Getting your CDL in Rhode Island

Getting your CDL in Rhode Island

To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Rhode Island, you must follow certain steps and meet specific requirements. Here is an overview of the process and prices:

1. Meet the age and residency requirements: You must be at least 18 years old and have been a resident of Rhode Island for at least 30 days.

2. Obtain a medical certificate: You need to pass a physical examination from a certified medical examiner that proves you are physically capable of operating a commercial motor vehicle. The cost of the medical certificate varies depending on the examiner.

3. Pass the CDL knowledge test: You must pass a written knowledge test that covers general driving knowledge and specific information related to commercial driving. The fee for the knowledge test is $30.

4. Obtain a learner’s permit: You must obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) by passing the knowledge test and paying a fee of $10. With a CLP, you can practice driving under the supervision of a licensed CDL holder.

5. Complete CDL training: You must complete a CDL training program from an approved provider or receive employer-sponsored training. The cost of training varies based on the provider and the length of the program.

6. Pass the CDL skills test: You must pass a skills test that includes pre-trip inspection, basic control skills, and a road test. The fee for the skills test is $50.

7. Obtain your CDL: If you pass the skills test, you will need to pay a fee of $131.50 to obtain your CDL.

The cost of getting a CDL in Rhode Island ranges from around $1,500 to $10,000, depending on the provider and other factors such as endorsements and additional fees. Be sure to research your options and choose a reputable provider that meets your needs and budget.

In summary, the process of getting a CDL in Rhode Island involves meeting age and residency requirements, obtaining a medical certificate, passing the CDL knowledge test, obtaining a learner’s permit, completing CDL training, passing the CDL skills test, and obtaining your CDL by paying the necessary fees.


To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Rhode Island, 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 Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Here is a general outline of the CDL process in Rhode Island:

  1. Determine the CDL Class: Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island DMV. You must be at least 18 years old for an intrastate CDL (within Rhode Island) 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island may vary. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the base fee for a CDL in Rhode Island is $71.50 for a five-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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island, please refer to the official website of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles or contact their office directly.


Commercial (CDL)

Breaking News

Effective immediately Medical Certificates will be required at the time of application/Knowledge Testing for CDL.

Commercial Transaction

The Division of Motor Vehicles processes renewals by mail, drop box, or in-person with a reservation. 

** Please Note: CDL licenses can only be renewed 45 days prior to expiration

  • By Mail : Send the completed CDL-1 (Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application) or Renewal form (forms received by mail) and any supporting documentation to the Division of Motor Vehicles Attn: RI DMV – CDL Office, 600 New London Avenue, Cranston RI 02920
  • Drop Box: Deposit the completed CDL-1(Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application) or Renewal form (forms received by mail) and any supporting documentation in drop boxes located at all DMV branch locations. Documents must be notarized when required if using the drop box. The drop box is accessible only during normal business hours – Monday thru Friday, 8:30 am  – 3:30 pm
  • Online Renewals can be processed online here.

ELDT (Entry-Level Driver Training)

Attention all CDL Drivers and Schools- Effective 02/07/2022

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) is a set of new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) minimum training standards for commercial driver license (CDL) holders and applicants. ELDT is required for drivers applying the first time for a Class A or Class B CDL; upgrading existing CDL’s (Class B CDL to Class A CDL); or adding the following endorsements: hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S).

State driver licensing agencies are required to verify CDL applicant’s ELDT completion prior to allowing applicants to take a skills test for a Class A or Class B CDL, or a passenger (P) or school bus (S) endorsement, or a knowledge test prior to obtaining the hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.

FMCSA has a compliance date of February 7, 2022, for training providers to upload driver training certification to the Training Provider Registry, and for the state, driver licensing agencies to confirm driver applicants have met the ELDT requirements.

ELDT is a FMCSA program and is not administered by the Rhode Island DMV. For more information please select one of the links below or call the FMCSA information line at 1-800-832-5660 or the FMCSA Rhode Island Field Office at 401-431-6010.

Entry-level driver training information 

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Notice from FMCSA Regarding Training Provider Registry

FMCSA updated the Entry-Level Driver Training Provider Registry website to enable training provider registration. Training providers can visit here.

The Training Provider Registry will:

  • Provide a list of training providers who have registered with FMCSA and self-certified that they meet the Federal requirements in the Entry-Level Driver Training (EDLT) final rule.
  • Retain information about which CDL applicants have successfully completed entry-level driver training so that States can verify completion of entry-level driver training prior to administering a CDL skills or knowledge test.

Only training providers that register with FMCSA through the Training Provider Registry, and certify their compliance with Federal and State regulations, will appear on the public list and be able to submit information certifying a driver’s successful completion of training.

Resources for Training Providers

Training providers can access the following resources on the TPR website:

Resources for Enforcement

  • Download registration talking points for responding to training provider questions.
  • Enforcement personnel and SDLA staff can access additional resources here.  

The ELDT regulations will improve safety by ensuring that all entry-level drivers receive and successfully complete comprehensive training from a self-certified training provider prior to obtaining a CDL, upgrade, or endorsement.

For more information about the ELDT requirements or the Training Provider Registry, FMCSA personnel can contact Joshua Jones, FMCSA CDL Division, at Joshua.Jones@dot.gov.

All CDL transactions are done at the DMV headquarters in Cranston.

State Requirements for Certification as an ELDT Provider

In addition to meeting the federal requirements set forth in the FMCSRs, applicants wishing to become certified to provide ELDT training and be listed in the Training Provider Registry must comply with state regulatory provisions. ELDT training encompasses both theory (classroom) training, as well as behind the wheel (practical) training. The requirements that must be met and the agencies that provide oversight are different depending on the type of training offered.

Classroom/Theory Training

In order to provide classroom/theory training for compensation, a Training Provider must obtain a proprietary school license through the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner. If you wish to apply for a proprietary school license, please email DMV.ELDT@DMV.RI.GOV.

In the event that the training is being performed by an employer or state/municipal body for the benefit of its employees and no funding is received for the training, the Training Provider may apply for an exemption from the proprietary school requirement. Please complete the OPC Exemption Application below and email it to DMV.ELDT@DMV.RI.GOV.

Behind the Wheel Training

In order to provide behind the wheel training for compensation, a Training Provider must obtain a commercial driving school license and/or an instructor’s license, both of which are issued by the DMV. Please complete the appropriate application below and email it to DMV.ELDT@DMV.RI.GOV.

In the event that the training is being performed by an employer or state/municipal body for the benefit of its employees and no funding is received for the training, the Training Provider must submit an affidavit attesting to the fact that the training program is not open to the public and funding is not received for the training. Under the conditions set forth in the affidavit, a commercial school and/or instructor’s license is not required. Please complete the DMV ELDT Affidavit below and email it to DMV.ELDT@DMV.RI.GOV .

Resources

Trucking Schools In Rhode Island