According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, professional truck driving remains one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States with a 21% projected increase over the next decade. If you’re considering becoming a professional truck driver or other transportation professional in Florida, you’ll need to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) and meet state requirements. The following outlines the steps you’ll need to take in order to get a Florida CDL license.
Step 1: Prerequisites & Education
In order to obtain a CDL, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, pass the vision test and hold a valid Operators License. You’ll also need to obtain a medical physical and a federal Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card in order to get behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.
There are three types of CDLs in Florida: Class A, Class B and Class C. Each has its own guidelines in terms of total weight limit. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website outlines the specific requirements for each Class. Once you determine which Class you’ll be applying to, you’ll then need to visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) website for a complete CDL handbook.
Each Class requires a specific exam, which may be given in English, Spanish or Haitian Creole. You can download the full CDL handbook right from the DHSMV website. For example, Class A CDLs require the following: Testing on general knowledge and a combinations vehicle test, a basic skills test, air brakes, pre-trip, CDL road test and additional testing for any endorsements you may wish to add.
Step 2: Training
Once you meet the minimum requirements and pass the oral exam, you’ll be issued a CDL permit. The DHSMV offers a detailed CDL permit brochure outlining your next steps and options for completing additional requirements.
Florida CDL license training may be obtained via several avenues. Many private CDL schools exist to help you obtain the proper skills and practical knowledge you need to pass the state testing requirements. The state offers three official testing locations in Marianna, Miami-Coral Reef and Sarasota. For private schools, the state keeps an active list of participating third-party skills sites. Make sure the site you use adheres to all federal and state regulations regarding licensing.
Step 3: Licensing & Costs
Florida CDL license cost will vary depending on the type of license and endorsements you receive, but the DHSMV provides a complete breakdown of all drivers license fees on its website. In general, it costs $75 for a new or renewed CDL license in Florida. Each endorsement costs $7. If you fail a skills test or need to retake a test, there are additional fees outlined on the DHSMV website. Once you pass all the applicable testing and pay the appropriate fees, you will be issued a CDL license. You’ll be issued a renewal notice when it’s time for renewal, and you can renew relatively painlessly by using the department’s online renewal form.