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How to Get a North Carolina CDL License

Cdl, DMV, North Carolina, School Bus Driver

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers the driver’s licensing program for the state. Individuals interested in driving big rigs, buses and other large vehicles may need a commercial driver’s license. To get a CDL license in North Carolina, an applicant must first pass a written knowledge test. Upon successful completion of that test and a medical exam, the applicant can get a CDL permit and train on actual vehicles on the North Carolina roads. An applicant who then passes a CDL skills test through the DMV can get a full North Carolina CDL license.

Step 1:

Access the North Carolina CDL manual to help you prepare for the written test. You can get a copy of the “Commercial Driver’s Manual” at a North Carolina DMV office or online at Ncdot.org/dmv/driver_services/commercialtrucking/cdlhandbook/download/CDLmanual.pdf.

The purpose of the CDL manual is to let you know the requirements for getting a North Carolina commercial driver’s license and the material required to pass the written knowledge test. When you study a CDL study guide like this, keep in mind that there are general parts that apply to everyone and “endorsement” sections that apply only to certain commercial drivers.

For example, if you are trying to become a school bus driver, then you need “school bus” and “passenger vehicle” endorsements. You would study and take endorsement tests for both of those. Refer to the manual and match up your expected work vehicle with the testing requirements. If you are not sure what you will be driving as a commercial driver, then you can study for all endorsements.

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Step 2:

Take a medical exam. All CDL drivers need to take a federally mandated health exam. You can download the exam form at Fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/forms/649f.pdf and take it to a doctor. You then get a card which you need to take with you to the DMV.

Step 3:

Go to the local North Carolina DMV and apply for a CDL and the knowledge test. Take the test to receive a North Carolina CDL permit. This learner’s permit allows you to get training and practice with trucks or other commercial vehicles on the roads of North Carolina under the supervision of a licensed driver.

Step 4:

Obtain CDL training. In some cases, employers, such as Greyhound, provide free CDL training for you. In other cases, you may need to attend a truck driver training school. You may find a certified CDL driver training shcool through the Professional Truck Driver Institute. Visit Ptdi.org/schools/schools.aspx to find a list of schools in North Carolina or other states. Complete your training so you will be prepared for the skills test.

Step 5:

Schedule and complete your CDL skills test through the local North Carolina DMV. You generally have to bring your own vehicle for testing. Employers and schools typically provide a vehicle for you. In some cases, you may need to find a rental agency who can provide one for you.

Step 6:

Receive your North Carolina CDL license upon completion of the skills test. With a license, you can travel inside the state if you are at least 18 and interstate if you are at least 21.

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Note: Hazardous-material haulers must pass an additional background check. Go to Hazprints.com to apply for this safety threat assessment.


North Carolina CDL Manual

Truck Driving Training Schools In and Around North Carolina