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How to Get A CDL in Indiana (A Complete 2022 Guide)

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

Driving a regular car is one thing — operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is another.

It’s no wonder, then, that you’ll have to go through a different process to get a commercial driver’s license in Indiana.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to go through it alone. 

We’re here to give you a complete guide on how to get a CDL in Indiana. We’ll list all the steps and requirements, as well as everything else you need to know. 

We’ll be with you every step of the way. You won’t be left wondering what to do next with this guide. 

So let’s dive right in!

CDL Classes in Indiana

Commercial driver’s licenses in Indiana come in 3 classes:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

You need to apply for the class that matches the CMV you’re going to drive. So it’s important to understand each class description. 

Class A

You need this CDL class to operate a combination vehicle like truck tractors or semi-trailers. The CMV’s Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) must be more than 26,001 pounds, and the towed unit must be heavier than 10,000 pounds.

Most commercial drivers go for a Class A CDL because it allows you to drive Class B and Class C vehicles, too (with the right endorsements).

Class B

A Class B CDL allows you to operate heavy straight or combination CMVs. If operating a straight CMV, it should have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds. If a combination CMV, the towed unit should weigh less than 10,000 pounds.

Besides Class B CMVs, you can also drive Class C vehicles if you have this CDL type (again, if you get the right endorsements). However, you cannot operate those that are Class A.

Class C

Any CMV that doesn’t fall under Class A or B is considered Class C. So, if you operate a single or combination CMV that weighs less than 26,0001 pounds and tows less than 10,000 pounds, then you need Class C. 

Usually, Class C CDLs are used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver). You also need a Class C CDL if you’re transporting quantities of hazardous material.

CDL Endorsements in Indiana 

Endorsements signify that you have specialized knowledge to operate specific vehicles or transport some types of cargo.

In Indiana, there are 6 types of endorsements you can add to your CDL. 3 of these can be added to your CLP, too. 

The table below outlines the CDL endorsements in Indiana. 

If You Have A…You Can Add This EndorsementThis Is What It’s For
Commercial License PermitP
(Passenger)
To operate a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver
S
(School Bus)
To operate a school bus, regardless of the CDL class
N
(Tank Vehicle)
To operate vehicles designed to transport gaseous or liquid materials in tanks with a capacity of more than 119 gallons
Commercial Driver’s LicenseH
(Hazardous Material)
To operate vehicles transporting hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding
X
(Combination Hazardous Material and Tank Vehicle)
To operate vehicles transporting hazardous materials in tanks with quantities requiring placarding
T
(Double and Triple Trailers)
To operate combination vehicles that tow double or triple trailers. This is often obtained by Class A commercial drivers

NOTE: each endorsement requires a separate written exam.

CDL Requirements in Indiana 

Now that you know what CDL class you need and whether or not you should get endorsements, let’s focus on whether you’re qualified to apply for a CDL in the state.

Go through the list below and see how many of the boxes you can check off:

  • You are at least 18 years old (for intrastate trips) or 21 years old (for interstate trips and P, S, or H endorsements)
  • You had your Indiana operator’s license for at least a year
  • You have active driving privileges (your license should NOT be suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified)
  • You can provide a list of states where you were licensed to drive a commercial motor vehicle in the last decade (if you have held a CDL before)
  • You meet the medical requirements of the FMCSR
  • You are an American citizen or a permanent resident. If not, you can still qualify for a CDL in Indiana (check below).

Were you able to check every box? 

Awesome! It means you’re ready to proceed to the next section — getting your CDL.

How to Get Your CDL in Indiana 

Before you can get your CDL, you first need a commercial learner’s permit (CLP).

So let’s start with that.

How to Get An Indiana CLP

To get your CLP in Indiana, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements based on the previous section.
  1. Determine which CDL class you need and whether or not you want/need any endorsements. 
  1. Visit a BMV branch.

NOTE: You don’t need to make an appointment to take a written test. However, check your branch’s operating hours because you must begin your exam at least an hour before it closes.

  1. Present the necessary documents, including: 
    1. Proof of identity
    2. Driver’s license 
    3. Social Security Number
    4. Driving record
    5. Proof of Indiana residency
    6. Proof of citizenship or lawful residency

NOTE: Applicants who are not permanent residents or U.S. citizens can still qualify IF they can provide the following:

  • A valid foreign passport with an approved I-94 form showing your most recent entry to the U.S.

OR

  • A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS, AND these five documents:
    • (1) proof of identity
    • (1) proof of lawful status
    • (1) proof of Social Security number
    • (2) proofs of residency in Indiana
  1. Medical Examiner Report (MER) and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC)

NOTE: A medical examiner from FMCSA’s National Registry must have completed your MEC and MER.

  1. Take and pass a vision test.
  1. Pay $17 for the CLP fee.
  1. Take and pass the written exam.
  1. Get your CLP.

With this permit, you can start practicing how to drive the CMV that matches your CDL class. However, keep the following things in mind:

  • A licensed commercial driver at least 21 years old must supervise you when you’re behind the wheel.
  • CLPs in Indiana remain valid for 180 days. You can renew it 3 times in 2 years if you are not yet ready.

How to Get An Indiana CDL

You can work towards your CDL once you have held your CLP for 14 days. 

Now here are the steps to getting your CDL in Indiana: 

  1. Complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from an FMCSA-approved provider. You must comply with this requirement if any of the following is true:
    • It’s your initial application for a Class A or Class B CDL
    • You’re upgrading from a Class B to a Class A CDL
    • You’re applying for an S, P, or H endorsement for the first time
  1. Schedule a CDL skills exam through the myBMV website.
  1. Present the necessary documents, including: 
    • Proof of identity
    • Driver’s license 
    • Social Security Number
    • Proof of Indiana residency
    • Proof of citizenship or lawful residency
    • Proof of ELDT completion
  1. Take and pass the CDL skills exam. It consists of 3 parts — vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road test. You must pass all segments.

NOTE: It’s best to bring your own CMV to your skills test, especially the one you’ve been using to practice. You must ensure, however, that it meets the specification of your license type and endorsement (if any).

If you don’t have any, you can rent one from your testing site. But be prepared to spend between $75 to $150 for the rental fee.

  1. Pay $35 for the CDL fee.
  1. Surrender your CLP.
  1. Receive your CDL.

Congratulations! You are now a licensed commercial driver in Indiana. 

FAQs

Got some questions about CDLs in Indiana? Then let’s answer some of the most frequently asked ones. 

How long does it take to get a CDL in Indiana?

The time it takes to get a CDL in Indiana varies. It can be as short as 5 months to a little over 2 years. 

If you complete ELDT immediately after getting your CLP, you’ll get your license sooner (most trucking schools last around 4 weeks).

However, since you can have 3 permits in 2 years, we should also explore the possibility that some applicants maximize this timeline before taking their skills test.

What disqualifies you from holding a CDL in Indiana?

There are several reasons for a CDL disqualification in Indiana. These include the following:

  • Having a BAC level of 0.04% or higher
  • Leaving the scene of an accident with your CMV involved
  • Committing a felony using a CMV
  • Committing severe traffic violations such as reckless driving, tailgating, or making improper or erratic lane changes
  • Going against Out-of-Service Orders
  • Committing Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing violations
  • Failing the background check required for commercial drivers transporting hazardous materials
  • Having your driving privileges suspended, revoked, or canceled on your personal driver’s license

Is the Indiana CDL test multiple choice?

Yes, the written portion of the CDL test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. A passing score requires you to answer at least 80% of questions correctly.

How many times can you take the Indiana CDL test?

If you fail your written exam, the Indiana BMV won’t allow you to retake it immediately. You can only do this on the next business day. 

Similarly, you can also only take a CDL skills test once a day. And since there are 3 parts, a fail on any requires you to retake the entire exam.

Another thing. For every exam fail, you will have to pay for the fees each time you retake it, whether it’s the written or skills portion.

How long does a CDL permit last in Indiana?

A CDL permit remains valid for 180 days in Indiana. Ideally, you should be able to complete the process of getting your commercial license within this period. 

If not, then you can renew it at least 3 times. 

If you haven’t and your CLP expires, you must get a new one to proceed. 

Wrapping Things Up

And that was how to get a CDL in Indiana. 

Not as complicated as you thought, right?

However, there are a lot of steps and requirements that you need to complete. This is why it’s a good thing to know everything in advance. 

So now that you know these things, what are you waiting for?

Go and pick which CDL class you need and get started right away. 

Best of luck!

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