Did you know that there are 5 types of driver’s licenses in Florida?
Each of these licenses can operate a specific vehicle.
This is why it’s important to be familiar with the different Florida driver’s license classes.
And this is also why we’re taking the time to give you a complete guide on all these classes.
Plus, we’ll tell you how to get each one.
So are you ready?
Let’s dive right in!
What Are the Driver’s License Classes in Florida?
Here are the 5 Florida driver’s license classes:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
- Class E
The first 3 are commercial driver’s licenses, while the last 2 are non-commercial. So let’s go through each of them one by one.
Class A is the highest CDL in Florida. You use it to operate combination vehicles with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or heavier. It must also tow a unit with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) that weighs 10,001 or more.
Since it’s the highest form, you’ll be authorized to drive Class B and Class C vehicles if you have a Class A CDL.
Straight, heavy vehicles fall under the Class B category. These are commercial motor vehicles that have a GVWR of 26,001 or heavier. If it’s towing a unit, the weight of the unit must NOT exceed 10,000 pounds.
Carrying a Class B CDL allows you to operate Class C CMVs, but not those considered Class A.
The last CLD is Class C, which is necessary for:
- Vehicles with a GVWR of less than 26,0001 pounds
- Vehicles that transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
- Vehicles that have cargo that is considered hazardous materials and requires a placard
Drivers that operate vehicles that don’t require a CDL must carry a Class E license. You need one if you drive any of the following:
- Non-commercial vehicles with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds
- 2 or 3-wheeled motor vehicles with an engine size of 50cc or less
Farmers and those who drive authorized emergency vehicles also need this license class.
As the name implies, this license is for drivers who operate 2 or 3-wheeled vehicles with engine sizes more than 50cc.
Now, if a motorcycle is not the only vehicle you drive, it’s possible to get a Class E license and add a motorcycle endorsement to it.
So you already know the Florida driver’s license classes. Let’s see now how to get each one.
How to Get A Class E License in Florida
Let’s begin with Class E licenses since they’re the most common.
Florida follows a graduated driver’s license program. You’ll need to get a learner’s license first, then have an intermediate one before getting an unrestricted license.
We’ll go through each stage.
Getting a Learner’s License in Florida
You are eligible for a learner’s license when you turn 15. Here’s what you need to do to get one:
- Take a Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course or an equivalent program.
- Apply for your learner’s license in person. Go to the FLHSMV website and check which driver license service center is nearest your location. Reach out to them and see whether you need to set an appointment or not.
- Gather these documents and bring them to the service center:
- Proof of identity. It must indicate your full name and date of birth
- Proof of Social Security
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must show documentation of your legal presence
- Proof of residence in Florida
- A filled-out HSMV Form 71142.
NOTE: Your parent or guardian must sign the HSMV Form in the presence of a Driver License Service Center Employee or a Notary Public. If you are married or emancipated, you do not have to submit this form, but you must present supporting documents of your status.
- Pass the vision test.
- Pass the hearing test.
- Have your picture taken.
- Pass the knowledge exam.
- Pay the $48 license fee. You must pay an additional $6.25 if your service center is part of a county tax collector office.
Congratulations! You now have your learner’s license!
You can start practicing driving while a licensed adult (at least 21 years old) supervises you. You cannot drive at night for the first 3 months. Starting on your 4th month, you can operate a vehicle after sunset but only until 10:00 pm.
Getting Your Intermediate License in Florida
When you’ve held your learner’s license for 1 year without getting involved in accidents or committing moving violations, you can apply for an intermediate license.
Here are the steps to getting your intermediate license in Florida:
- Complete 50 hours of supervised driving. 10 of these must be at night.
- Schedule and pass the Class E driving test.
NOTE: You must bring your own vehicle if you’re taking the road test in one of Florida’s Driver License Service Centers. If you plan to take it with a third-party provider, ask if they can provide a vehicle.
- Surrender your learner’s license in exchange for your intermediate license.
And just like that, you’re done with stage 2!
However, don’t forget that an intermediate license has some driving restrictions. These are as follows:
- You can drive unsupervised from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm only until you turn 17
- Your unsupervised driving hours become 5:00 am to 1:00 am until you turn 18
- Beyond these windows, a licensed adult driver must be with you in the front passenger seat
Getting a Class E License in Florida
The state lifts all restrictions on your intermediate license when you turn 18. You don’t have to exchange it for a new one unless that’s what you prefer.
Most drivers wait until their intermediate license is about to expire. You’ll get a new full-privileged one when you complete the renewal process.
How to Get Classes A, B, and C Licenses in Florida
There is only one process to get a CDL in Florida, regardless of whether you need a Class A, B, or C license.
Like a Class E license, you don’t get unrestricted privileges immediately. First, you need to get a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
Getting Your CLP in Florida
Here are the steps to getting a CLP in Florida:
- Identify the CDL type and endorsements you need.
- Choose a Driver License Service Center and check if you need to schedule an appointment.
- Gather and submit the necessary documents. These include:
- A valid Class E Florida license
- A valid DOT medical card
- Proof of Social Security number
- Proof of identity and residency
- Take and pass the knowledge exams.
- Pass the vision test.
- Self-certify through FLHSMV’s online portal and pass the medical exam.
- Pay the license fee worth $75. There’s a $6.25 service fee if you go to a location that’s part of the county tax collector office.
You’ll receive your CLP after that.
Getting Your CDL in Florida
Next, you’ll work on getting your unrestricted CDL. Here’s how to do it:
- Carry your CLP for at least 14 days.
- Complete the required ELDT program.
- Schedule and pass your road test.
- Bring your documents to the local Division of Driver Licenses and get your CDL.
Congratulations! You now have a commercial driver’s license!
How to Get A Motorcycle Only License in Florida
Last, let’s talk about how you can get a Motorcycle-Only License.
- Get your learner’s permit.
NOTE: You can get this by following the steps for a Class E learner’s license. Even the knowledge exam you need to pass is the same.
After getting your permit, you can drive a motorcycle if you have an experienced rider with you. You can’t move on to the next step of the process until you’ve had your learner’s permit for a year without committing any violations.
- Complete the required Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or the Basic RiderCourse updated (BRCu). Remember, the body sponsoring the safety program must be authorized.
- Visit a Driver License Service Center and tell them you’ve finished the course.
NOTE: They should already have this in their files, but you can bring a copy of your certification.
- Pay the $48 licensing fee and the $6.25 service charge (only if your Driver License Service Center is part of the county’s tax collection office).
- Present a valid ID and get your motorcycle-only license.
Congratulations! You can now drive a motorcycle in Florida!
So that was your complete guide to all the Florida driver’s license classes.
Remember, class E is your most common driver’s license.
Classes A, B, and C are for commercial use only. The different classes will depend mostly on the weight of the truck you will be operating.
As for a motorcycle-only license, you can get it if you are only going to drive a motorcycle and nothing else. If not, then you can just add the M endorsement to your Class E license.
So, what’s next? Figure out which license you need and start working on it!