Commercial Driver Education in North Carolina

No Strict Requirements

Currently, there are no training requirements or apprenticeships necessary in order to get your North Carolina commercial driver license (CDL). However, formal training is the best way to learn how to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely. Many employers provide on-the-job training, even if you do not have experience.

You can also be trained at a private driver training school. Some companies only hire graduates of commercial driver training schools and programs.

The Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 and North Carolina Laws

To comply with federal regulations, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must test driver knowledge and ability to operate commercial motor vehicles safely, and issue commercial driver licenses. The DMV must also share licensing and conviction information with other states and suspend commercial driving privileges of drivers who are convicted of certain offenses.

Getting a CDL

Both paid and volunteer drivers are required to have commercial driver licenses if they drive vehicles that meet certain requirements.

To obtain a CDL, you must pass one or more knowledge tests, depending on the class of license and endorsements you need. You can take the knowledge tests at any full-service driver license office and you do not need an appointment.

Once you pass the knowledge tests, you may take a skills test. Usually, drivers attend training courses after they pass the knowledge tests but before they take skills tests. You must pass the skills test to get a North Carolina CDL. You do need an appointment for the skills test.

The test is comprised of a pre-trip inspection test, a basic control skills test, and a road test. You must take the skills test in the type of vehicle you want to be licensed for. You can take the skills test at many driver license offices in North Carolina.

Skills tests are also offered by certified third-party testers. Examples include driver training schools and employers who offer CDL training to their employees.

For more information on commercial driver license requirements and eligibility, visit Renewing Your CDL, Replacing a Lost CDL, and Commercial Driver FAQs.

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