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Special Licenses in Tennessee

Who Needs a Commercial License?

You'll need to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) if you intend to drive any of the following:

  • A combination of vehicles whose actual, registered, or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is over 26,001 lbs. (Class A license)
  • A vehicle whose actual, registered, or GVWR is over 26,001 lbs. and is not towing another vehicle with a GVWR over 10,000 lbs. (Class B license)
  • A single vehicle designed to either transport at least 15 passengers (including the driver) or carry hazardous materials (Class C license)

Certain driving professions require special endorsements in addition to a CDL, while others don't even require a CDL. We'll sort out some common scenarios below.

School Bus Drivers

Those seeking to transport children in a school bus need a CDL if the bus is designed to seat more than 15 passengers, including the driver. If so, you'll also need to obtain a passenger ("P") and a school bus ("S") endorsement.

Chauffeurs

Chauffeurs should obtain the standard Class D license in addition to a for-hire ("F") endorsement.

To receive the endorsement, applicants must be at least 18 years old, meet the eligibility requirements, pass a vision test, and pass a specialized knowledge test.

The endorsement costs $2.50.

Shuttle Bus Drivers

Shuttle buses not only come in a variety of styles and sizes, but are used in many different ways.

Drivers may need to obtain a CDL, along with a passenger ("P") or other endorsements. In some cases, a for-hire ("F") endorsement may suffice, without the CDL.

Check with your potential employer to find out what you need for the particular situation.

Sport Vehicles

You do not need a special license to operate an all-terrain or off-highway vehicle in Tennessee.

Taxi Drivers

Taxi drivers should obtain the standard Class D license in addition to a for-hire ("F") endorsement.

To receive the endorsement, applicants must be at least 18 years old, meet the eligibility requirements, pass a vision test, and pass a specialized knowledge test.

The endorsement costs $2.50.

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