Residents of Massachusetts who are interested in a commercial driving career will need to obtain a special commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Registry of Motor Vehicles. Commercial driver’s licenses are necessary when drivers legally operate tank vehicles, school buses, passenger vehicles, trucks, and vehicles that carry HazMat materials. Possessing a CDL license opens many doors for the multitude of career opportunities available in for commercial driving. Therefore, you are encouraged to read on to find a step-by-step easy guide for obtaining a Massachusetts CDL license.
Massachusetts CDL License Requirements
As always, the first area of concern before applying for the license is making sure you meet all of the basic CDL license requirements established by the state. In Massachusetts, applicants must already hold a valid driver’s license from the state. If you do not have a Massachusetts driver’s license, you will need to bring proof of your date of birth, signature, and place of residence. Social Security cards, passports, and birth certificates are all considered proper proof by the RMV clerks. For in-state transportation, drivers must be at least 18 years of age, but drivers need to be 21 to apply for transportation out of state. To be eligible, applicants must also possess a clean driving record.
In addition, federal regulations require that CDL drivers pass a physical examination and provide proof on a Medical Report form from a qualified physician. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that all commercial drivers be deemed physically fit for operating these large vehicles safely and effectively. Upon application, you will need to provide a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certificate from your health care providers. If you are applying for a hazardous materials endorsement, you will also need to submit to a thorough background check by the Transportation Security Administration and give their fingerprints for the database.
Massachusetts CDL License Training
The first step to obtaining a CDL license is passing a knowledge written test at a local Massachusetts RMV office. You should first access the Massachusetts CDL manual, which can easily be located on the Massachusetts RMV website. Read this manual from cover to cover to prepare for the knowledge portion of the test. There is also the possibility to supplement learning with free online practice tests and study guides through any search engine. If applying for additional endorsements, make sure you carefully study the sections of the manual pertaining to these specialized driving procedures. Once you feel you are prepared, go to a local RMV office and complete the written test. If you pass, you will receive your Massachusetts CDL permit.
Although it is not required by the state or federal government, it is highly recommended that you enroll in a training program to gain valuable hands-on experience operating an actual commercial motor vehicle on the road. Since training can be expensive, it is typically suggested that new CDL drivers receive employer-based or government training. School bus drivers should inquire about training at a local school district, while others can contact corporations and companies. Truck driving schools are also quite common too, so check with the Professional Truck Driver Institute to find a certified program.
Massachusetts CDL License Process
Once you have completed a training program or gained significant road experience, call the RMV phone center to set up an appointment for a road test. When you arrive to take your road test, make sure you bring along your application, valid permit, driver’s license, DOT medical certificate, and a sponsor with a current CDL license. The road test, given by a Massachusetts RMV inspector, consists of three main sections. During the vehicle inspection component, you will need to guide the inspector through a detailed inspection tour of the vehicle that meets requirements for the CDL you are going to obtain. Then, you will complete a basic control driving test on a closed course. Finally, you will need to successfully complete an on-the-road driving test with inspector in the vehicle.
If you pass the road test, the RMV examiner will sign and stamp your permit. You will then need to bring the permit and license fees for the class classification and endorsements to the RMV. The Massachusetts CDL license cost is $75 for a five-year Class A, B, or C license. CDL endorsements are an additional $30. If you do not pass, do not give up and reapply to take the road test before the expiration date on your permit.