A Massachusetts CDL is required to operate a commercial vehicle on state roads. Drivers must be at least 18 years old to apply for a license. However, additional restrictions are placed on applicants younger than 21 years of age. A permit must be obtained before a full license can be issued. Currently, there are three types of CDL license credentials available in Massachusetts.

Commercial drivers license endorsements can be added to a truck driver license if specific skills are required. Endorsements allow drivers to operate particular types of commercial vehicles, or to carry certain cargo. However, drivers must meet all of the state’s age, testing and medical requirements before applying. Fees may vary between applications.

CDL Requirements in Massachusetts

All of the state’s CDL license requirements must be met before an application can be submitted. To apply for a commercial drivers license in Massachusetts, you must meet:

  • CDL age requirements: Applicants must be at least 18 years old to apply for a CDL license. Drivers under the age of 21 are not eligible to operate commercial vehicles across state lines.
  • CDL identification requirements: Drivers must present proof of citizenship or lawful presence, as well as a Social Security Number and proof of residency.
  • CDL medical requirements: Applicants must meet all state medical requirements and hold an approved medical waiver or certificate, if applicable.
  • General CDL requirements: In addition to the above, drivers must:
    • Hold a valid Class D license.
    • Be residents of the state.
    • Not hold a license in any other state.

How to Apply for a CDL Permit in Massachusetts

A CDL permit must be held for 14 days before a full license can be issued. If you meet all of the above CDL permit requirements, visit your local DMV office, and:

  1. Complete the CDL leaners permit application
  2. Provide proof of citizenship or lawful presence, such as a valid United States passport or a valid Permanent Resident card.
  3. Provide your Social Security Number.
  4. Provide proof of residency in MA.
  5. Pass any applicable written exams. CDL permit rules state that all applicants must pass the general written exam. However, depending on the type of permit for which you are applying, you may need to pass additional endorsement tests.
  6. Pay the $30 CDL permit application fee.

Keep in mind that MA drivers may choose between a REAL CDL ID card and a standard ID card. Additional identification documents may be required for a REAL ID card.

CDL Written Test in Massachusetts

The general CDL written test must be completed when applying for a permit. Depending on the type of license for which you are applying, you may be required to take multiple tests. Applicants must arrive two hours prior to the office closing. See below for a breakdown of the state’s available CDL tests:

  • The CDL General Knowledge Test consists of 50 questions and takes 60 minutes to complete; applicants must get at least 40 questions right to pass
  • The CDL Air Brakes Test consists of 25 questions and takes 25 minutes to complete; applicants must get at least 20 questions right to pass
  • The CDL Hazmat Test consists of 30 CDL permit test questions and takes 30 minutes to complete; applicants must get at least 24 questions right to pass
  • The CDL Tank, Passenger, Combination Vehicle, School Bus and Doubles/Triples Tests take 20 minutes to complete and consist of 20 questions, each; applicants must get at least 16 questions right to pass each test.

The state does not offer an online CDL test. All examinations must be completed in person, at a local DMV office.

Massachusetts CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests

A CDL practice test is not provided by the MA DMV. However, the commercial driver license manual may be used to study for the exams. While the manual is a useful CDL prep tool, it is recommended that drivers take additional training courses to learn all of the state’s rules and regulations.

Enrollment in a CDL school is not required; however, if you are applying for a hazardous materials endorsement, you must participate in an approved hazmat training course. It is the responsibility of your employer to provide this training. Similarly, first-aid CDL training is required for a school bus endorsement. First-aid training is conducted by a certified school bus instructor and takes two hours to complete.

How to Get a CDL License in Massachusetts

In order to apply for CDL credentials, drivers must hold their permits for 14 days with the correct endorsements. After which, the road test may be taken, and the CDL license fee paid. The easiest way to get your CDL is in person at the DMV. To apply successfully, follow the required steps, which include:

  1. Complete the road test CDL application You can get your CDL application form online.
  2. Complete the self-certification form. This form indicates what type of commerce you are transporting.
  3. Provide a valid medical certificate, if required.
  4. Submit your valid CDL permit.
  5. Provide your current CDL license if you are applying for additional endorsements.
  6. Take the road test, if applicable. A road test is not required if you are upgrading a Class D license to a Class C license.
  7. Pay the CDL license fee.

Note: Applicants younger than 21 years of age are not allowed to apply for the interstate license.

CDL Driving Test in Massachusetts

The state’s practical CDL test can be completed at any Registry of Motor Vehicle location. The following rules apply to all driving tests completed in MA:

  • CDL driving test sponsor requirements: Drivers are required to bring a qualified sponsor with them to the test center. Sponsors must:
    • Be at least 21 years old and hold a valid CDL license in the same category as the one for which the driver is applying.
    • Have held a CDL for at least one year.
    • Have a valid medical card, if applicable.
  • CDL driving test vehicle requirements: Vehicles must represent the category of CDL for which is being applied. In addition, they must:
    • Have a valid car registration and inspection sticker.
    • Pass the CDL safety test.
    • Have enough room next to the driver for the instructor.

A CDL driving test may be booked online before arriving to the testing center. Drivers must wait two weeks to retake a failed test.

How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in Massachusetts

In some cases, a Massachusetts military CDL may be applied for without taking the skills test. If a member of the military currently operates – or has operated – a similar vehicle within the past 12 months, he or she is exempt from taking the road skills test. However, written examinations are still required, and a permit must be obtained before a full license can be issued. If eligible, a CDL for veterans or active service members may be purchased by following the below steps:

  1. Complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver form
  2. Provide proof of military driver training and experience, such as a DA form 348
  3. Bring the above items to a local DMV office, fax them to 857-368-0820 or mail them to the following address:
MassDOT, RMV Division
Driver Licensing
P.O. Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205

NOTE: School Bus and Passenger endorsements for military CDLs cannot be transferred using the Military Skills Test waiver.

CDL Medical Exams in Massachusetts

The state’s new DOT physical requirements for commercial driver licenses are listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. If a driver does not meet the state’s CDL physical requirements, they must certify as exempt or hold an MA medical waiver. If required, a CDL medical exam must be performed by an approved DOT medical examiner. The results are valid for two years.

Types of CDL Classes in Massachusetts

A Class A license is one of three commercial licenses available to Massachusetts residents. Depending on the weight, size and functionality of the vehicle, you may be required to apply for a Class A, B or C license. A further outline of each license type includes:

  • Class A CDL – Applicants must pass the general written exam, combination endorsement written exam and road test. Drivers may apply for “H,” “N,” “P,” “T,” “X,” “L” and “S” endorsements with this license.
  • Class B CDL – Applicants must pass the general written exam and road test. Drivers may apply for “H,” “N,” “P,” “X,” “L” and “S” endorsements with this license.
  • Class C CDL – Applicants must pass the general written exam and road test, if applicable.

Types of CDL Endorsements in Massachusetts

CDL endorsements allow drivers to operate certain vehicles or carry specific cargo. The endorsement is represented by a letter that appears on the license, and includes the below:

  • Air Brakes Endorsement (A)
  • Passenger Endorsement (P)
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H)
  • Tanker Endorsement (N)
  • Tank and Hazmat Endorsement (X)
  • Doubles and Triples Endorsement (T)
  • School Bus Endorsement (S)

Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in Massachusetts

An MA intrastate CDL restricts drivers to operating commercial vehicles within the state. Intrastate CDLs are marked with a “K,” symbolizing the restriction placed on the license.

An interstate CDL allows drivers to operate vehicles across all 50 states. However, these licenses are only available to applicants older than the age of 20. If you have an interstate CDL, the “K” restriction will be absent.

Commercial Driving License Fees in Massachusetts

The CDL license cost covers the initial application fee, plus any applicable endorsement and testing fees. Class A, B and C licenses are valid for five years. After which, they must be renewed. Depending on how you apply, the CDL permit cost may include your endorsement fees. See below for the breakdown of the state’s CDL fees:

  • CDL permit (two years): $30
  • CDL endorsement (if purchased with a permit application): $10
  • CDL endorsement (if purchased after a permit application): $30
  • Additional CDL endorsement (if purchased alongside the first): $10
  • Road test: $35
  • Added or deleted restriction: $25
  • Out-of-state CDL conversion: $140
Last updated on Thursday, March 5 2020.