How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in Kansas
The Kansas CDL, or commercial drivers license, to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) is issued by the Department of Revenue (DOR) to interested applicants. A CDL license allows drivers to operate single and combination vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more and smaller vehicles carrying certain types of material. The commercial license application process begins for most KS drivers by enrolling in an approved education program, and gathering the necessary application material.
All Kansas CDL applicants are required to apply for – and receive – their commercial permits before they can be granted full operator’s licenses. The DOR requires that all applicants for commercial licenses also pass the general knowledge exam, along with any other necessary written exams, before moving on to complete the required driving skills exams. Drivers must choose which license class and endorsements for which they would like to apply before beginning the application process. All applications must be accompanied by the necessary processing fees in order to be filed successfully.
CDL Requirements in Kansas
Which CDL license requirements an applicant for a commercial license must meet depend on the driver’s history and type of license being requested. Most CDL requirements must be met when the driver submits his or her initial application for the commercial permit. The basic commercial license requirements in Kansas include:
- Providing acceptable proof of identity (typically a KS driver’s license).
- Providing acceptable proof of residence in Kansas.
- Proof of completing a “Truckers Against Trafficking” course.
- Passing a vision examination.
- Passing all applicable written examinations.
- Passing the driving skills examination, after receiving the permit.
- Paying the necessary application fees.
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Kansas
All Kansas commercial drivers must apply for the CDL permit, commonly referred to as a CLP, before they can move forward with the driving exams and receive their full operator’s licenses. In most cases, drivers must hold the CDL learners permit for at least two weeks before scheduling an appointment for the final driving exam at a DOR agency.
The reason drivers are required to get a permit before a license is because it gives them the legal position they need to practice driving a vehicle in the class in which they plan to operate, under the supervision of an experienced, licensed commercial driver.
KS drivers can meet CDL permit requirements by submitting all of the necessary application material previously mentioned to the DOR when requesting the permit. At the time of submission, the driver will be asked to take the vision and knowledge test(s). Drivers must also pay the permit fee when submitting the application.
CDL Written Test in Kansas
Every commercial driver in Kansas must pass the CDL general knowledge test before he or she can move forward with the commercial licensing process. Other CDL written test requirements apply to drivers requesting certain endorsements on the permit and license. In addition to the general exam, drivers can sign up to take any of the following written tests in Kansas:
- The air brakes test, if your vehicle has air brakes (including air over hydraulic brakes)
- The combination vehicles test, required to drive combination vehicles
- The hazardous materials test, needed to transport hazardous materials
- The passenger transport test, for bus driver applicants
- The tanker test, needed if transporting any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank or tanks
- The doubles/triples test, required if you want to pull double or triple trailers
- The school bus test, for school bus driver applicants
Kansas CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
All drivers are required to complete at least a small amount of CDL school to qualify for a CLP and a full operator’s license. Since 2018, CDL training in Kansas must include a short course entitled “Truckers Against Trafficking” that discusses human trafficking and helps drivers learn about signs they can use to recognize possible traffickers or trafficking victims on the road.
This course can be taken online at the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) website before submitting the application. Once completed, the driver must print out the certificate of completion to provide with his or her application package.
Kansas drivers can choose to enroll in a CDL prep school to learn more about driving techniques, and to gain experience driving CMVs under the supervision of qualified instructors. Several private schools around the state provide training courses in general trucking and specialized topics to help drivers prepare for the state exams.
How to Get a CDL License in Kansas
How to get a CDL after a driver has received his or her CLP is relatively simple in Kansas. Drivers can submit the CDL application to the DOR after waiting the necessary amount of time and gaining adequate experience operating vehicles of the license class for which he or she will be receiving a license.
Once the driver is confident in his or her mastery of the CMVs in his or her license class, he or she can schedule a driving skills exam at a local DOR agency. When the driver passes all the necessary skills exams, he or she can take the certificate of completion to a DOR agency when the time comes to apply for CDL credentials in the state.
CDL Driving Test in Kansas
All drivers must pass the general CDL test, and some drivers may have to take additional skills tests for certain license classes and endorsements. In most Kansas counties, the CDL driving test must be scheduled in advance, and the driver must provide his or her own vehicle of the necessary class for testing. KA drivers must pass all parts of the driving exam during the same appointment in order to pass. The three main parts of the driving test are:
- The pre-trip inspection.
- The basic vehicle control skills test.
- The road driving test.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Kansas
The DOR can issue a military CDL to qualified Kansas drivers who were recently – or currently are – in the military, allowing them to waive the final skills-based driving exam. To be eligible for a CDL for veterans and active duty military personnel, the driver must be able to demonstrate adequate experience in the military operating CMVs or similar vehicles for an extended period of time. They should also be able to provide evidence of having a clean driving record, and no more than one license in the last two years.
CDL Medical Exams in Kansas
Whether a driver needs to complete a CDL medical exam in Kansas depends on the type of license for which the driver is applying, and where the driver expects to travel in the vehicle, once licensed. A CDL physical from a qualified doctor is required by most intrastate drivers and all non-excepted interstate drivers in Kansas.
Some drivers may qualify to complete the Kansas Commercial Driver’s License Holder – Medical Self Certification form. Unless special conditions apply, only medical certificates completed in the last two years can be accepted by the DOR.
Types of CDL Classes in Kansas
In Kansas, drivers can apply for three classes of commercial licenses: a Class A license, Class B license or Class C license. Class A licenses provide the most options to drivers, allowing for the operation of any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds (11,794 kilograms), such as tractor-semi-trailers and tank vehicles.
The Class B CDL is used by drivers of single vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. The Class C CDL is required to drive all other types of CMVs, along with passenger vehicles and transporters of hazardous material.
Types of CDL Endorsements in Kansas
A number of CDL endorsements can be applied for by commercial drivers in Kansas. All endorsements require that the driver meet additional requirements when submitting his or her license application. Some, like the hazmat endorsement, require an in-depth background check of the driver to be received. The following endorsements are available in Kansas:
- T Endorsement for double/triple trailers
- P Endorsement for passenger vehicles
- N Endorsement for tank vehicles
- H Endorsement for hazardous materials
- X Endorsement for combination of tank vehicle and hazardous materials endorsements
- S Endorsement for school buses
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Kansas
Kansas drivers must choose between an intrastate and interstate CDL when requesting a commercial license from the DOR. An intrastate CDL restricts drivers to operating within state borders, and with products or people originating in Kansas. Holders of interstate licenses can, instead, travel within and outside of Kansas with goods or people from anywhere.
Commercial Driving License Fees in Kansas
The CDL permit cost and license fees vary, depending on what type of license the driver is requesting. The total CDL license cost will be a combination of the following fees:
- CDL permits: $13
- CDL license (including mandatory photo fee): $26
- CDL license with motorcycle designation: $35
- CDL endorsements: $10
- CDL skills test: $15
- CDL skills retest: $10
Kansas CDL Forms
- CDL Military Skills Waiver Certification Form
- Kansas Commercial Drivers License Holder Medical Self Certification
Note: DMV forms change regularly. The forms provided above are current based on the date of writing.
- Classes of License and Commercial Learners Permits (CLP) from KS.gov
- Kansas Military CDL Skills Test Waiver Program from Kansas Military CDL Skills Test Waiver Program
- Commercial Drivers License (CDL) from Kansas Military CDL Skills Test Waiver Program