CDL Requirements By State

How to Get a CDL in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law requires anyone who operates a commercial vehicle to meet all of PA’s CDL requirements.

Drivers that operate the following vehicles will need to possess a CDL:

  • Dump trucks
  • Passenger buses
  • School buses
  • Commerical trucks

Any person in the state who drives: a vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 or higher; a vehicle that transports 16 people or more, including the driver; or a vehicle that transports hazardous materials or minors will need a PA CDL license.

Types of CDL Licenses in PA

Pennsylvania follows a standard license class structure with four main driver’s license types:

  • Class A – Offering a combined weight of more than 26,000 pounds with a vehicle being towed weighing more than 10,000 pounds
  • Class B – A single weight of more than 26,000 pounds with a vehicle being towed that is less than 10,000 pounds
  • Class C – A class designed for passenger vehicles, primarily buses, that do not fall within the Class A or Class B definition. This license class allows for the operation of a vehicle that transports 16 passenger or more, including the driver, or a vehicle that transports hazardous materials (endorsement required)
  • Class D – The standard driver’s license class that allows for the operation of private vehicles

A person who has obtained their Class A license will be able to operate all vehicle types listed as long as an endorsement is not required.

Pennsylvania Commercial Driver’s License Requirements

PennDOT requires a person to be 21 years of age or older to operate commercial vehicles interstate, across state lines or to haul hazardous materials. You must be 18 years of age to drive within state lines.

If you meet the age requirements, you’ll need to meet the following additional requirements to obtain a CDL:

  • 21 years of age or older to obtain a CDL and drive across state lines
  • Provide proof of identity, which may include:
    • Birth certificate
    • Passport
    • Naturalization documentation
    • Immigration documentation
  • Proof of residency
    • Tax records, mortgage documents, lease agreements, etc.
  • Complete the driver’s license application
  • Obtain a PA driver’s license
  • Provide a medical examiner certificate
  • Pass all physical requirements

You will need to demonstrate that you have adequate hearing and sight to be able to drive safely. Applicants will also need to undergo testing, which includes:

Pennsylvania CDL Learners Permit Test
Pennsylvania’s laws require you to pass your written test (outlined below) before obtaining your learner’s permit. The written test will cover various state and federal laws. Course material will cover what’s on the written test, and you can obtain a manual from PennDOT that will have all of the knowledge basics available.

You will need to pass the Knowledge Test Authorization to be able to obtain the permit. You will have one year to complete both the test and practice on-the-road.

The learner’s permit allows you to start practicing real maneuvers on-the-road.

While the permit is valid for one year, you are allowed to take the road test after having the permit for a period of 15 days.

You will need to supply proof of identity, residency and other documentation when applying for your permit.

Pennsylvania Written and Skills CDL Test

The written and skills test will include:

  • Knowledge test:
    • 70 questions for CDL A
    • 50 questions for CDL B or C
    • 30 questions for Hazmat endorsement
  • Road skills test
    • Pre-trip inspections
    • Parking
    • Off-the-road maneuvers

The road skills test requires that you pass the knowledge test and maintain your permit for at least 15 days. You will need to bring the same vehicle class that you’re applying for when taking the skills tests. Most CDL schools will provide you with a vehicle for the test so that you can satisfy your CDL requirements.


Pennsylvania CDL Fees

Costs for your CDL test will vary depending on a few factors. If you have a Hazmat endorsement, a $60 federal fee is added on top of all the fees listed if you have a Hazmat certification.

The fees are:

  • $98.5 for a four-year license renewal
  • $115.5 for a four-year license renewal with Hazmat
  • $54 for a two-year license renewal (65+)
  • $71 for a two-year license renewal with Hazmat (65+)

If you want to upgrade your license with additional endorsements or commercial classes, you’ll be assessed a $14.5 fee.

CDL Endorsement Options in Pennsylvania

Licenses can also have endorsements attached that allow the driver to haul different goods or operate different vehicle types. The endorsement types available are:

  • H which allows for the transport of hazardous materials that require placarding
  • N which allows for the operation of tank vehicles
  • X which allows for the operation of a tank vehicle and to haul hazardous material
  • P which allows for the operation of a commercial vehicle carrying passengers
  • S which allows for the operation of a school bus
  • T which allows for using double and triple trailers when driving

The S endorsement, meant for school bus drivers, will be issued annually.

Restrictions may also be placed on a CDL license. Restrictions may include restricting the driver to vehicles that do not have air brakes, or a restriction may only allow the driver to operate the vehicle class for intrastate commerce.

Classes can be taken to help prepare for CDL endorsement tests.

Searching for a CDL Class in Pennsylvania

If you’re search for a CDL class in PA, use the form below to find schools in your area and learn how to get a CDL in PA for free:

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