How to Get A CDL in Minnesota (A Complete 2024 Guide)

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

The process of getting a CDL is different from getting a regular driver’s license

On top of that, each state has its own set of requirements and steps. 

All this might leave you confused. 

Where do you begin?

What do you need to do?

If you’re based in Minnesota, we’ve got you covered. 

Here, we’re going to give you a complete guide on how to get a CDL in Minnesota. We’ll list everything you need to know, every detail, every requirement, every step… 

With this, you’ll know everything there is to know. 

So shall we begin? 

CDL Classes in Minnesota

Commercial driver’s licenses in Minnesota fall into three classes:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

If you’re wondering what determines the class you need, it’s simple — the answer lies with the commercial vehicle you operate. 

So let’s see what each CDL class can operate. 

Class A CDL

You need a Class A CDL if your commercial motor vehicle (CMV) tows a unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds. However, its Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) must exceed 26,001 pounds. 

Class A CMVs are combination vehicles, such as big rigs and semis. 

Now, most commercial drivers prefer to carry a Class A CDL as it allows them to operate Class B and Class C CMVs, too (of course, they must hold the proper endorsement).

Class B CDL

You need a Class B CDL to operate a single CMV with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or heavier. That said, Class B vehicles can also tow units, but these must weigh 10,000 pounds or less. 

Straight heavy vehicles, such as city and tour buses or box and dump trucks, are Class B CMVs.

Also, a Class B CDL allows you to drive Class C CMVs (with the right endorsement) but not Class A CMVs. 

Class C CDL

The last CDL Class (Class C) is for CMVs that weigh less than 26,001 pounds and tow fewer than 10,000 pounds. 

You also use it for either of these purposes:

  • To move hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding
  • To transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver)

CDL Requirements in Minnesota

Now, before we cover how you can get a CDL in Minnesota, let’s first ensure you’re eligible. We’ve listed the requirements you must meet before you can work on getting your CDL. 

See which boxes you can check off:

  • You meet the age requirement:
    • 18 years old to drive within Minnesota.
    • 21 years old to cross state borders and transport hazardous materials or passengers.
  • You are an American citizen or can show proof of legal presence in the U.S.
  • You have a valid driver’s license.
  • Your driving privileges are active.
  • You’re compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s medical requirements.
  • Your level of English proficiency allows you to speak and write it. 

So, how did you do?

A check on all the boxes tells you you’re ready to move on to the next step. If you missed some, at least now you know what you need to work on before applying for a CDL.

How to Get Your CDL in Minnesota

There are two steps to getting your CDL in Minnesota:

  • Getting your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
  • Earning Your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Let’s look at these steps one by one. 

How to Get A Minnesota CLP 

Just like a regular driver’s license, all aspiring commercial drivers in Minnesota must first get a learner’s permit. 

Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Ensure you’re eligible for a CDL. You can refer to the above section for a checklist.
  1. Decide on the following:
    1. The CDL Class you need
    2. Whether or not you need any endorsement
  1. Visit a DVS exam site and bring the following:
    1. Your valid Class D license
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Proof of legal presence
    4. Proof of Minnesota residency
    5. A medical self-certification form and all applicable documents 
  1. Fill out a CDL application form and submit it along with your other documents. 
  1. Pay the necessary fees:
    1. CLP fee: $10.50
    2. Endorsement examination: $2.50 each
  1. Pass the required knowledge exam(s).
  1. Get your Commercial Learner’s Permit.

And just like that, you have your CLP. 

Now you can get behind the wheel of your CMV class. Just remember, you need to be supervised at all times by a licensed commercial driver. 

Also, take every opportunity to practice supervised driving — it’ll be a great advantage for the second step.

How to Get A Minnesota CDL

Your CLP is valid for 6 months and is non-renewable. So make sure you get your CDL before your permit expires. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Hold your CLP for at least 14 days.
  1. Complete the required Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from an FMCSA-approved provider.

NOTE: You must comply with this requirement if you meet any of the following:

  • You’re getting a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • You already have a Class B CDL but want to upgrade to Class A
  • You’re a first-time applicant for an S, P, or H endorsement
  1. Make an appointment for your CDL Road Skills Test. You can do this by calling your preferred branch. 
  1. Arrive early for your appointment and ensure you have the following:
    1. Your valid commercial learner’s permit
    2. Certificate of Completion of an ELDT program (if applicable) 
    3. A commercial vehicle that falls in the CDL class you’re getting
    4. The CMV’s registration and insurance documents
    5. Proof of identity
    6. Proof of legal presence
    7. Proof of Minnesota residency
  1. Pay the appropriate fees:
    1. Class A (under 21): $30.25
    2. Class A (regular): $50.25
    3. Class B: $42.25
    4. Class C: $35.25
  1. Pass all three parts of the Road Skills portion of the CDL exam.
  1. Receive your CDL.

Congratulations! You’re officially a commercial driver in Minnesota.

CDL Endorsements in Minnesota

You may have noticed that when preparing for your CDL, one of the steps involved identifying whether or not you need any endorsements. 

You might be wondering what these are.

Having an endorsement on your CDL means you received specialized training for a particular vehicle or cargo. 

In Minnesota, there are six endorsements available to commercial drivers. These are:

  • H — For vehicles used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding
  • N — For CMVs that carry gaseous or liquid materials in tanks
  • P — For vehicles designed to carry passengers
  • S — For school buses
  • T — For double or triple trailers
  • X — For vehicles that qualify for H and N endorsements

Remember that each endorsement has its own written and skills test. 

It’s also crucial to note that not all CDL types can carry all endorsements. Here’s a table that shows this in detail:

EndorsementClass AClass BClass C


Before we go, let’s answer some frequently asked questions to give you even more information about CDLs in Minnesota. 

How much does a CDL class cost in Minnesota?

The cost of CDL school in Minnesota may vary between providers. However, the average rate is $5,493. 

If you find it too expensive, you might consider attending a school that offers financial aid. Another option is to look for company-sponsored CDL training.

How long is CDL school in Minnesota?

CDL school usually lasts 140 hours, covering classroom and behind-the-wheel training. However, how long it’ll take you to complete CDL school depends on the provider.

You can finish it in four weeks with some schools, while others can take anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks.

What disqualifies you from getting a CDL in Minnesota?

Many reasons cause disqualification from getting a Minnesota CDL. These include the following:

  • Having a BAC level of 0.04% or higher
  • Leaving the scene of an accident involving a commercial vehicle
  • Committing a felony using a CMV
  • Negligently operating a commercial vehicle and causing a fatality.
  • Committing grave traffic violations, such as reckless driving and excessive speeding
  • Violating Out-of-Service orders
  • Violating railroad-highway regulations
  • Losing your driving privileges from your regular license

How many questions are on the CDL permit test in Minnesota?

Expect to go through 50 multiple-choice questions — and you only have an hour to do that. You need a score of 80% or higher to pass.

Remember, this is only for the General CDL Knowledge test. If you are applying for endorsements, you will encounter more questions.

The Wrap Up

Yes, working towards your CDL in Minnesota requires time and effort. 

Plus, all the requirements and steps might become too overwhelming. 

If so, you can always turn to this guide for help. 

Our complete guide on how to get a CDL in Minnesota can be used as a roadmap to navigate your way. 

Good luck!

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