing, but must sit for – and pass – all applicable knowledge tests. Waivers cannot be used to obtain school bus or passenger vehicle endorsements, however.
Interested motorists should complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form 416), and have the paperwork signed by their commanding officers. The completed forms should then be submitted to the DMV with the rest of their commercial drivers license application paperwork.
CDL Medical Exams in Alaska
Alaska abides by the new DOT physical requirements regulating commercial drivers’ eligibility to receive or maintain licenses. Under these new federal standards, before motorists can apply for CDL license credentials, they must have a CDL physical conducted by a DOT-approved practitioner. Practitioners will issue applicants both long-form results and a Medical Card. Applicants must submit the Medical Card as part of their CDL learners permit application packages.
Applicants whose CDL medical exam results carry restrictions, or include certain waivers, may be eligible for intrastate licenses, but not interstate licenses.
Types of CDL Classes in Alaska
There are three classes of CDL licenses in AK. Each class authorizes license holders to operate different types of vehicles by weight and cargo. The classes are defined as:
- Class A license holders may drive vehicles and combinations of vehicles of any weight.
- Class B CDL license holders may drive single vehicles of any weight or combinations of vehicles weighing no more than 10,000 pounds.
- Class C CDL license holders are authorized to drive large passenger vehicles, or vehicles carrying hazardous materials.
Note that CDL applicants should determine which type(s) of licenses they need before beginning the application process.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Alaska
Alaska CDL endorsements are notations made on commercial drivers licenses indicating that motorists are authorized to handle special types of commercial vehicles. Written and skills tests may be required to obtain the following possible endorsements at the time of licensing:
- Hazmat Endorsement (H)
- Tanker Endorsement (N)
- Passenger Endorsement (P)
- School Bus Endorsement (S)
- Double/Triple Vehicles Endorsement (T)
- Combination Tank and Hazardous Materials Endorsement (X)
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Alaska
Alaska commercial driver license applicants may apply for licenses that allow them to drive commercial vehicles only within state borders or licenses that allow them to drive cargo and passengers across state lines. The types of licenses are outlined as:
- Intrastate CDL licenses authorize motorists to operate commercial vehicles only within state borders. They are most appropriate for school bus drivers and others working local routes.
- Interstate CDL licenses are designed for truckers and others taking passengers or cargo between states. Importantly, drivers are required to hold interstate licenses if their passengers or cargo cross state lines during their total trips from origin to destination, even if the driver, himself or herself, does not.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Alaska
The total Alaska CDL permit cost may include any expenses motorists incur in acquiring ID documents, such as certified birth certificates, or obtaining the necessary CDL medical exam. DMV-specific CDL license cost figures are as follows:
- Commercial drivers license (any class): $100
- Real ID commercial drivers license (any class): $120
- CDL renewal: $100
- Real ID CDL renewal: $120
- Commercial vehicle road test fee: $25