How to Get a CDL License in Florida - CDL (2023)

Florida commercial drivers license requirements are similar to most other states. The state does not allow triple trailers on their roadways. If you want to get behind the wheel of a big rig, school bus or other commercial vehicle, you need to know how to get a CDL license in Florida.

First, you need to choose the appropriate CDL type for the vehicle you plan on driving.

Types of CDL Licenses in Florida

The State of Florida has three main types of CDL licenses. If you want to know how to get a CDL license in Florida, it’s important to know what types of licenses are made available to you. A Florida Class A license is the license that most commercial drivers will want to obtain.

But the three main license types are:

  • Class A: A Class A license is required to operate trucks that have a gross weight of 26,001+ pounds and tow a vehicle over 10,000+ pounds.
  • Class B: A Class B license allows for buses or straight trucks weighing 26,001+ pounds or more to be operated.
  • Class C: A Class C license allows for the operation of vehicles that transport 16 or more people or vehicles to be driven carrying hazardous materials. Vehicle gross weight rating must be less than 26,001 pounds.

Smaller trucks require a Class C license while anyone wanting to start their career as a long haul or OTR trucker will want to obtain their CDL Class A license in Florida.

Florida CDL Requirements

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Florida’s rules and requirements for CDLs are straightforward.

All applicants must have a valid state license, and you must be at least 21 years of age to drive interstate. Applicants can obtain their CDL as young as 18, but a CDL holder under the age of 21 can only operate vehicles intrastate.

(Video) How to Get Your CDL in the State of Florida - CDL Driving Academy

The complete list of requirements that must be met to obtain your CDL include:

  • 18 years of age for intrastate driving; 21 years of age for interstate driving
  • Valid driver’s license with no cancellation or revocation
  • Meet all medical requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
  • Pass and obtain your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) test
  • Provide proof that you’re not subject to disqualification
  • Ability to speak and write in English

Schooling will provide you with all of the key knowledge you need to pass your CDL test. CDL schools in Florida will also provide you with behind-the-wheel training on a commercial vehicle and will allow you to use their rigs during your test.

All drivers must also be able to pass:

  • Hearing tests, which are required for all commercial vehicle drivers.
  • Vision tests, which allow 20/40 vision in each eye without lenses.

Medical testing will also be extensive to ensure that you’re fully capable of driving safely. You will need to have a blood pressure of 140/90 or lower. A urinalysis will be performed to find any hidden health issues that may impact your ability to drive safely.

Physical impairments will require a driver to obtain what is known as a “variance” from the state.

The variance will ensure that the driver is able to confidently drive a commercial vehicle and that the driver’s impairment will not impact their performance or driving safety.

Any medications that a driver may be taking for health conditions will also be taken into account during the medical exam.

Prescriptions that can make someone drowsy or make it unsafe to operate a commercial vehicle may cause a potential CDL holder to be denied their ability to operate a commercial vehicle.

(Video) Free CDL School Florida

You may also be disqualified from obtaining a CDL in Florida.

A disqualification will occur in the following circumstances:

  • You’re deemed an imminent hazard on the road
  • You’ve been convicted and found guilty a DWI/DUI
  • You leave the scene of an accident
  • You are convicted of the manufacturing or distribution of controlled substances
  • You refuse to take an alcohol test
  • You’re convicted of serious traffic violations, including:
    • Reckless driving
    • Operating a vehicle in excess of 15 miles per hour over the speed limit
    • Erratic or improper lane changes

You will want to ensure that you’re not disqualified from obtaining a CDL license in Florida under any other offenses not on this list.

Out-of-State CDL Holders and Military CDL Holders

Florida does reciprocate out of state commercial driver’s licenses. The only exception to the rule is a hazmat endorsement. You will have to take the state’s hazmat test to be able to receive this endorsement.

Military CDL holders will have to pass knowledge and endorsement testing.

Florida offers a waiver for the skills test that must be filled out and submitted before applying for your CDL.

Florida CDL Learners Permit Training

Anyone seeking to meet all Florida CDL requirements will need to obtain a conditional learner’s permit before obtaining their CDL. The learner’s permit allows the driver to be able to practice driving a commercial vehicle with the requirement that a person with a CDL license in the state is riding along with you.

Obtaining a learner’s permit will require you to have a Florida driver’s license and also pass the following:

(Video) Tutorial How To Get Your FL CDL Learners Permit - The EASY WAY!

  • Vision test
  • Knowledge exam
  • Medical exam

You will also need to provide proof of resident and identity. A review of your driving record will also be conducted. The review will include 10 years of past driving. Once you obtain your CDL learner’s permit, you will need to wait for a minimum of 14 days before taking your CDL test.

Florida Written and Skills CDL Test

Anyone who wants to obtain their CDL in Florida must go through testing first. CDL tests will include a variety of skills and written tests that need to be completed. Testing requirements for each of the three CDL types is different.

The testing you can expect includes:

Class A CDL

  • General knowledge
  • Air brakes
  • Pre-trip
  • Basic skills
  • Combinations test

Class B CDL

  • General knowledge
  • Air brakes (when applicable)
  • Pre-trip
  • Basic skills
  • Combinations test

Class C CDL

  • General knowledge
  • Air brakes (when applicable)
  • Pre-trip
  • Basic skills
  • Combinations test

A road test will also be required to demonstrate that the trucker has the knowledge needed to drive a commercial vehicle. You will have to supply your own vehicle for the test, but schools will provide the vehicle for you.

Florida CDL Testing Fees

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All CDL fees are subject to change, so make sure to re-check these figures before taking any of the respective classes. Florida CDL requirements always come with a schooling requirement and a fee to apply.

Fees help cover the administrative costs of the Division of Driver Licenses.

The fees are their respective courses are:

  • $75 for an original or renewal of your CDL
  • $7 for all endorsements
  • $10 for all knowledge exam retests
  • $20 for all skill exam retests

Fees must be paid before taking your knowledge exams. You will be granted three attempts to pass each portion of your exam.

Florida Endorsement Options

Florida’s CDL endorsements are able to apply to all three license types. Commercial truckers do not need to obtain these endorsements, but they do allow for specialized hauling and higher-paying hauls.

Endorsements will require special testing and fees.

Six main endorsements are available for Florida CDL holders:

  • Hazmat (H) – an endorsement that allows placarded hazardous materials to be hauled. The endorsement requires the applicant to pass a written test.
  • Tank Vehicle (N) – an endorsement allowing the trucker to operate tank vehicles. A written test is required for this endorsement.
  • Passengers (P) – an endorsement required to operate buses or vehicles that will have 15 or more people including the driver. Applicants will need to pass a written and skills test for this endorsement.
  • School Bus (S) – an endorsement that can only be obtained by someone with their P endorsement. This endorsement allows for the operation of school buses.
  • Double/Triple Trailers (T) – an endorsement that allows for double and triple trailer operation. A written exam must be passed for this endorsement. Note: Florida does not allow triple trailers to be operated on Florida roads.
  • Hazmat & Tank Vehicle (X) – an endorsement issued after a driver has obtained both the H and N endorsement.

P and S endorsements are the only two endorsements which require a skills test. Drivers will be able to obtain all of the other endorsements by taking their respective written tests.

(Video) How To Get Your CDL For Free| How I got my CDL for Free

Searching for a CDL Class in Florida

If you’re ready to start a budding career as a trucker in Florida, it’s time to apply to CDL schools in Florida to get started.

Fill out the form below to search for schools in your area:


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