There are many jobs in the transportation industry that need to be filled by commercial drivers. Before you can drive any commercial vehicles in the state of Virginia you must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). These are available through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of Virginia. In order to get a CDL you must get an application for a CDL instruction permit, obtain the CDL instruction permit by passing the necessary knowledge exams, take the state-approved driver education program for commercial motor vehicles, complete a road skills test, and make your payments.

Step 1:
You must be at least 18 to get an intrastate CDL and 21 to get a regular CDL. You need to get a copy of the Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual from the DMV, or download a copy of it from this site: http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/dmv60.pdf. This manual is similar to the regular driver’s manual, but is designed for commercial drivers.

Step 2:
You need to fill out an application for the CDL instruction permit. You can apply for your permit in person at a DMV center. You need to have this permit before you can take your driver’s education training course. The permit allows you to train in a commercial vehicle while under supervision. You will need to have proper identification before you can get your permit. A list of the accepted documents can be found here: https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/pdf/dmv141.pdf

Step 3:
Study the manual well, paying attention to the sections that apply to the vehicles you pan to drive and any sections that cover the special endorsements you need to obtain. You will be tested on general knowledge, as well as separate tests that cover each of the added endorsements you need. You can have endorsements to carry hazardous materials (HAZMAT), tank vehicles, passenger-carrying vehicles, school buses, and double or triple trailers. This manual will teach you the information you need to pass your written tests. It will also explain the process of getting your CDL in more detail.

Step 4:
When you feel confident that you understand, and can remember the material in the CDL manual, you need to take the general knowledge test, and any other tests related to the endorsements you need. The Virginia CDL permit cost is $3. You will also have a vision test. Once you pass the tests, you will receive your permit.

Step 5:
You are now ready to take the state-approved commercial driving course. If you have a company that you want to work for, you might be able to take the training course through them. Many companies will offer this training to employees. If you don’t already have a job lined up, or have a particular company in mind, you can take the course through a commercial driving school. The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) has a listing of programs available. You can access this list here: http://ptdi.org/schools/schools.aspx Virginia does not have any schools certified by the PDTI, but there are some schools in neighboring states such as Maryland and North Carolina. If these are too far away for you to get to, you can use this checklist http://ptdi.org/errata/Checklist.pdf provided by the PDTI to make sure that the school you choose meets the standards of the industry. If you plan to drive a school bus or coach bus, you can contact those companies to find out if they have company sponsored Virginia CDL license training.

Step 6:
Once you complete your training, and after holding the permit for a minimum 30 days, of you can make an appointment for the road skills test. You should find the closest customer service center from here: http://www.dmv.state.va.us/general/utilities/offices.asp?t=d to locate the contact information for the center you will be testing at. You are responsible for furnishing the vehicle you will drive, and it must be the type of vehicle that you are obtaining a license for. The driving test consists of three parts: a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. The road test usually takes about 90 minutes. If you miss your appointment you will be charged a fee. If you know that you can’t make the appointment, you need to call and reschedule it ahead of time to avoid the fee.

Step 7:
The Virginia CDL license cost is $8 per year that it is valid, plus $1 per year for each endorsement. The license is valid for 8 years, and the fee will be based on how many years are left before it is up for renewal. If you have the HAZMAT endorsement you must renew this every 5 years. After you have passed the road test, you will pay for the license. Then you will have your photo taken, and the license will usually be made at the DMV office while you wait.

How to Get a Virginia CDL License
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