Commercial Drivers License Test & Endorsement Exams

by Joshua on December 05, 2013

A commercial driver’s license test or CDL as its most commonly referred too is needed for many different driving professions. Depending on the job or the activities you will perform on the job or that are required in your job field along with your CDL you will have to test for certain endorsements. A truck driving job can be very rewarding and lucrative. The demand for truck drivers and those that have CDL’s is very high in a variety of job fields and many people do not realize how many professions actually require you to have a CDL as well as certain endorsements.

Why You Might Need A CDL

In 1986 the U.S. passed “The Motor Vehicle Safety Act”. This law was enacted to make roadways and highways safer for large trucks and passenger vehicles as well as truck and commercial vehicle operators. This law addresses several aspects of commercial drivers and the operation of commercial vehicles such as-

  • Enacting minimum licensing and testing standards
  • Adopting new standards for skills and road test, ensuring CDL holders are knowledgeable and skilled at operating commercial vehicles.
  • Enforcing a one license limit for all CDL drivers

Since 1992 it has been illegal to drive certain CMV’s without a CDL license and the proper endorsements. If you operate within interstate or outer state or even foreign commerce truck driving then you must carry a CDL. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that the state issues testing for CDL licenses and instate quality testing procedures to applicants in all states of the U.S.

CDL Class Types & Endorsements

There are several types or “classes” of commercial driver’s license and each class enable you to drive or operate a different type of commercial vehicle. In addition to the different kinds of CDL’s there are you may require one or more of the many endorsements which allow you to carry different types of cargo and operate different kinds of commercial vehicles.

  1. CDL Class Types-
  • Class A. – This type of commercial driver’s license allows you to operate a variety of combination vehicles over the weight of 26,000 pounds or if operating a vehicle towing another with weight equal to over 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B. – The Class B CDL allows you to operate a variety of single vehicles over the weight of 26,000 pounds or if operating a vehicle towing another with weight equal to over 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C. – Often combined with an H type endorsement because the vehicle operated will haul hazardous materials, this class type allows you to operate and drive any type of combination vehicle or single vehicle not covered in Class A. and Class B commercial driver’s license — or if the CMV is a passenger vehicle hauling 16 or more people including the driver.
  1. Endorsement Types-

There are many different kinds of endorsements. Endorsements are to be combined with a type of CDL to ensure that you are knowledgeable and skilled in the specific area of trucking you will be involved in or the cargo that you will be carrying. The types of endorsements are-

  • P- The P type endorsement allows you to operate a passenger type vehicle with 16 or more passengers including the driver. To obtain this endorsement you must pass an additional knowledge and road skills test.
  • T- The T endorsement allows you to operate double and triple trailer loads;you must pass an additional written knowledge test to gain this endorsement
  • N- The N type endorsement is meant for those wishing to operate a tank vehicle and requires only a knowledge test. (Those who operate military tank vehicles within the jurisdiction of the military are not required to get this CDL endorsement.)
  • H- The H endorsement is for those who will be hauling hazardous materials regularly and requires you to pass an additional knowledge test.
  • S- S type endorsement allows you to operate a school bus and requires that you pass a knowledge and skills test in addition to your CDL tests.
  • X- An X type endorsement allows you to operate tank vehicles in which hazardous materials will be present, hauled or utilized.

Testing For Your Commercial Driver’s License

There are a few parts when it comes to testing for your CDL. Be sure that you are well versed on any and all class types you will be taking as well as all the endorsements you plan to test on. The general knowledge test or written portion of the CDL test can be quite daunting especially to those who struggled to study and learn the material. The more you prepare ahead of time the better your chances are to successfully pass the test the first time. Use as many resources for study time and learning the required material as you see fit, many people do better with non traditional study methods such as practice tests or cheat sheets. offers a variety of practice tests and cheat sheet materials for every kind of CDL and license test for each state.

The other part of the testing phase is the road skills test. For the road skills test you may have to call ahead of time to your local testing facility as some places can not accommodate the vehicles for a CDL test You must provide your own vehicle of the CMV type that you will be driving. You must also provide the registration and insurance for the vehicle you furnish. The entire testing process can take up to five hours and may have to be split between two visits to your local testing facility.

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