Step 1

Get a copy of the current North Dakota Department of Transportation’s (NDDOT) Commercial Driver’s License Guide. The digital version can be downloaded from the NDDOT Website, and the hardcopy can be picked up from any Motor Vehicle location in the state.

Step 2

Obtain a permit by passing an eye exam and a CDL written test.

If you don’t have a regular driver’s license, you must pass a Rules of the Road written exam before you’re allowed to take the CDL test. The CDL written test costs $5.

If you pass, you’ll be issued a permit which costs $15.

It’s good for six months but can only be renewed once in a two-year period.

The permit allows you to operate a commercial vehicle provided there’s a driver riding with you who holds the proper commercial license for the type of vehicle you’re driving.

Step 3

Practice the skills on which you will be tested.

Practice navigating turns in tight spaces and backing up between barriers. This will prepare you for the test of your basic ability to control the vehicle.

Prepare for the road test by practicing on as many different road conditions as possible. Travel in both urban and suburban areas; on streets and on highways. Get a feel for what it takes to successfully handle your vehicle both when going up a hill and down the other side.

Step 4

Undergo a physical examination for a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certificate.

Step 5

To finally obtain your CDL you’ll have to pass a road test. Tests are given by appointment only. No exception.

There is no special North Dakota CDL license training required such as special certification from truck driving schools or training classes.

You must provide the vehicle for the road test. Be sure to bring the specific type of vehicle related to the type of CDL you desire.

Make sure that the vehicle can pass the pre-test inspection otherwise the road test will be canceled. You will be required to conduct the pre-inspection test and explain to your examiner what items on the vehicle should undergo a pre-inspection and the reason why.

If you fail the road test, you may take it again but not on the same day as the failed test. You will have to make a new appointment for another day.

The road test costs $5. The actual North Dakota CDL license cost is $15. Any endorsement fees are $3 each.

Your license will be valid for four years.

Step 6

Specialty vehicles require additional testing. If you pass, your qualification to operate such a vehicle will be listed on your CDL as an endorsement.

Specific tests are required for specific endorsements.

An additional knowledge test is required for Double/Triple Trailers, Tank Vehicles and Hazardous Materials endorsements.

A combination additional knowledge test plus an additional skills test is required for Passenger and School Buses endorsements.

Plus, if your vehicle has air brakes, including air over hydraulic brakes, you must pass an air brakes test.

Step 7

If you’re interested in a job that requires transporting hazardous materials and want to add a hazmat endorsement to you CDL, you will have to undergo a thorough background check, and be fingerprinted.

The background check will be conducted by the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You can file a request with the TSA for a background check by phone or online.

To be fingerprinted you must make an appointment at one of the fingerprint collection sites listed on the NDDOT Website.

The TSA background check is $34; the FBI background check $17.50; and the fingerprinting $38.

How to Get a North Dakota CDL License
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