How to Get a Commercial Drivers License in New Jersey
Residents must hold their New Jersey CDL credentials when operating commercial vehicles on public roads. Not all drivers are eligible for a CDL license, though, and must meet the state’s age and licensing requirements before applying. There are three CDL classes; each class refers to a vehicle’s weight and function. Depending on the class of license, you may be required to apply for one or more endorsements.
Commercial drivers license credentials are only available to drivers who pass the state’s required tests. Written and practical tests are run by the NJ DMV, and cover multiple topics. Test fees and licensing costs vary. Once all tests have been passed and fees paid, you can begin your journey of driving professionally on New Jersey state roads and highways.
CDL Requirements in New Jersey
Drivers must meet all of the state’s CDL license requirements to qualify for a license. Your age and vehicle type may restrict you to a particular class of license, however. The following requirements apply to all CDL applicants:
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must be at least 21 years of age to apply for an interstate CDL
- You must be physically fit and submit a medical certificate, if applicable
- You must hold a basic Class D New Jersey drivers license
- You must have 20/40 vision in both eyes – with or without the aid of glasses
- You must be able to recognize red, green and amber colors
- You must pass all of the required knowledge tests and skills tests
- You must be a resident of the state
How to Apply for a CDL Permit in New Jersey
A CDL permit must be applied for in person, at the DMV. CDL learners permit applications are processed once an examination test receipt has been purchased. Follow the below steps to apply for a commercial learners permit, or CLP, in New Jersey:
- Visit your local DMV and purchase a CLP test receipt for all applicable examinations; you must present the following:
- Proof of citizenship or lawful presence
- Proof of your identity, such as a passport
- Proof of residency in two form
- Proof of your Social Security Number
- Visit a driving test center and pass all applicable written examinations
- Return to the DMV and submit the below:
- A completed CDL Holder Self-Certification form and medical certificate, if applicable
- Your validated CDL permit test receipt
After getting CDL permit credentials, drivers may practice driving on public roads, if accompanied by a licensed adult. CDL permit rules require drivers to wait 14 days before scheduling a skills test.
CDL Written Test in New Jersey
A CDL written test must be taken at one of the state’s approved testing centers. Drivers can search online for CDL test locations. Appointments are not mandatory; however, applicants must arrive an hour before the center is set to close to complete their obligations.
The CDL general knowledge test must be taken by all drivers. Additional tests are required for particular endorsements, though. Drivers must pass the general knowledge test before taking any endorsement test. The following tests are available to New Jersey residents:
- General Knowledge Test
- Double and Triple Trailer Test
- Passenger Transport Test
- Tanker Test
- Hazardous Materials Test
- Air Brakes Test
CDL written tests are provided on a computer and offered in both Spanish and English. Note that the hazmat endorsement test is only available in English. The number of CDL permit test questions ranges from 50 to 185, depending on the test being taken. The passing grade for most tests is 80 percent, and the results are valid for one year. If you fail a test, you may retake it after seven days. Tests retaken within 180 days of purchasing the receipt do not incur an additional fee.
New Jersey CDL Training Schools & Practice Tests
CDL practice test questions are available in the state’s CDL book. The manual can be used for CDL prep, and to help drivers study for both written and practical exams. While CDL school is not always mandatory, completing a CDL training course gives drivers the opportunity to practice and learn safer driving habits. Keep in mind that hazmat and school bus endorsements require official training through employers.
How to Get a CDL License in New Jersey
Drivers must apply for CDL licensure in person, at an NJ DMV office. Appointments cannot be made on the phone, and must be requested in person, at a driving testing center. The CDL application fee is included in the permit cost. After booking an appointment, bring the following items with you to the testing center:
- The vehicle for which you are being licensed; you must provide the below:
- A valid test receipt
- Your valid CDL permit
- A licensed driver qualified to operate the same vehicle for which you are being tested
After passing the road test, you may get your CDL by bringing the permit and authorization slip to the DMV.
CDL Driving Test in New Jersey
The practical CDL test must be taken at a NJ test center. The DMV does not provide vehicles for road tests, and it must be clear of all cargo before arriving. The CDL driving test is comprised of three sections:
- Basic skills
- Road skills
Drivers must complete each CDL driving test section in the order listed above. If you fail one of the sections, you must wait two weeks before retaking it. You may be asked to wait six months to retake the test if you fail it several times. In some cases, a driver can bank test scores to avoid retaking sections he or she has already passed. Further restrictions apply.
How to Get a CDL as a Military Member in New Jersey
A New Jersey military CDL waiver may be used to skip the skills test usually required for a CDL application. However, not all military personnel are eligible. Applicants must:
- Be active, reserve or discharged members of the military.
- Have a valid New Jersey drivers license.
- Have a current or expired military CDL.
- Be – or have been – employed in a position operating a vehicle equivalent to a commercial vehicle.
A CDL for veterans may be applied for using a waiver if the applicant has been discharged for less than one year, and meets the above requirements. To apply for a military CDL with a waiver, applicants must:
- Apply for a permit, as outlined above.
- Submit the completed skills waiver form.
- Pay the licensing fee.
Although the skills tests are waived, drivers must complete all applicable written and vision tests. Drivers using a military CDL skills waiver can only apply for a Class A or B license. Unlike a standard license, applicants with a military waiver will receive their full licenses, once the written tests have been passed.
CDL Medical Exams in New Jersey
New DOT physical requirements must be met be all applicants. A CDL physical is required if you self-certify as “non-excepted.” CDL medical exams must be completed by certified DOT medical examiners, and a certificate submitted with each CDL application.
Types of CDL Classes in New Jersey
There are three classes of commercial licenses in New Jersey: Classes A, B and C. The Class A license can be used to operate a Class B or C vehicle. However, a Class C CDL may only be used to operate vehicles in its own class. The Class B CDL may be used to operate Class C vehicles. Each class is defined by the weight of the vehicle and its function.
Types of CDL Endorsements in New Jersey
There are five main CDL endorsements available to eligible drivers in NJ. Depending on the type of commerce being transported, you may be required to apply for one or more of the following endorsements:
- H – Hazmat Endorsement
- P – Passenger Endorsement
- T – Double/Triple Trailers Endorsement
- N – Tanker Endorsement
- S – School Bus Endorsement
School bus, passenger and hazmat endorsements require additional background checks and certifications.
Interstate vs. Intrastate Commercial Drivers Licenses in New Jersey
An intrastate CDL is required to operate commercial vehicles within New Jersey, and cannot be used to operate outside of state lines. An interstate CDL must be obtained to operate outside of New Jersey, and across international borders.
Commercial Driving License Fees in New Jersey
The CDL license cost does not include the endorsement fee. See below for a breakdown of the state’s fees:
- The CDL permit cost is $125
- The CDL license cost is $42
- The CDL endorsement cost is $2 per endorsement