How to Obtain a CDL License in California
If you’re ready to make a career change and become a truck driver, here’s what you need to do to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in California.
How to Obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
Before you can apply for a CDL, you must attend a truck driving school and obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
CLP applicants must have a standard California noncommercial Class C driver license in order to begin the process. Once you’ve completed the online CDL application, you’ll need to visit a DMV office in order to:
- Submit a 10 Year History Record Check
- Submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- Provide proof of your social security number (SSN)
- Verify your identity with an acceptable identity document
- Present acceptable residency documents
- Pay the nonrefundable application fee
- Submit fingerprints
- Pass a vision exam
- Have your photo taken
- Pass the knowledge test(s)
View DMV requirements for applying for a CLP here.
How to Apply for a Commercial Driver’s License (CLD)
Once you’ve held a CLP for 14 days, you can apply to take the skills test by scheduling an appointment online. According to the DMV website, you may also call 1-800-777-0133 during the regular business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri., and between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed., excluding holidays) to make an appointment.
You are required to bring the type of vehicle you want to drive (in this case, a long-haul truck). During the skills test, you’ll have to demonstrate knowledge of a vehicle inspection, basic control skills and driving. Once you pass the skills test, you will receive an interim CDL valid for 60 days.