How to Get a CDL License in Florida
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 to increase over the next decade. If you’re considering becoming a professional truck driver or another transportation professional in Florida, you must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and meet state requirements. The following outlines the steps you’ll need to take to get a Florida CDL license.
Step 1: Prerequisites & Education
To obtain a CDL, you must be at least 18, pass the vision test, and hold a valid operator’s License. You’ll also need to obtain a medical physical and a federal Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card 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 guidelines in terms of the 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 must 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 in English, Spanish, or Haitian Creole. You can download the full CDL handbook right from the DHSMV website. For example, Class A CDLs require 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 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 get 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. The state keeps an active list of participating third-party skills sites for private schools. Ensure 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 driver’s license fees on its website. Generally, 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, additional fees are 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 given a renewal notice when it’s time for renewal, and you can renew relatively painlessly by using the department’s online renewal form.
To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Florida, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid Florida driver’s license. They must also meet specific medical requirements, complete the necessary paperwork, pass the vision exam, take a written knowledge test, and complete a pre-trip inspection and a road test. Additionally, applicants must pass the skills tests for each commercial vehicle class they wish to drive: Class A, B or C. After meeting these requirements, applicants will become eligible for a CDL license with endorsements as needed for their particular type of job.
Applicants will need to pay a CDL $75.00 license fee, and there may also be additional fees depending on what endorsements are required. It is important to note that those wishing to drive any commercial vehicle must renew their CDL license every four years. To do this, they will need to pay a fee of $75.00 and complete any additional requirements that may be necessary.
A CDL license issued in Florida is valid for four years. After that time, it must be renewed by paying a fee and completing any additional requirements. This can be done online or in person at a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office.
A CDL license in Florida allows the holder to operate all types of commercial vehicles, including but not limited to trucks, buses, and tanker trucks. The type of vehicle that can be driven will depend on the class of license held. Class A licenses allow for the operation of combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Class B licenses allow single and combination vehicles with a GCWR of less than 26,001 pounds and a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds. Class C licenses are valid for vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.
To pass the CDL test in Florida, applicants must obtain a score of 80% or higher. All test components, including the written knowledge exam and pre-trip inspection, must be completed. If an applicant fails to meet this requirement, they must retake all parts of the tests before they can receive their license.
Specific endorsements may be required for your CDL license in Florida depending on the type of vehicle you plan to operate. These include the Tanker Endorsement (N), Double/Triple Trailers Endorsement (T), Passenger Endorsement (P), and Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H). If you do not have these endorsements, you cannot legally operate the vehicle. Additionally, specific jobs may require additional endorsements beyond those mentioned above.
The primary difference between a Class A, B, and C CDL license in Florida is the type of vehicle that can be operated. Class A licenses allow for the operation of combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. Class B licenses allow for single and combination vehicles with a GCWR of less than 26,001 pounds and a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds. Class C licenses are valid for vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.
In Florida, several restrictions apply to CDL license holders. This includes being 18 years or older, having a valid medical certification, not using drugs or alcohol while operating a commercial vehicle, and adhering to all applicable laws and regulations. Additionally, some vehicles require special endorsements to be legally operated, such as tankers and buses.
To obtain a CDL license in Florida, applicants must take and pass the written knowledge exam, pre-trip inspection, skills test, and road test. Depending on the type of vehicle you plan to operate, additional tests, such as the HazMat endorsement, may be required.
When taking your CDL test in Florida, applicants must bring their valid driver's license, proof of insurance, and a valid medical certification card. Additional documents may be required if a special endorsement is needed, such as the HazMat endorsement.
In the state of Florida, it is possible to obtain a CDL license after being convicted of a DUI. However, applicants must meet specific criteria to be considered for licensure. This includes completing an approved alcohol or drug rehabilitation program and providing proof of completion to the DMV. Additionally, applicants may be subject to additional tests or restrictions depending on the severity of the DUI.