Applying for a New CDL in Maryland
To hit the open road and take in the country by long stretches at a time is an experience loved by many. But you can get also paid to do so, if you get your commercial driver's license (CDL).
You'll have to follow all of the national protocols established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the licensing process in Maryland, which is overseen by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).
IMPORTANT FEDERAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS UPDATE
Per new federal entry-level driver training requirements effective February 7, 2022, the MD Motor Vehicle Administration now mandates new CDL applicants complete an entry-level driver training course through an authorized provider. You’ll need to complete this training prior to applying for your first commercial driver’s license, upgrading your existing CDL class, or applying for a HAZMAT, school bus, or passenger endorsement.
Who Can Get a Maryland CDL?
To be eligible for a Maryland commercial driver's license, you'll need to:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Applicants under 21 years old will be restricted to driving commercial vehicles within MD state borders—called intrastate driving.
- Already have a valid, non-CDL Maryland license.
- Be able to provide proof of your:
- Maryland residence.
- The MVA provides a guide to acceptable documents.
- You may also be asked to show proof of your Social Security number (SSN).
Commercial Learner's Permits in MD
Before you can earn your CDL, you'll have to get your Maryland CLP—that is, commercial learner's permit.
It's not required by either the FMCSA or MD MVA, but recommended by both agencies to first enroll in a commercial driving education course, since it will likely help you be as successful as possible with the process.
When you feel ready to begin, visit your local Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration office (you don't have to schedule an appointment first), and be prepared to:
- Bring the proper identifying documents with you.
- Show your non-commercial MD driver's license.
- Pass a vision screening.
- Can be taken at the MVA office or through your own doctor.
- See the MVA's guide to its Online Vision Certification Service for details on how to get your vision check with your own doctor.
- Have your medical paperwork with you.
- Submit to a driving record check.
- The past 10 years of your record in every state plus Washington, D.C. will be under review.
- Pay the $90 fee.
If you don't pass the tests right away, it's okay! You'll be able to retake them. However, if you fail your test 2 times, you'll have to wait 7 days before retaking it again.
Once you do ace all your written exams, you'll officially own a commercial learner's permit!
Maryland CLP Restrictions
Getting a CLP is an important step toward a CDL, but while you're driving with one, you'll need to follow some additional rules:
- You'll only be allowed to drive on public roads.
- You must be accompanied by a full CDL holder qualified to operate the same class of vehicle.
You'll also have to practice with your CLP for a certain period of time before you can schedule the skills test needed to earn your commercial driver license. The federal waiting period is 14 days, but this could be different for you.
Make sure to check with the MD Motor Vehicle Administration about specific waiting periods in Maryland.
Everyone who applies for a CDL must also have training in the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking.
MD Commercial Driver's License
There's only one more step between you and your commercial driver's license: the skills exam.
You'll have to schedule an appointment with the Maryland MVD to take the test. Before you do, make sure the appropriate amount of time practicing with your CLP has passed.
Remember to organize a way to take the skills test in the same class of vehicle you intend on operating with your commercial driver's license; otherwise, a restriction may be added to your license. Since you'll technically still just be a permit holder, you'll also have to be accompanied to the test by a full CDL holder.
Make sure to bring to the appointment:
- Your commercial learner's permit.
- The proper medical paperwork.
- The $50 CDL fee.
The skills exam consists of several parts, including the:
- Pre-trip inspection.
- You will have 45 minutes to complete this portion.
- Basic controls test.
- You will be given 10 minutes per maneuver.
- Public road driving test.
- Typically lasts up to 40 minutes.
The test is given in that order, and if you fail any part of it, you won't be permitted to move on to the next portion. Instead, you'll have to reschedule the exam for another time and pay the $20 rescheduling fee.
Once you do pass everything, you'll be issued your commercial driver's license. Congratulations!
CDL Fees in Maryland
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration charges the following for CDLs and related services:
- Commercial learner's permit (includes skills test fees): $90.
- Commercial driver's license: $50.
- Skills test retest: $20.
Payments to the MD MVA can be made via credit card, cash, or check made payable to “Motor Vehicle Administration." Checks must also include your:
- Driver's license number.
- Phone number.
CDL Medical Requirements
Every commercial driver license applicant in Maryland must be deemed physically fit for the job before they can apply.
This includes informing the state of the type of driving you intend on doing with your commercial driver's license—called self-certification—and having a FMCSA-approved doctor give you a physical.
To be considered medically qualified for a CDL by the MD MVA, you'll need to complete the following forms:
- Driving Certification for Maryland Commercial Driver's License Holders (Form DL-330).
- Medical Examiner's Certificate (Form MCSA-5876).
Self-certification can be a confusing process, so if you have questions or need additional information, you can check out the Motor Vehicle Administration's page on medical requirements and FAQ page on the subject.
Military CDL Waivers in MD
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration have developed a program to help recent veterans or current service members get a CDL more quickly by having the skills test waived.
The MD MVA offers this waiver for those applying for a Class A or Class B commercial driver's license only.
To qualify, you'll need to:
- Be currently enlisted in the military.
- Have left the service within 12 months of applying for the waiver.
- Be currently enlisted in the military.
- Have 2 years of experience driving commercial vehicles or the military equivalent while in the service.
For more information on how to apply, check out our guide to the military skills test waiver.