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CDL Requirements: How to Qualify

Are you interested in becoming a truck driver? If yes, then you’ll most likely need a commercial driver’s license. Without one, you wouldn’t be able to operate the majority of commercial motor vehicles. However, before applying for your CDL, you should be aware of the basic qualifications. That way you’re prepared and know what’s expected of you.

In this article, we’ll discuss the many CDL requirements and what can disqualify you from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

CDL Requirements


If you are 18 years old, you can apply to receive your CDL. However, if you want to participate in interstate commerce then you have to wait until you’re 21.

Criminal Record

You may be disqualified from receiving your CDL if you’ve been involved in criminal activity. For example, if your license was taken away due to numerous traffic violations or you’ve been charged with a crime in the past you won’t be eligible.

It’s important to note that even if you do end up qualifying you’ll likely have trouble finding employment. This is because motor carriers want to hire someone that doesn’t pose a risk to their reputation or insurance premiums.

Physically Qualified

If you want to qualify for a CDL, you have to pass a physical, vision, and hearing exam. These qualities directly affect your ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. The exam will be performed by a certified medical examiner.

Firstly, they’ll check to make sure you meet the minimum vision requirements, such as the ability to see close up and far away. You’ll also need to be able to identify color distinctions in things such as traffic lights and road signs.

Also, if you have any disorders such as epilepsy or narcolepsy you may be disqualified from receiving your CDL.

Recently, the government has reduced some of there restrictions when it comes to drivers with hearing impairments and sleep apnea. These conditions are particularly common among truck drivers so this is good news for many in the industry. The only downside is you may have to get physicals done more often than others to make sure your hearing or sleeping habits aren’t compromising your safety.

Truck Driving School

You have to receive adequate training before you receive your CDL. Therefore, you need to start researching truck driving schools near you. During your research, you need to look for schools based on their location, price, and quality of training.

When you visit the school, the trainer will teach you all there is to know about operating a commercial vehicle safely. Also, you will be able to practice on the roads. You’ll also receive additional written instructions so you can familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations.

These schools also conduct online sessions, but you won’t be able to practice on the road under the supervision of professional truck driving instructors. Thus, it’s best to take the course in person and increase your chances of receiving your CDL.

CDL Exam

Besides CDL training, you have to take the written test as well. The test can be difficult so you need to study hard and take advantage of the practice exams. If you have any questions during studying your truck driving school instructor is there to help.


If you want to meet the CDL requirements and pass the test, you need to join a truck driving school, meet the basic age and physical requirements, as well as have a clean criminal record.



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