Commercial licensing is complicated. Applying for a CDL can be easy with our TN guide to your CDL.

Basic Requirements For A Commercial Driver’s Permit/License

Steps To Apply For A CDL Permit/License

  1. You must meet the requirements for a Tennessee driver’s license.
  2. You need to apply for Permit for Class A, B and C vehicles.
  3. For obtaining a Learner’s Permit or License’ you need to visit a local driver’s license station. For more information see Instruction Permit section below.
  4. Those driving school buses need to fill out a 2-C form.
  5. Pass the CDL knowledge exams. See the CDL Manual for the required information. The exam can be taken at any driver’s license station.
  6. Pass vision screening test.
  7. Attend and then provide proof that you have taken a Commercial driver’s education program specifically for commercial motor vehicles.
  8. Take road test at some local driver’s license station by making prior appointments. Those that allow road test are Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Maury, Putnam, Shelby, and Washington counties. For more information by call Customer Care Call Center toll-free at (866) 849-3548 Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm Central Standard time.
  9. Pay license and endorsement fees.

Instruction Permit

In order to be eligible for a Tennessee CDL, you must first obtain a CDL instruction permit. For that you need to show proof of legal presence and US residency. You also need to pay the $2.50 endorsement fee. Lastly, pass the CDL general knowledge exam and vision screening test. Tennessee Instruction Permits expire in 1 year.


A Tennessee Commercial Driver’s License for Permit A cost is $14.00 and this is valid for a year; Permit B cost is $13.00 and this is valid for a year; the general Class A CDL cost is $46.00 and this is based on five years and could be valid from between three to seven years; Class B and Class C licenses cost is $41.00 and this is based on five years and could be valid from between three to seven years.

CDL Endorsements

The following is a list of endorsements you can get on your CDL:

  • Hazardous Material (Class H).
  • Tank Vehicles (Class N).
  • Passenger-Carrying Vehicle (Class P).
  • School Bus (Class S).
  • Towing a Double or Triple Trailer (Class T).

Federal Guidelines For Interstate Drivers

The following is a list of federal requirements for interstate drivers.


Last updated on Tuesday, February 20 2018.

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