How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Arizona
Arizona residents need a CDL, or commercial drivers license, to drive commercial vehicles of any kind. Which CDL types, classes and endorsements motorists need depend entirely upon what sort of employment they hope to find. The truck driver license that a motorist would need to drive tankers transporting hazardous materials, for example, would differ from the CDL license necessary to operate a bus or limo. Commercial licenses are not interchangeable with private licenses, but private license status can impact drivers’ ability to receive or maintain commercial licenses.
Motorists need to meet a series of eligibility qualifications to qualify for a CDL in Arizona. These include both federal- and state-level mandates related to citizenship, residency, health, driving history and testing. In nearly all cases, motorists must begin by reviewing copies of the Arizona commercial drivers license manual to determine what types of license classes and endorsements they need, as this information will directly shape their application processes.
CDL Requirements in Arizona
Arizona CDL requirements are designed to ensure that commercial licenses are issued only to safe, legal drivers. To this end, applicants must:
- Be no less than 18 years of age.
- Be legally present with in the United States (as citizens or authorized aliens).
- Supply their Social Security Numbers.
- Be residents of Arizona.
- Pass a federally-mandated DOT medical examination.
- Pass written and skills tests.
- Pay all applicable testing and licensing fees.
State and federal CDL license requirements expressly prohibit the issuance of commercial drivers licenses certain drivers. These include those who:
- Lie on their applications.
- Do not hold regular drivers licenses, or whose licenses have been suspended, revoked or otherwise discontinued.
- Have been convicted of felonies, leaving the scene of an accident, drug or alcohol abuse or other designated offenses.
- Are found medically unsound.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Arizona
Motorists can begin the process of obtaining the commercial drivers license by applying for an Arizona CDL learners permit at one of 13 DMV CDL offices across the state. Getting CDL permit credentials authorizes motorists to drive commercial vehicles under the supervision of trained and licensed commercial drivers for the purposes of training and practicing the skills they will need in order to pass their licensing tests. To apply for a CDL permit, applicants need to submit the following to the DMV:
- A completed application form
- Proof of satisfactory completion of a DOT CDL physical exam
- A minimum of two documents evidencing legal presence in the United States (e.g. passport and certified birth certificate)
- A legal photo ID
- Proof of age
- Proof of residency
- Social Security Number
- Payment for all applicable fees
Under CDL permit rules, some forms of documentation, such as Arizona DMV-issued drivers licenses, can satisfy multiple requirements. However, all motorists will need multiple documents to fully demonstrate their compliance with CDL permit requirements.
CDL Written Test in Arizona
Arizona applicants must take and pass the CDL general knowledge test to successfully obtain commercial driving credentials in the state. No online CDL test is currently available; tests must be taken in person, at DMV CDL offices, but no appointments are necessary. Applicants may also be required to take additional CDL written test portions if they wish to qualify for certain endorsements.
CDL permit test questions are taken directly from the training materials found in the state CDL license manual. Applicants must achieve a score of 80 percent, or higher, in order to pass.
Arizona CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
Arizona motorists are not required to attend a CDL school as part of the licensing process. Instead, they may prepare by:
- Studying the CDL handbook.
- Engaging in CDL training and driving practice with independent, trained and licensed commercial drivers.
- Utilize printed or online CDL practice test
While motorists may select what methods of CDL prep in which to engage, it is vital that they cover all of the material in the CDL book to properly prepare themselves for testing, and to become safe drivers.
How to Get a CDL License in Arizona
How to get a CDL in Arizona begins with scheduling a physical with a DOT-approved provider. Applicants who do not pass their physicals cannot apply for CDL licenses. Applicants who do pass may print or pick up the correct application form from the DMV. Applicants may then complete the form, and gather the necessary documents (as listed above) to demonstrate citizenship, age, residency and safe driving history.
Motorists should then take their CDL application forms and corresponding documents to the nearest DMV CDL office for processing. Additionally, CDL learners permit holders who are ready to test for the licenses can call the DMV and schedule testing appointments.
CDL Driving Test in Arizona
The Arizona CDL driving test is comprised of three sections, including vehicle inspections, basic controls and on-road skills testing. Motorists may choose to be tested by an agent at the DMV, directly, or by authorized third-party testers. In either case, applicants must test using vehicles in the classes covered by the licenses for which they are pursuing. For instance, applicants who wish to drive commercial passenger vehicles must test in commercial passenger vehicles, while those pursuing tanker truck classifications must test in tanker trucks. Note that motorists taking the CDL test at the DMV must provide their own testing vehicles.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Arizona
Arizona military CDL waivers allow members of the United States Armed Forces to leverage their military experience to make getting a CDL easier. To qualify for the CDL for veterans waiver program, applicants must:
- Be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, or have separated from such service within one year prior to application.
- Must operate – or have operated – military motor vehicles for at least two years as part of their service duties.
- Apply in person, at a DMV CDL
- Take all written knowledge tests associated with their desired license classes and types.
- Pay all applicable application and testing fees.
Qualifying applicants will be exempt from the road skills portion of their CDL licensing tests. Motorists seeking school bus and passenger vehicle endorsements are required to pass those portions of the road skills test in order to receive those endorsements – even with waivers.
CDL Medical Exams in Arizona
Since 2014, new DOT physical requirements have ruled that Arizona CDL license applicants must pass medical examinations by FMCSA-authorized providers in order to receive learners permits or commercial licenses. Applicants must bring both the long-form and short-form (i.e. Medical Card) versions of their DOT medical examiner reports when applying for a permit.
Note that applicants who fail the CDL medical exam are not eligible for commercial licenses. License holders must renew their CDL physical certificates every two years, and keep current results on file with the DMV in order to maintain their licenses.
Types of CDL Classes in Arizona
There are three classes of Arizona commercial drivers licenses for which applicants may apply. Motorists will need a Class A license to drive a combination vehicle (such as a tractor trailer) with a combined gross weight of more than 26,00 pounds. They will need a Class B CDL license to drive single vehicles with gross weight ratings of 26,001 or more. Motorists intending to drive hazmat or passenger vehicles carrying more than 16 total persons need a Class C CDL license.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Arizona
CDL endorsements are supplemental provisions added to commercial licenses indicating that motorists are trained and authorized to operate specialty vehicles within their license classes. Examples of standard Arizona endorsements include the below:
- Passenger Endorsement (P)
- Hazmat Endorsement (H)
- Double/Triple Trailer Endorsement (T)
- Tanker Endorsement (N)
- Combination Tank and Hazmat Endorsement (X)
- School Bus Endorsement (S)
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Arizona
Motorists intending to drive only within Arizona can apply for intrastate CDL licenses. Drivers intending to driver commercially across state lines, or through other states while traveling between two points within the state, must hold interstate CDL licenses.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Arizona
Total CDL license cost may vary, as it includes components such as the DOT-mandated physical exam and the possession or acquisition of certified documents. DMV CDL permit cost factors, however, are generally consistent, and are as follows:
- Class A or B license fees: $25
- Class C license fees: $12.50
- Passenger or school bus endorsements: $5