Getting your CDL In North Carolina

Getting your CDL In North Carolina

To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in North Carolina, you need to follow several steps. Firstly, you must obtain a CDL learner’s permit, which requires passing a written exam and costs $15. After that, you need to complete a CDL training program through a certified truck driving school or with an employer who offers training. The cost of the training program varies but typically ranges from $3,000 to $8,000.

Once you complete the training program, you can apply for a CDL at any North Carolina DMV office. You will be required to take a skills test that includes a pre-trip inspection, a basic control skills test, and an on-road driving test. The fee for the CDL skills test is $26.

If you pass the skills test, you can then pay for your CDL license, which is currently $40 for a Class A license and $20 for a Class B license. You may also need to pay additional fees for endorsements, depending on your career path.

The total cost of obtaining a CDL in North Carolina can range from around $3,000 to over $8,000, depending on the cost of your training program and any additional fees for endorsements or other requirements.

To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in North Carolina, you need to go through a process that includes meeting specific requirements, completing training, passing written and practical exams, and paying the necessary fees. Please note that the information provided is based on the knowledge available up until September 2021, and there may have been updates or changes since then. It’s always best to consult the official website of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Here is a general outline of the CDL process in North Carolina:

1. Determine the CDL Class: North Carolina offers several classes of CDL, including Class A, Class B, and Class C, depending on the type of vehicle you plan to operate.

2. Eligibility Requirements: Ensure you meet the basic requirements set by the North Carolina DMV. You must be at least 18 years old for an intrastate CDL (within North Carolina) or 21 years old for an interstate CDL (across state lines). You must have a valid regular driver’s license and provide proof of legal presence in the United States.

3. Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP): Before obtaining a CDL, you will need to obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). To get a CLP, you need to pass a written knowledge test specific to the class of CDL you’re seeking. The test covers topics like general knowledge, air brakes (if applicable), combination vehicles (if applicable), and any endorsements you may need. You must also pass a vision screening and provide proper identification.

4. CDL Training: While not mandatory, it is highly recommended to complete a CDL training program to receive professional instruction and hands-on training. CDL training programs can be found at commercial driving schools or community colleges. These programs help prepare you for the CDL skills test and provide valuable knowledge and experience.

5. Skills Test: Once you’ve obtained your CLP and completed your training, you can schedule an appointment with the North Carolina DMV to take the CDL skills test. The skills test typically includes a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and an on-road driving test. You may also need to complete additional tests for specific endorsements.

6. Endorsements: If you plan to operate vehicles with additional features or requirements, such as carrying hazardous materials, transporting passengers, or driving a tanker, you may need to obtain specific endorsements. Endorsements require additional written tests and possibly additional skills tests.

7. Fees: The fees associated with obtaining a CDL in North Carolina may vary. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the base fee for a CDL in North Carolina is $40 for an eight-year license. There may be additional fees for specific endorsements or other services. These fees are subject to change, so it’s best to check the North Carolina DMV website or contact their office directly for the most current fee information.

It’s important to note that additional costs may arise, such as those related to CDL training programs, medical examinations, and background checks.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on CDL requirements and fees in North Carolina, please refer to the official website of the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles or contact their office directly.

Commercial Driver Licenses



Commercial Driver Licenses
​​Commercial driver licenses are required for drivers – paid or volunteer – who operate vehicles in North Carolina that are designed or used to transport passengers or property.


They are not required to drive recreational vehicles, military equipment, fire and/or emergency equipment or certain farm vehicles, but a driver must have a regular license of the appropriate class.

In addition to a commercial driver license, a special endorsement is required to haul hazardous materials, transport passengers, drive school buses and school activity buses, pull double trailers or drive tank vehicles.

Notice: Hazardous Materials Threat Assessment Program 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published a new temporary exemption of the TSA Security Threat Assessment requirement for a Hazardous Materials Endorsement holder whose endorsements expired or will expire before the end of the calendar year. For the duration of this exemption, NCDMV will extend the Security Threat Assessment expiration date for a period of 180 days for all Hazardous Material Endorsement credentials that expire between July 1-Dec. 27. A driver can request the extension at any driver license office. 

Entry-Level Driver Training CDL Applicants

On Feb. 7, 2022, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles implemented entry-level driver training, or ELDT, federal requirements for commercial driver license applicants. 

ELDT must be conducted by a registered training provider listed on the federal Training Provider Registry

Successful completion of ELDT is required on or after Feb. 7, 2022, for applicants who are:

  • Obtaining an CDL (Class A or B);
  • Upgrading an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or 
  • Obtaining a School Bus (S), Passenger (P), or Hazardous Materials (H) endorsement

For more information about ELDT, go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website​

​Appointments Required for CDL Road Tests

Appointments are required for those seeking a Commercial Driver License road test. To make an appointment for a CDL road test only, please call 919-715-7000.​

Driver Licenses


Learn More

Last updated Sep. 29, 2022

Trucking Schools In North Carolina