In order to operate a commercial vehicle, you must have a Texas CDL license. Drivers have three different classes of the commercial drivers licenses to choose from, in addition to endorsements.

Drivers must designate whether they are applying for a TX commercial driving license that allows them to engage in interstate (between states) or intrastate (within a state) commerce.

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Classes of CDL Licenses

There are three TX CDL license classes:

  • Class A commercial drivers license – Allows operators to drive a combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, as long as the GVWR of the vehicle towed is more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B commercial driving license – Allows operators to drive a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more or any such vehicle that tows another with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less.
  • Class C commercial drivers license – Allows operators to drive any single vehicle or a combination that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (driver included) or enough hazardous materials to warrant a placard.

CDL Endorsements

The following list indicates the endorsements a driver can add to their license to drive commercially and the additional exams required to obtain them:

  • T endorsement for double and triple trailer: An extra knowledge test
  • N endorsement for tank vehicles: An extra knowledge test
  • H endorsement for hazardous materials:An extra knowledge test
  • P endorsement for passengers: An added knowledge and road skills test
  • S endorsement for school buses: An added knowledge and road skills test

Standard CDL Exams

To get a CDL learner license and then full commercial driving license in Texas, drivers must pass a series of tests, including:

  • A written knowledge exam
  • A vision test
  • A road skills test

In addition to reviewing the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver’s Handbook, CDL drivers ed and CDL practice tests are also available to further your studies.

How to Get a CDL License in Texas

Follow the below steps to obtain a commercial driving license:

  • Review the Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver’s Handbook.
  • Take a CDL practice test.
  • Visit a local driver license office.
  • Provide the necessary documentation.
  • Proof of ID primary documents:
    • Drivers license
    • Passport
  • Secondary documents:
    • Birth certificate (original or certified copy)
    • Court order showing name and date of birth and indicating a name or gender change from a US entity (original or certified copy)
  • Supporting documents:
    • Social Security card
    • W-2 form
  • Drivers must bring one primary identity document and two secondary identity documents or one secondary and two supporting identity documents.
  • Two proofs of residency:
    • Valid voter registration card
    • Car registration certificate
  • One proof of Social Security Number:
    • Social Security card
    • Health insurance card
  • One proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence:
    • Passport
    • Birth certificate (original or certified copy)
    • Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) (non-U.S. citizens)
    • Foreign passport with attached temporary I-551 (non-U.S. citizens)
  • For more on which documents are secondary and primary, visit this link.
  • Complete the CDL Application
  • Depending on the class of your CDL application, you may be asked to present a medical examiner certificate as well.
  • If from a foreign jurisdiction outside of Canada or Mexico, you must meet the nonresident commercial requirements
  • Show proof of vehicle registration and commercial car insurance
  • Fill out the Supplement Application Texas Commercial Driver License Certifications and Record of CDL Examination (CDL-1) form.
  • Complete one of the following applications, depending on whether you will be driving interstate or intrastate:
  • Have your picture and fingerprint taken; provide signature.
  • Pass the vision test.
  • Take the written knowledge exam and road skills test:
    • You must provide the commercial vehicle for the test, and it must apply to the class of CDL license you are applying for.
  • Pay the necessary fee with cash, a check, money order or a credit card:
    • If you are between 18 and 84: $61
    • If you are 85 or older: $26
    • If you are a non-resident: $121
    • If you are registered under Chapter 62 CCP: $21

DMV.com Note: Commercial vehicle operators must be at least 18 years of age. To obtain an interstate CDL license in Texas, a driver must be 21.

Not all driver license offices accommodate CDL road tests. Drivers who want to obtain a CDL learner license only need to pass the written knowledge exam before they get the CDL permit and can practice operating a commercial vehicle.

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Last updated on Friday, April 27 2018.

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