Getting your CDL in South Dakota

Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in South Dakota involves several steps and costs. Here is an overview of the process and associated fees:

1. Meet the age and residency requirements: You must be at least 18 years old, or 21 years old for interstate driving, and have a valid South Dakota driver’s license.
2. Obtain a medical certificate: You will need to pass a physical examination by a certified medical examiner to prove you are physically capable of operating a commercial motor vehicle. The cost of the medical examination 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 $7 per endorsement.
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 per endorsement. With a CLP, you can practice driving under supervision.
5. Complete CDL training: You must complete a CDL training program from an approved provider or receive employer-sponsored training.
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 $25 to obtain your CDL.

The cost of getting a CDL in South Dakota ranges from around $200 to $500 depending on the type of endorsement and training program. It is important to research your options and choose a reputable provider that meets your needs and budget.


To obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in South Dakota, 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 South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Here is a general outline of the CDL process in South Dakota:

  1. Determine the CDL Class: South Dakota 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 South Dakota DPS. You must be at least 18 years old for an intrastate CDL (within South Dakota) 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 South Dakota DPS 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 South Dakota may vary. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the base fee for a CDL in South Dakota is $28 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 South Dakota DPS 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 South Dakota, please refer to the official website of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety or contact their office directly.


South Dakota
Commercial Driver License

 

*************   IMPORTANT NOTICE   *************

Entry-Level Driver Training (EDLT)

FMCA’s Entry Level Driver Training became a requirement on February 7, 2022.  This includes those applying to:

  • Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;
  • Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
  • Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.

FMCSA Video on ELDT Eligibility for Drivers

Looking for information on which drivers are required to take entry-level driver training?  The FMCSA has released a video to help answer this question.  Click the image below to watch and learn more!

  

 

Training Provider Registry (TPR)

The FMCSA Training Provider Registry will retain a record of which CDL applicants have completed the new ELDT training and certification process outlined in the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations.  

For more information about the ELDT regulations and the Training Provider Registry (TPR), click here.

There are no state-specific CDL training requirements.

Other Important Notices

Beware of recent FMSCA scam concerning your CDL — click the plus sign at right for more information.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been notified of a phishing scam that you may receive from the FMCSA “Assistant of Administration” claiming you need to “complete your most recent up-to-date membership License certificate.”   If you receive any suspicious email from info@fmcsa.dot.gov or any other entity that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, please delete the email from your inbox.  Once the email has been deleted from your in-box,  go into your deleted mail folder and delete it from your deleted mailbox.  Doing this will limit the exposure of the phishing email.

Note that the only legitimate way to log in to the Training Provider Registry is via login.gov.  Never enter your email address and password into a third-party website claiming to give you access to the Training Provider Registry.

CDL Waiver Extended

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an extension on their existing CDL waiver until November 30, 2022.  For South Dakota CDL holders this means:

  • We will continue to waive the 14-day waiting period from CLP issuance to skill test date until November 30, 2022.

For official documentation and full explanation, click here.

TSA Temporary Exemption for Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) holders.

TSA is granting a temporary exemption from requirements regarding the expiration of TSA Security Threat Assessments (STAs) for Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) holders, states may extend the expiration date of an HME that expires between July 1, 2022 and December 27, 2022, for a period of up to 180 days. 

This exemption becomes effective on September 15, 2022 and remains in effect thorugh December 27, 2022, unless otherwise modified by TSA through a note published in the Federal Register. 

Apply for a South Dakota CDL

You must have a South Dakota Commercial Driver License (CDL) if you’re operating a vehicle:

  • With a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds or any such vehicle towing a trailer with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more
  • Designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver)
  • Any size vehicle which requires hazardous materials placards or is carrying material listed as a select agent or toxin in 49 CFR Part 73

To apply for your South Dakota CDL or Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), you’ll need to have a valid South Dakota Driver License and a few other things:

You’ll also need to take a CDL driving skills test at a third party testing site. Keep in mind that drive tests must be scheduled at least two business days in advance, and you must drive on your CLP for 14 days prior to taking the drive test. Third-party testers charge $90 plus tax for a driving skills test. No testing is required to transfer a valid CDL from another state unless you are applying for a hazardous materials endorsement.

For motor carrier information including rules, ports of entry and permitting, visit South Dakota Truck Info.

 

Military Personnel

Military Skills Test Waiver Program

If you have a military license issued by any military facility that allows you to operate a military commercial vehicle, there is the possibility you can use it to obtain a South Dakota CDL.  This process allows you to obtain a CDL by waiving the skills test due to your experience and training with these vehicles in the military.  To qualify for the skills test waiver program:

  • You must still pass the commercial knowledge testing required to operate the requested commercial vehicles.
  • You must be a South Dakota resident and have a valid SD driver’s license.
  • This waiver does not cover Hazardous Materials or School Bus endorsements.
  • This waiver is ONLY available to current and former members (within one year after separation/retirement) of the military service, including Reserve and National Guard units.

Military Knowledge and Skills Test Waiver “Even Exchange” Program

If you have been regularly employed in a qualifying Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) and have a military license issued by any military facility that allows you to operate a military commercial vehicle, there is the possibility that you can use it to evenly exchange for a South Dakota CDL.  This process allows you to obtain a CDL by waiving the knowledge testing and skills testing requirements due to your experience and training with these vehicles in the military.  To qualify for the “Even Exchange” program, the following applies:

  • You must provide evidence and verification on the Military Skills Test Waiver application form by your commanding officer that you have been regularly employed within the last year in one of the following specified Military Occupational Specialties (MOS):
    • US Army- 88M, 92F, or 14T
    • US Air Force- 2T1, 2F0, or 3E2
    • US Marine Corps- 3531
    • US Navy- EO
  • The Operator Qualification Record must be submitted with this application.
  • You must be a South Dakota resident and have a valid SD driver’s license.
  • This waiver does not cover Hazardous Materials or School Bus Endorsements.

This waiver is ONLY available to current and former members (within one year after separation/retirement) of the military service, including Reserve and National Guard units.

Application Process

To receive credit for your military experience with commercial vehicles, you must send the following documents to our department.  You can obtain the forms online by clicking here or visit any South Dakota Driver License Exam Station location.

  • Military Skills Test Waiver Application 
    • Complete Section 1 yourself​
    • Section 2 will need to be completed by your Training or Commanding Officer
  • Proof of current or previous military service
    • This can be your DD-214/NGB-22 military discharge papers or current military ID card
    • 2 most recent years of W-2 forms from the military
    • The Operators Qualification Record (for the Even Exchange)

CDL Program staff will review the application and notify the applicant in writing if the knowledge and/or skills test waiver has been approved or denied. 

  • If approved, the applicant will have 30 days from the mailing date of their approval letter to visit a South Dakota Driver License Exam Station to have the waiver processed.
  • If approved only for the skills test waiver, the knowledge tests must be passed prior to a commercial license being issued.

The applicant will need to pay appropriate licensing fees and meet the commercial vision and medical standards.

Mail your completed application, along with your phone number, email address, and the other necessary documents to:

South Dakota Driver Licensing Program
118 West Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

Find A Trucking School Near You

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *