How to Get a Michigan CDL License

In the state of Michigan commercial driver licenses are required for anyone who intends to operate a vehicle over 26,001 lbs., tows a trailer over 10,001 lbs., transports more than 16 people, or carries large quantities of hazardous materials. Issuance of CDL are handled by the Michigan Department of State. In order to obtain a Michigan CDL, it is first necessary to provide proof of citizenship and residency. Next is a written test, which grants a permit to practice commercial driving in state. Michigan licenses third-party operations to administer driving skills test. Upon passing of the driving skills test, applicants must pay a fee to receive their CDL.

Step 1:
Commercial driver licenses are provided by the Secretary of State’s office. For a standard CDL applicants must provide a valid social security number. If applicants are seeking to add a hazardous materials endorsement to their CDL, they must also gain approval through the Transportation Security Administration background and fingerprint check approval. Additionally, they must show proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence. Applicants must also meet the eligibility requirements which can be found here:,1607,7-127-1627_8669_53324-213069–,00.html.

Step 2:
Applicants will need to study the “Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual” before taking the written test. The manual covers information for Class A, B, and C commercial licenses. It also provides information for endorsements for hazardous materials, double/triple trailers, tanker vehicles, passenger vehicles, and school buses. Applicants will need to determine which class CDL they need and what endorsements they need to add. The manual for the written test is divided into thirteen sections and provides information on which sections are needed for each class of CDL and endorsements.
You can find the “Michigan Commercial Driver License Manual” here:,1607,7-127-1627_11461_11794-105837–,00.html

Step 3:
Applicants will need to take the written portion of the CDL test at the office of the Michigan Secretary of State. Written tests for Class A, B, and C CDL contain fifty questions based on information in the manual. Class A license tests include an additional twenty question combination vehicle test. School Bus, double trailer, passenger, and tank vehicles endorsements each have an additional twenty question test. The hazardous materials endorsement has an additional thirty question test. Upon passing the written portion of the test, applicants will receive a temporary commercial driver permit.

Step 4:
Prior to attempting the skills test, applicants may wish to enroll in a commercial driver training school. Michigan CDL license training is administered by over 35 accredited schools dedicated to commercial driving instruction. A complete list of these schools can be found on the Michigan Department of State website.

Step 5:
After completing training, applicants will need to take the CDL skills test. In Michigan, CDL skills tests are administered by third-party testing sites. The CDL skills test in Michigan includes three parts. First, a vehicle inspection test to make sure drivers have the ability to accurately perform a vehicle safety check. A Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid is offered at the end of the CDL manual. This aid may be used during the test. The second part of the skills test is a basic controls skills test. The final part of the skills test is a driving test. These tests are given consecutively and each step must be passed before moving on to the next. If a tester fails they must wait one day before attempting the skills test again. Applicants need to provide an empty vehicle with a GVWR representative of the style they plan to drive. Seat belts are required for the driver and examiner. Applicants applying for the passenger endorsement must pass skills tests in a bus-type vehicle with a seating capacity of 16 or more passengers, including the driver. Applicants applying for the school bus endorsement must pass skills tests in a school bus-type vehicle with a seating capacity of 16 or more passengers, including the driver. Many employers and CDL schools will provide an empty vehicle for the skills test.

Step 6:
After passing the skills test, applicants must return to the Michigan Secretary of State office to pay the required CDL fees. The Michigan CDL license cost for original and renewal CDL are $25.00 each. Each endorsement added to the CDL is an addition $5.00.

Michigan Department of State