How to Get A CDL in Colorado (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Get A CDL in Colorado (A Complete Guide)

Applying for a CDL in Colorado?

You might have a lot of questions about the process, requirements, and fees.

We’re here to help. 

In this complete guide on how to get a CDL in Colorado, we’ll give you ALL the details. We won’t leave anything out — from picking a CDL class and endorsement to the steps to getting your CDL. 

So are you ready?

Let’s begin!

Colorado CDL Classes 

There are 3 CDL classes in Colorado. 

The one you choose will depend on what you’re going to drive.

So let’s go over the classes and what vehicles they can operate:

1. Class A (Combination Vehicles)

  • Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. 
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed should be more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Includes truck-tractor/ semi-trailer or truck and trailer combinations. 
  • Holders may drive vehicles in Classes B and C.

2. Class B (Straight Vehicles)

  • GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more (single vehicle). 
  • A towed vehicle should be less than 10,000 pounds (GVWR). 
  • Examples include straight trucks, dump trucks, large buses, as well as articulated buses.
  • Holders can drive class C vehicles.

3. Class C (Combination and Straight Vehicles) 

  • GVWR less than 26,001 pounds (single vehicle).
  • Towed vehicle must be less than 10,000 pounds (GVWR). 
  • Usually includes vehicles that carry 16 or more individuals (the driver included).
  • Used to transport hazardous materials or carry materials listed as a select agent or toxin.

So which CDL class fits the vehicle you’re planning on operating?

That’s the class you should get. 

Colorado CDL Endorsements 

There are certain vehicle uses that require an endorsement on top of your CDL class. 

Let’s look at these Colorado CDL endorsements to see if you need any:

1. Double and Triple Trailers (T)

  • If you wish to pull double or triple trailers

2. Tank Vehicle (N) 

  • If you drive a vehicle that transports any liquid or gaseous materials within a tank
  • If you drive vehicles with tanks permanently or temporarily attached to their chassis.

3. Passengers (P)

  • If you wish to drive a vehicle carrying 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

4. Hazardous Materials (H) 

  • If you haul any type of material designated as hazardous and /or s required to be placarded
  • If you haul select agents or toxins listed in 42 CFR Part 73 (any quantity)

5. Combination Hazardous Materials and Tank Vehicle (X)

  • If you drive tank vehicles to haul hazardous materials or waste in amounts requiring placards.

6. School Buses (S)

  • If you wish to drive a school bus in any vehicle class (A, B, or C).

On top of the endorsements, restrictions may be added to your CDL. This includes: 

  • (E) – No manual transmission
  • (K) – Intrastate only
  • (L) – No Air brake equipped CMV
  • (M) – No Class A passenger vehicle

These restrictions will be based on the vehicle you used for your skills test. 

In Colorado, the K restriction is also used to designate:

  • Drivers who are between 18 to 20 years old
  • Drivers who failed to meet the Department of Transportation’s medical requirements and instead issued a waiver that allows them to operate a CDL vehicle.

Okay, so now you’ve picked your CDL class and endorsement, but are you eligible to get a CDL in Colorado?

CDL Requirements in Colorado

Yes, you need to make sure first that you are eligible to get a CDL in Colorado. 

So here are the CDL requirements in Colorado.

Age requirements:

  • You should be at least 18 years old
  • You should be at least 21 years old if you are going to drive interstate, carry hazardous materials, or transport 16 or more passengers

License requirements:

  • You have a valid driver’s license
  • You do NOT own more than 1 driver’s license
  • Your driving privileges have NOT been suspended, revoked, or canceled.

Other requirements:

So are you eligible? 

If so, then let’s finally look at the steps on how to get a CDL in Colorado. 

How Can You Get a CDL in Colorado

Just like a regular driver’s license, you’ll have to get a learner’s permit first. In this case, a commercial learner’s permit (CLP)

How to Get Your CLP in Colorado 

Here are the steps to getting your CLP in Colorado:

  1. Schedule an appointment for your CDL written test (click here to do it online)
  1. While there, submit the required documents:
    1. Valid driver’s license
    2. Proof of identity and date of birth
    3. Proof of legal presence in the US
    4. Proof of Social Security card
    5. Proof of Colorado residency
    6. Current DOT medical examination and CDL self-certification form (Note: you can submit the DOT medical examination online here)
  1. Pass the general written test and all knowledge exams related to your CDL class and endorsement 
  1. Pay the CLP fee of $18.52
  1. Get your CLP

IMPORTANT! All new CLP holders in Colorado are now required to take an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program. This will include classroom hours and driving practice. 

Another thing. You must get the ELDT program from a school registered in the National Training Provider Registry. 

Note: your CLP is only valid for 180 days. However, you can renew it once if you are not yet ready to take the CDL skills test. 

How to Get Your CDL in Colorado

Once you pass the ELDT program and have held your CLP for at least 14 days, you can apply for your CDL!

Here are the steps to get your CDL in Colorado:

  1. Call to schedule an appointment for your CDL skills test. Note: the skills test are only offered by state-certified CDL third-party testers

Make sure to ask if the tester provides vehicles or you’ll have to bring your own. Also, ask what documents you need to bring 

  1. Pass the CDL skills test
  1. Go to your local driver’s license office and submit the required documents:
    1. Your valid CLP
    2. Your current DOT medical card
    3. Proof of Social Security Number
    4. Proof of residency in Colorado
    5. A valid CDL skills test completion form
  1. Pay the CDL fee of $17.08
  1. Get your CDL

And there you have it.

You are now the holder of a commercial driver’s license in Colorado. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Before we go, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CDLs in Colorado.

How much does it cost to get a CDL in Colorado?

Below are the CDL fees in Colorado:

  • Commercial Driver’s License: $17.08
  • Instruction Permit: $18.52
  • Duplicate License: $9.00
  • Duplicate Permit: $9.00
  • Subsequent Duplicate License: $16.00
  • Subsequent Duplicate Permit: $16.00

What vehicles don’t need a CDL in Colorado?

The following are exempted from a Colorado CDL:

  • Colorado Military Vehicle Operators
  • Colorado Farm Equipment Operators
  • Colorado Firefighting Equipment Operators
  • Colorado Recreational Vehicle Operators
  • Colorado Township or Government Workers Exemptions

Wrap Up


That was a lot, wasn’t it?

Thankfully, this complete guide on how to get a CDL in Colorado lists everything in order for you. This way, you know exactly what you need to do first, then what you need to do next, and so on and so forth. 

So if you are planning on getting a CDL in Colorado, what are you waiting for?

Go and get started right away!

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