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How to Get Your CDL in Washington

What you must do to get YOUR Washington CDL. Application, Requirements, Procedures, Fees, Training, FMCSA Rules etc.

Determine what type of Washington CDL you need. Go to the Washington CDL Flow Chart. Find out what class of Washington CDL you need and which Washington CDL endorsements you need.
Washington CDL Class A, B, C plus Endorsements Selector Tool
If you need help . . .
determining what Class of CDL you need based upon the type of vehicle you will drive (A, B or C) or are not sure which CDL Endorsements you need based upon the type of loads you will carry use the free CDL Selector Tool . . .
Washington
Go to CDL Selector Tool
(Use only for a new CDL)
Not sure which WA CDL Tests you need to pass? Use this tool to determine what Class of CDL and which CDL Endorsements you require.

How to obtain a Washington Commercial Driver's License

Washington CDL Practice Test Prep Program

Getting Started . . .
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Getting a Washington CDL involves several steps. There are medical requirements and residency requirements besides knowledge and skills requirements.
  • The first step is to get a free copy of the Washington CDL Manual - WA CDL Handbook. The manual is available in their field locations, downloaded from their website and printed. Each state has its own processes to getting your Washington CDL.
  • The second step is to decide which type of vehicle you will drive and what type of loads you will carry.
  • There are 3 classes of Washington CDLs with endorsements for specialized qualifications for vehicles like school buses, tank trucks, tractor trailers, etc. Each types of Washington CDL requires you pass Washington CDL written tests and Washington CDL skills tests. It is important to make sure you pass all the required tests for your needs or risk having restrictions on your CDL prohibiting you from driving certain commercial vehicles and from carrying certain types of loads. Go to Washington CDL Classifications and Endorsement Codes for complete details.

Once you've finished getting informed and making decisions, there are two basic steps to getting a Washington CDL:

Step 1: Get the Washington Commercial Learners Permit (WA CLP)

A Washington Commercial Learners Permit (WA CLP) is a permit that only authorizes you to practice on public roads with a qualified Washington CDL holder sitting next to you. Getting the permit involves more than just passing all the knowledge tests for the type of driving you want to do. To make sure that you are eligible your driving record is checked for the last 10 years in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You need to bring in the proof that your state accepts to show that you are medically qualified. Most types of commercial driving require a DOT medical card, requiring a DOT physical. Your state may require specific documents it wants to see to prove your name and proof of residency. There are fees for getting the Washington CLP. Reading and following the instructions found in your specific Washington CDL Information will streamline the process.

Step 2: Get the Washington Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

You are required to possess the Washington CLP for 14 days before taking the Skills Test. Some states require the successful completion of Washington CDL training prior to testing. Regardless, it is highly recommended that you practice the inspection tests and maneuvers in the Washington CDL Manual that you will be tested on with a qualified individual before showing up for the test. You must pass all 3 parts of the Skills Test: the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test. Your state may even allow you to use their "training aid" to help you remember items on the vehicle inspection checklist. Taking the Skills test is no guarantee that you will pass.

Once you have passed the Skills Test you need to take the documentation to the counter for processing. Some states will give you the Washington CDL that same day, while others send it to you in the mail. Regardless make sure that everything is correct before you leave the counter. It can be costly and embarrassing if you find a mistake later.

Checklist . . .

  • Possess current valid regular driver's license in Washington.
  • Show proof of Social Security number (Social Security card, payroll check stub, W-2 Form).
  • For interstate driving, submit proof of DOT Medical Certificate. For intrastate driving, complete an application which includes a statement certifying that you meet medical and driver qualifications. If you have had any change in your physical condition since your last driver license renewal which may affect your ability to drive, you may need a special form from the branch office for your physician to fill out before you can apply for your license.
  • Meet driver record eligibility requirements as determined by your Washington DMV office personnel.
  • Pass the required knowledge and vision tests. You must pass all required knowledge tests to obtain a Washington CDL Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP). This allows you to practice driving under supervision of a driver who has a CDL for the type of vehicle you wish to drive. A Washington CDL Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP) is also required for taking the WA CDL skills tests. If you do not pass a knowledge test on your first attempt, you must wait one day to retake the test. There is a one-day wait period for any subsequent retest.
  • Pay your Washington CDL fees.
  • Schedule your Washington CDL skills test.
  • Upon successfully passing your Skills Tests, return to the Washington DMV office.
  • Receive your Washington CDL.

Do I need a Washington CDL?
What Class of Washington CDL do I need?
What Washington CDL endorsements do I need?

determine which WA cdl you need, do i need a WA CDL

How to determine what Class of Washington CDL you need and which Washington CDL Endorsements you need.

  • The Class of Washington CDL you require is based upon the type of vehicle you drive.
  • The Washington CDL Endorsements you require is based upon the type of loads that you carry.

Determine which Class of Washington CDL you require.

You can only possess one Class of CDL . . . Class A CDL or Class B CDL or Class C CDL.
  • Class A CDL - allows you to drive Class B and Class C type vehicles in addition to Class A.
  • Class B CDL - allows you to drive Class C type vehicles in addition to Class B.
  • Class C CDL - limits you to drive only Class C type vehicles.
IMPORTANT - You must possess the proper endorsements for the type of loads you carry, regardless of the Class of CDL that you possess.
  • Class A Washington CDL: Holders are authorized to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of ten thousand (10,000) pounds.
  • Class B Washington CDL: Holders are authorized to drive any single vehicle with a GVWR of twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds or more, and any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of ten thousand (10,000) pounds.
  • Class C Washington CDL: Holders are authorized to drive any single vehicle with a GVWR of less than twenty-six thousand one (26,001) pounds (vehicles that otherwise do not require a CDL) or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of ten thousand (10,000) pounds comprising:
    • Vehicles designed to transport sixteen or more passengers, including the driver, or designed to transport more than ten passengers, including the driver, and used to transport students under the age of twenty-one years to and from school; (additional endorsement required - see below)
    • Vehicles used to transport hazardous materials which are required to be placarded in accordance with 49 CFR 172, Subpart F, as amended. (additional endorsement required - see below)

Determine if you need any Washington CDL Endorsements based upon the type of loads you will carry.

  • Air Brakes (L Restriction): Air Brakes is not considered an Endorsement. If you have not passed your Air Brakes written test or you took your CDL skills tests in a vehicle without Air Brakes you will be restricted to only drive vehicles without Air Brakes - the "L" Restriction. Requires a CDL written test AND Skills test.
  • Combination Vehicles Endorsement: Technically not considered an endorsement, this written test must be passed to get a Class A CDL allowing you to drive a combination type vehicle (tractor-trailer). Requires a CDL written test AND skills test in a Class A tractor-trailer type vehicle.
  • T - Semi trailer Double or Triple (Written Test). Certain states prohibit triple trailers statewide, such as California, Florida, and New York. A Class A license is required to obtain the T endorsement.
  • P - Passenger Vehicle (Written and Driving Tests)
  • S - School Bus (Written and Driving Test, Background Check, Sex Offender Registry Check and P endorsement)
  • N - Tank Truck (Written Test)
  • H - Hazardous materials (Written Test and Background Check through the Transportation Security Administration)
  • X - Combination of Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials (Written Test)

Eligible Endorsements for each Class of Washington CDL

Class C - Washington CDL must hold one or more of the following endorsements:
  • Hazardous Materials (H)
  • Passenger Transport (P)
  • School Bus (S) (this is an optional endorsement; you must possess a "P" Passenger Endorsement in combination with the "S" School Bus endorsement)
  • Tank Vehicle (N)
Class B - Washington CDL can hold one or more of the following endorsements:
  • Hazardous Materials (H)
  • Passenger Transport (P)
  • School Bus (S)
  • Tank Vehicle (N)
  • Tanker and Hazardous Materials (X)
Class A - Washington CDL can hold one or more of the following endorsements:
  • Hazardous Materials (H)
  • Passenger Transport (P)
  • School Bus (S)
  • Tank Vehicle (N)
  • Tanker and Hazardous Materials (X)
  • Double/Triples (T)

Are YOU ready to get YOUR Washington CDL?
Prepare for YOUR Washington CDL Tests NOW . . .

 Washington CDL License
In addition to the Washington CDL (commercial driver's license) information found in our website covering the Washington CDL and in the free Washington CDL Handbook (which is quite boring and a bit confusing - and doesn't have a single multiple-choice question in it that is asked on the actual tests), the complete online Washington CDL Practice Test prep program will prepare you to easily pass your Washington CDL written exams to get your Washington CDL permit. The skills test modules are invaluable to give you a head start before doing your behind the wheel work, possibly saving you a lot of money. The Washington CDL test prep program includes the following features . . .
  • Covers ALL Eight Washington CDL written tests.
    • In separate study modules - you won't need all of them - don't waste time on what you don't require.
  • Covers ALL Three Washington CDL skills tests.
    • In separate study modules - you won't need all of them - don't waste time on what you don't require.
  • 670 practice Washington CDL test questions with actual answers.
  • Access to CDL videos covering written and skills tests.
  • CDL study guide in both text and audio - listen as you read along.
  • CDL study Quick Reviews.
  • Interactive online CDL Quizzes.
  • and much more!
May your new CAREER be prosperous!!!

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Michael Hamilton
Director