Individuals who possess a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) are permitted to drive buses, semi trucks, and other commercial vehicles. Individuals who want to operate a vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds, carrying over 15 people, classified as school buses, or transporting hazardous materials must have a CDL. Because of this, having a CDL opens up numerous job opportunities. However, Minnesota residents must take written and driving tests in order to obtain the Minnesota CDL. Further, individuals must obtain endorsements for the specific types of vehicles that they wish to drive, including school buses and vehicles that transport hazardous materials. The following article will offer a comprehensive list of requirements and considerations for the Minnesota CDL licensing process.
Minnesota CDL Requirements
The first prerequisite for obtaining a CDL in Minnesota is to have a good driving record. Drivers who don’t may have to wait or may never be able to sit for the exam. Additionally, the state requires that individuals speak/read English well enough to read road signs.
In order to obtain a CDL, a driver must be at least 16. However, drivers under 21 must understand that additional constraints apply to them. According to federal transportation regulations, CDL drivers under the age of 21 may not drive on interstates. Further, to obtain a hazardous materials endorsement (often referred to as a hazmat license or endorsement), a driver must be 21 and pass a background check. Minnesota does not allow drivers under the age of 18 to operate school buses.
Drivers under the age of 18 are required to show proof of Minnesota CDL license training, or training from another state, in order to sit for the CDL exam. While individuals over the age if 18 do not have to prove that they have been through any training, getting formal training is recommended and improves the likelihood that the driver will pass the exam.
The final requirement in the Minnesota CDL licensing process is to take a written and practical exam both for the general CDL and for any endorsements that the driver needs to obtain. Individuals can study for the written test by obtaining a copy of the CDL/endorsement driver’s manual either from a local Driver and Vehicle Services branch or online at the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services website.
Drivers take their written and practical exams at a Driver and Vehicle Services location. In addition to taking the CDL exam, Minnesota residents must bring proof of identity, including driver’s licenses, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. Two forms are required when applying for the CDL.
In addition to the test and proof of identity, new federal requirements now CDL drivers to complete a medical self-certification from their physician that states they are fit to operate a commercial vehicle. Individuals must complete and pass a physical every 2 years to retain their licenses.
Minnesota CDL License Cost
Fortunately, the fees for obtaining a CDL license in Minnesota are relatively small. Minnesota offers three types of CDL licenses – Class A, B, and C. Individuals can contact a potential employer to learn more about the license required for the jobs they are hoping to obtain. However, the fees differ for each class. Individuals seeking a Class A license must pay $43 ($23 for those under 21); those testing for a Class B license must pay $35; the cost of a Class C license is $28.
In addition to these base fees, individuals must pay $2.50 to take the exam for each endorsement that they wish to apply to their licenses. Individuals who already have a CDL license and need to add endorsements must pay the $2.50 examination fee as well as a duplicate license fee of $8 to have the endorsements added to the current license.
Individuals who wish to drive a school bus must add $4 to the cost, regardless of whether they are obtaining their license for the first time or renewing.
Obtaining a CDL license in Minnesota is not difficult for those with good driving records, a clean bill of health, and the ability to pass a written and practical test. However, formal training can help CDL seekers save money by being more successful the first time around.