How to Get a Washington CDL License

A Washington commercial driver’s license (CDL) is available for those wanting to work in job positions that require a special driver’s permit. This type of driving permit usually requires several examinations for each applicant including a written examination, passing a medical test, and completing an in person driving test.

Process to Obtain a CDL License
The commercial driver’s license process has several requirements that are completed through the driver’s license bureau and department of licensing, and these requirements are the following:

1. An applicant for a commercial driver’s license needs to have a standard driver’s license for the state of Washington.

2. A CDIP or commercial driver instruction permit is the next step. Any driver over 18 years old with a valid Washington drover’s license may apply for a CDIP permit. Interstate transportation drivers need to be at least 21 years old. A knowledge test needs to have a passing grade, and this permit is valid for six months with only one renewal.

3. The instruction permit will need to have an in person driving examination that is accompanied by a CDL driver. The instruction driver will need to have two years of driving experience with the type of commercial vehicle driven and five years of total commercial driving experience in order to be the designated instructor.

4. A medical examiner’s certificate is required for each CDL driver as well. A Washington CDL license cost includes an independent medical examination from a licensed physician.

5. A Washington CDL license training course is required for each commercial applicant. There are several classes of vehicles for commercial transportation. Class A transport will need 160 hours of classroom instruction and driving instruction from an approved driving school. Class B transportation vehicles will require 48 hours of classroom instruction and driving instruction from an approved school. Class C transportation driving will need 36 hours of classroom instruction and driving instruction from a school that has been approved by the Washington department of motor vehicles and the department of licensing. The student who successfully completes the appropriate training will receive a certificate of completion that will need to be sent to the CDL state agencies.

Employer Certified Drivers
Employers are able to certify their drivers who are employed by them. An employer who is able to certify needs to be registered with the department of licensing and needs to receive an identification number with the department of licensing. The employer has the responsibility to train the workers who are providing commercial driving services and will report to the department of licensing that the driver has the appropriate knowledge and skills for a CDL license.

Other Exemptions
The agricultural industry has a 5 year restricted commercial license available for those agricultural employees who work only within this industry. The standard minimum training hours are not required if the driving is for farming work only.

Medical Waiver
A driver with a current commercial driving permit but with a stable medical condition may apply for a medical waiver with the department of licensing. This type of exemption or waiver indicates that the driver may have a history of medical illness but is currently stable and able to work as a commercial driver. A medical waiver will need to be approved by a licensed physician and approved by the department of licensing with the state of Washington.

Drug and Alcohol Testing
Each commercial driver undergoes periodic drug and alcohol screening in order to maintain a commercial driver’s license. A commercial driving license will be suspended if the employee or independent driver does not pass a mandatory screening examination. The commercial license is suspended until the employee or independent driver successfully completes an approved drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. The suspended driver will need to reapply for commercial licensing and show that the rehabilitation program has been completed successfully. Each suspended driver will continue to be monitored by the rehabilitation services and the department of licensing for continued sobriety.

A CDL driver’s license has several steps for successful completion. This type of professional license may be used within the state of Washington and is valid for interstate and agricultural driving as well.