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Getting a Commercial Driver License or Commercial Learner Permit

You must have a CDL if you operate:

  • Any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or actual gross vehicle weight, whichever is greater, of 26,001 pounds or more;
  • A trailer, or multiple trailers, with a total gross vehicle weight rating or actual gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds when the gross combination weight rating or actual gross combination weight, whichever is greater, of all vehicles combined is 26,001 pounds or more;
  • A vehicle that transports 16 or more passengers (including the driver); or
  • Any size vehicle that is used in the transportation of any material that requires hazardous materials placards or any amount of a material listed as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR, Part 73.

There are exceptions for:

  • Personal-use recreational vehicles;
  • Emergency fire vehicles used by firefighters (ORS 652.050); or
  • Emergency vehicles used by qualified emergency service volunteers (ORS 401.358). 

Use the chart below to help you decide if you need a CDL.

Do I need a CDL graph

​Beginning February 7, 2022, Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) is required for anyone who wants to:

  • ​Obtain a Class A or B Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for the first time.
  • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL.
  • Obtain a passenger, school bus or hazardous materials endorsement for the time.
You must successfully complete ELDT instruction provided by a school or other entity on FMCSA's Training Provider Registry (TPR) prior to scheduling a CDL skills test or taking a hazardous material endorsement knowledge test.

**Watch this FMCSA video to find out more about Entry Level Driver Training**

You are not required to complete applicable ELDT if:
  • You were issued an Oregon commercial learners permit (CLP) before February 7, 2022, as long as you get your CDL before your CLP expires. CLPs are issued for one year.  A CLP issued before February 7, 2022 does not exempt the driver from taking the hazmat endorsement portions of ELDT. ​
  • You have proof that you have held a Class A or B CDL, passenger or school bus endorsement, or hazardous material endorsement at any time in the past.
  • You have received a Military CDL skills test waiver.
Individuals looking for an authorized training provider can use the search feature on the TPR:

Individuals that have completed training and want to verify their ELDT has been uploaded can do so on the TPR:​

For more information or to sign up to receive email updates from FMCSA regarding ELDT, visit the FMCSA’s TPR: ​

Individuals and companies interested in providing ELDT can register as a training provider on the TPR: ​ ​

To get a commercial driver license you must:

To get a commercial learners permit you must:

When applying for a commercial driver license or commercial learner permit, you must certify the type of driving you intend to do. Oregon options:

  • Non-excepted Interstate;
  • Excepted Interstate; or
  • Non-excepted Intrastate.

Interstate Commerce

Interstate commerce is trade, traffic or transportation:

  • Between a place in a state and a place outside the same state;
  • Between two places in a state while going through another state or a place outside of the United States; and
  • Between two places in a state as part of trade, traffic or transportation beginning or ending outside the United States.

In other words, you could take part in interstate commerce even if your vehicle does not leave the state.

Some federal rules and standards do not apply to drivers of vehicles in excepted interstate. These include:

  • School bus operations;
  • Transport by government entities;
  • Some drivers of farm equipment; and
  • Seasonal transport of bees by beekeepers.

DMV strongly recommends that you certify a non-excepted interstate driving type  if you:

  • Meet federal qualifications; or
  • Might operate a commercial motor vehicle in non-excepted interstate commerce.

Otherwise, your commercial driver license or commercial learner permit will be restricted.

Intrastate Commerce

Oregon statute regulates the licensing of commercial drivers in intrastate commerce.

Intrastate commerce is any trade, traffic or transportation in any state that is not described in the term interstate commerce.

We require commercial driver license or commercial learner permit applicants to take one or more knowledge tests depending on the class of license or permit and the endorsements needed.

You can find the information you need to pass Commercial Knowledge Tests in the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual. We offer the tests in English only. Translators are not permitted.

You must pay test fees before taking any test.

Commercial Knowledge Tests

  • General Knowledge Test:  required for commercial learner permit applicants.
  • Combination Vehicles Test:  required to drive Class A combination vehicles.
  • Air Brakes Test:  required to drive vehicles with air brakes.
  • Passenger Endorsement Test:  required to drive Class A or B vehicles designed to transport persons in commerce or Class C vehicles designed  to transport 16 persons or more, including the driver.
  • Tank Endorsement Test:  required to haul liquids or gas in bulk.
  • School Bus Endorsement Test: required to transport students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school sponsored events.
  • Hazardous Materials Endorsement Test: required to haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts which require placards. Must also take test to renew.
  • Doubles/Triples Endorsement Test: required to pull double or triple trailers.

About Knowledge Tests

  • Refer to the "What Sections Should You Study" table in the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual to find out the specific sections you need to study to get the desired endorsements.

Waiving Knowledge Tests

DMV will waive all Commercial Knowledge Tests EXCEPT the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Test if you surrender a current, valid commercial driver license from another U.S. state or Washington D.C.​ for a comparable Oregon Commercial Driver License.

Commercial learner permits from other jurisdictions may not be used to waive Commercial Knowledge Tests.

Note: Knowledge test results are valid for six months from the date the test is passed. Drivers applying for a CLP must complete all application requirements within those six months to be issued a CLP or they will be required to take and pass the knowledge test(s) again.  The hazardous materials and double/triples endorsements cannot be applied to a CLP. 


Schedule a test with a Third Party CDL Tester. 


  • You must get an Oregon Commercial Learner Permit before the test.
  • Tests are​ in English only. Translators are not permitted.

Tests cannot be conducted in a vehicle that:

  • Is transporting any load;
  • Is placarded for hazardous materials;
  • Has more than one trailer;
  • Pulls a trailer that has no brakes or uses surge brakes; or
  • Is clearly illegal or unsafe.

About the Test

Commercial Driver License Skills Tests consist of three parts:

  1. Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
    • You will be asked to complete a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle and explain to the examiner what you should inspect and why.
    • Section 11 of the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual tells you what to inspect and how to inspect it.
  2. Basic Control Skills
    • You will be asked to perform backing exercises to show your ability to control your vehicle.
    • Section 12 of the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual has more information about this portion of the skills test.
  3. On-Road Driving Test
    • The examiner will test you on your ability to safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations that will include:
      • left and right turns;
      • intersections;
      • railway crossings;
      • curves;
      • single and multi-lane roads; and
      • highways.

Section 13 of the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual explains more about this test.

​Note: CDL skills test results are valid for six months from the date the test is passed.  Drivers applying for a CDL must complete all application requirements to be issued a CDL within those six months, or they will need to satisfy any prerequisites (up to and including re-taking/passing knowledge tests and obtaining a new CLP) in order to take and pass the CDL skills test again.

DMV may waive the Class A or B CDL Skills Test requirements for qualified military commercial motor vehicle operators.

DMV will not waive Passenger and School Bus Endorsement Skills Tests.

To apply for a military skills test waiver you must:

  • Hold or be eligible for an Oregon Class C Driver License;
  • Be currently employed, or have been employed within the last 12 months, in a military specialty where one of the primary duties is, or was, the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (e.g. Army MOS 88M, 14T, 92F or 12N, Marine MOS 3531, Navy MOS EO and Air Force AFSC 2T1X1 or 3E2X1);
  • Complete an Oregon Application for Military Skills Test Waiver, signed by you and your commanding officer;
  • Provide a copy of your DD 214 or, if you are currently in military service, a copy of your Military Identification Card;
  • Provide a copy of your military vehicle operator’s permit that DMV can use to properly classify the type of commercial motor vehicle that you operate, or operated. The vehicle must be associated with a specific federal commercial motor vehicle classification that can be verified;
  • Provide proof of legal presence in the U.S.;
  • Otherwise meet the requirements described in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 383.77.

DMV currently requires an appointment for field office visits.  Military skills test waiver applicants must be approved prior to their appointment.  Applications and supporting materials may be submitted electronically or by mail.  If you wish to submit documents electronically, please contact CDL Programs at 503-945-5282 for instructions on how to do so securely.  Alternatively, the application and supporting materials may be sent to:

    Oregon DMV
    CDL Policy Unit
    1905 Lana Ave NE
    Salem, OR  97314

If DMV determines  that you meet the qualifications for the military skills test waiver, a copy of your approval letter, with instructions, will be sent to you.

DMV does not recommend submitting original documents.​​