How to Obtain a Commercial Drivers License

Commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) in Arizona maintain several CDL license requirements that will affect those drivers who are interested in operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The CDL drivers license is an authorization that allows a driver to operate vehicles of varying weights, sizes and safety classifications for work. The type of vehicle that a licensed driver will be able to operate will depend on the initial CDL license application, required endorsements and his or her certified medical condition. The process for how to apply to a commercial drivers license is quite straightforward, requiring only two major visits to the nearest Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) office. Drivers will need to first obtain a commercial drivers license learner’s permit and second obtain a full license for commercial vehicles. Interested applicants should review each of these visits to facilitate their application process and begin driving in the state of Arizona.

Arizona CDL License Requirements for a Learner’s Permit

The process for how to get a commercial drivers license begins with a learner’s permit, which will involve self-certifying the type of vehicle a driver intends to operate in the workplace by denoting its specifications on the initial application. This CDL information is used once the application has been accepted to customize the necessary tests that an applicant will take on the day he or she submits it to an ADOT office in person. To take these tests, an applicant must first pay the applicable fees and provide the necessary documentation.

When getting a commercial drivers license in Arizona, an applicant will need to start by completing the license application form. To get a commercial drivers license with the qualifications needed for the vehicle he or she intends to drive, the driver must self-certify his or her vehicle type, which entails verifying the class and which endorsements will be necessary as part of the job.

Those seeking a CDL license will need to submit completed applications in person at an ADOT office. While there are designated ADOT offices that award licenses for CDL drivers, not all Motor Vehicle Division locations will be equipped for the entire application process. Drivers must have the certain documentation needed for the CDL application process. These documents prove that the petitioners meet the CDL qualifications to receive a license, including meeting the medical requirement, establishing legal residence in the country and within the state and proof of driving experience.

As part of the general CDL qualifications to drive a commercial vehicle, Arizona applicants must satisfy the minimum medical conditions. Applicants should complete this CDL medical examination before applying for CDL licensure in Arizona, as they will be unable to proceed without it. The Arizona requirements for CDL licenses state that only those with proven legal residence in the U.S. may apply for a license. In order to get a commercial drivers license, applicants must be able to confirm over one year of safe driving.

When getting a commercial drivers license, Arizona residents will be able to facilitate their application process by providing proof of residence. As part of screening an applicant’s qualifications for CDL licensure, this allows for the ADOT office to access information about driving history records through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division database. Out-of-state applicants may apply by providing a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) from another state.The cost of CDL licensure will depend on the type of vehicle an applicant intends to drive and whether this has been indicated on the initial application. To obtain a CDL license, these fees must be paid upfront before taking any knowledge or road tests. Download our free guide for more details about obtaining Arizona licensing as well as details about license and registration renewals.

Arizona CDL License Requirements for Full CDL

A full Arizona CDL license may be awarded to those applicants who first get a CDL learner’s permit and pass a final, driven examination. Full CDL license requirements include applicants passing a behind-the-wheel test, which is along a closed course and predetermined route. This involves a second major appointment with the ADOT office, which may not be scheduled within 14 days of receiving a learner’s permit. Arizona applicants must provide their own vehicle to complete this final examination, which comprises of the following three parts:

  1. Vehicle Inspection – State requirements for CDL licensure dictate that all applicants must conduct a thorough vehicle inspection prior to moving onto a closed course or road test. This inspection will be graded on the applicant’s attention to detail and ability to point out and explain his or her rationale for inspecting certain portions of the vehicle’s interior and exterior.
  2. Basic Vehicle Control Test – As part of the final examination to obtain a commercial drivers license, examinees will need to perform a number of basic vehicle maneuvers on a closed course. These will include moving forward, backward and turning within a designated area.
  3. On-road Driving Test – Once the basic maneuvers have been completed, CDL license applicants will need to complete an on-road driving test. This will be on a predetermined route and will serve as the final requirement for CDL licensure, navigating through single and multilane roads, railroad crossings and other traffic situations.

For more details about maintaining a CDL license in Arizona, download our comprehensive guide.