Looking to get a CDL in Arizona?
Don’t know what license class you need for the specific truck you’re driving?
Confused about the Arizona CDL requirements?
We’re here to help.
In this article, we’re going to give you a complete 2023 guide on how to get a CDL in Arizona. We’ll detail every step, so you know exactly what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how to do it.
CDL Classifications in Arizona
The vehicle you drive determines what commercial license you need to carry. In Arizona, there are 3 types of CDLs:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
Class A CDL
You need a Class A CDL to drive a combination vehicle, meaning a truck and a trailer. The gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of both components must be 26,0001 pounds or more. The trailer, on its own, must have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,0001 pounds or more.
Most people with Class A CDLs are heavy truck drivers, dispatchers, and couriers. You can also operate Class B and Class C vehicles with a Class A CDL.
Class B CDL
This can operate a single-motor vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more. If you’re driving a combination vehicle, the towed trailer should be less than 10,000 pounds.
The type of vehicles you may operate may include the following:
- Straight trucks
- Box trucks (such as delivery trucks)
- Large buses (such as school, city, and tourist buses)
- Dump trucks with small trailers
If you have a Class B CDL, you may also operate Class C vehicles, but not those categorized as Class A.
Class C CDL
As for Class C, it can operate vehicles with a GCWR of less than 26,000 pounds. Plus, this class usually comes with an endorsement attached to it.
For example, if you transport hazardous material with a vehicle less than 26,000 pounds, you need a Hazardous Material Endorsement (HME) for this.
Another situation is if your vehicle transports 16 or more passengers, including the driver. You will need a Passenger (P) endorsement attached to your Class C CDL.
Who Can Get a CDL in Arizona
Are you eligible to get a CDL in Arizona?
Let’s see if you can check all the basic requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old. If you’re driving across state lines, you need to be at least 21 years old.
- Show proof of residency.
- Show proof of identity. Click here for a list of documents for proof of identity and residency.
- Have a Social Security Number.
- Hold a Class D license that has been valid for 1 year.
- Have a medical examiner certificate. Click here for the form.
- Pass a background check. If you have certain offenses on your record, the AZ DOT will determine if you can qualify for a CDL or not.
These are the basic requirements you need. Now, let’s get to the actual steps to obtaining a CDL in Arizona.
How to Get a CDL in Arizona
You’ll need to go through 3 main phases to get your CDL in Arizona.
Phase One: Getting a Commercial Driver’s Permit
1. Ensure you meet the basic requirements stated above.
2. Complete the Commercial Driver’s License Application form.
3. Pass the knowledge test.
4. Pay the fee. Note that the amount changes depending on which CDL you need. The fees are as follows:
o Class A or B permit, no endorsements: $25
o Class C permit: $12.50
o Duplicate permit: $2
o Doubles/triples trailers endorsement: $10
o Tank endorsement: $10
o HME: $10
o Motorcycle endorsement: $7
o School bus endorsement: No fee
o Passenger endorsement: $10
Your permit expires in 6 months. You can use this time to practice driving a vehicle in your CDL class.
Phase Two: Complete the Required Training
Part of the process is completing CDL license training. Enacted on February 7, 2023, all new CDL applicants must undergo an ELDT program from a certified provider.
Phase Three: Getting a Commercial Driver’s License
1. Ensure that you have a valid CLP. Note: you can take the skills test if you have held your CLP for 14 days and passed the required training.
2. Take the CDL skills tests. You must pass all 3 parts — the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test.
Keep in mind that you must have your own vehicle for the road test. If you can’t provide that, consider taking it from an authorized third-party driver’s license examiner as they may be able to let you use theirs.
Another thing to note is, if you’re moving from a Class C to Class B or Class B to Class A license, you need to undergo another road test.
Arizona CDL Endorsements
An endorsement grants you additional driving privileges without needing multiple licenses.
Now, there are several endorsements that drivers with CDLs commonly get in Arizona. The most common 2 are hazardous material endorsement and school bus driver endorsement.
Here’s what you need to do if you want to secure these.
Hazardous Material Endorsement
1. Fill out an application form specifically for the Hazardous Materials Endorsement.
2. Pass the necessary knowledge tests.
4. Submit it to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) through either of these channels:
o Online, through https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/
o By phone, through (855) 347 8371 (TSA HazMat’s Call Center)
Remember, the CDL office cannot grant a HazMat endorsement if you only have a permit. You must already have a CDL, which you get once you’ve passed the road test.
If it’s your first time applying for a HazMat endorsement, you must complete the TSA Background Record Check (BRC). It remains valid for 5 years. You’ll receive notification from the MVD 60 days before your BRC’s expiration.
Also, The TSA approval may take time. You can choose to receive your CDL while your TSA application is still pending. Once you have it, return to the office for your endorsement’s issuance.
Bus and School Bus Driver Endorsements
Drivers who operate a school bus need two endorsements: Passenger (P) and School Bus (S).
If you’re applying for the first time, remember that you need to take the road test in the appropriate vehicles for these endorsements.
Drivers who already have CDLs and only want to add a P or S endorsement must get a permit using the vehicle they intend to drive. You’ll also need to pay the corresponding fees.
Part of the requirement is undergoing a CDL pre-trip, basic controls, road and skills tests in the class of bus or school bus you’re using. It costs an additional $5 for the testing fee.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we end, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CDLs in Arizona.
What disqualifies you from getting a CDL in Arizona?
There are several possible causes for CDL disqualifications in Arizona. These are:
- Major offenses such as driving under the influence or while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident involving a CMV, or committing a felony.
- Severe traffic violations like reckless driving or violating laws against the use of mobile communication devices while being behind the wheel.
- Violating an Out-of-Service Order, which states a driver with a CDL or CDP must not operate a CMV for a while.
- Violation of local, state, or federal regulations on a railroad-highway crossing.
- Failure to pass the mandatory TSA Background Record Check for drivers looking for HazMat endorsements.
- Traffic violations on your personal vehicle that led to license revocation, suspension, or cancelation.
How long does it take to get a CDL in Arizona?
The end-to-end process of getting your CDL in Arizona may take anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks, depending on how fast or slow you finish phase 2 – the ELT program.
Note: taking a full-time course may allow you to complete your requirements sooner.
If you decide to maximize your CLP’s validity (6 months) for more behind-the-wheel practice, your timeline may extend to a total of 7 months.
Another thing. Endorsements add to the total number of school hours you need, so having multiple ones may cause your timeline to lengthen.
What requires a CDL in Arizona?
Class A vehicles include tractor-trailers, tractor-trailer buses, and truck and trailer combinations.
In comparison, straight trucks are examples of Class B vehicles. Box trucks, such as delivery trucks, also fall under this classification. These also include school, city, and tourist buses.
Lastly, Class C vehicles consist of large passenger vans and small HAZMAT trucks. A small truck towing a trailer may also require a Class C CDL.
Wrapping It Up
Since it requires more skill, getting a CDL has different requirements from a regular driver’s license.
However, as long as you have the necessary information, you should be able to go through the process with no problem.
Remember, it all begins with fulfilling the basic requirements and getting your CLP.
So if you’re looking to get hold of a CLP license, then follow this complete 2023 guide on Arizona CDL requirements.