How to Get A CDL in New Mexico (A Complete 2024 Guide)

How to Get A CDL in New Mexico

Want to become a commercial driver in New Mexico?

Don’t know how to get your commercial driver’s license (CDL)?

We’re here to help!

Today, we’ll walk you through ALL the steps and requirements on how to get a CDL in New Mexico. We won’t miss out on anything. 

Plus, we’ll even talk about CDL classes and endorsements, so you know EXACTLY which one you need. 

On top of all that, we’ll also answer some frequently asked questions. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s begin right away!

CDL Classes in New Mexico

First things first — you must decide which CDL class you need/want. 

In New Mexico, you have 3 class options, namely: 

  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Class C CDL

Let’s detail these classes for you. 

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL is for combination vehicles. As the term implies, these are tractor-trailers with towed units.

To be more specific, a Class A CDL can operate combination vehicles that: 

  • Have a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,001 pounds
  • Tows a unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds

What’s more, a Class A CDL allows you to operate Class B and C vehicles (with the right endorsement). 

Class B CDL

You need a Class B CDL to operate heavy, straight commercial vehicles. Box vans, dump trucks, and large buses fall under this category.

Again, if you’re looking for specifics, a Class B CDL can operate heavy, straight vehicles that: 

  • Have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of at least 26,001 pounds
  • If towing, can only carry a unit weighing fewer than 10,000 pounds

A Class B CDL also gives you authority to operate Class C CMVs, provided you get the right endorsement.

Class C CDL

You need a Class C CDL to operate a commercial vehicle designed to carry 16+ passengers OR to haul large quantities of hazardous materials. 

These vehicles should:

  • Have a GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds
  • Tow a unit of fewer than 10,000 pounds 

CDL Endorsements in New Mexico

Okay, let’s move on to endorsements. 

Endorsements show that you completed additional training for specific vehicles or loads.

Now, there are 6 endorsements available to New Mexico commercial drivers. The table below details this.

NOTE: Each endorsement requires a separate written exam, and some affect your CDL road test.

EndorsementKnowledge Test?Road Test?
H (for CMVs transporting hazardous materials that require placards)YesNo
N (for CMVs hauling liquids in bulk)YesNo
P (for CMVs transporting 16 or more passengers, including the driver)YesYes
S (for operating school buses)YesYes
T (for combination vehicles towing double or triple trailers)YesNo
X (for tank vehicles that carry hazardous materials – this is a combination of both H and N endorsement) YesNo

CDL Requirements in New Mexico

Before we get into the steps of obtaining your CDL, let’s make sure you meet New Mexico’s eligibility requirements.

The list below details these. See how many apply to you:

  • You are at least 18 years old (to drive intrastate) or 21 years old (to drive interstate)
  • You have a New Mexico-issued driver’s license
  • Your driving privileges are active — you must address suspensions, cancellations, and revocations before applying for a CDL
  • You have U.S. citizenship or at least permission to work in the country
  • You comply with the FMCSA’s health and medical standards
  • You are proficient in English (enough to read and speak the language)

So, how many did you check?

Marking every box means you can proceed to the next section. 

If you can’t check off everything – don’t fret. At least now you know what area you should work on first. 

How to Get Your CDL in New Mexico 

Getting your commercial license involves two parts:

  • Getting a permit (CLP)
  • Getting your license (CDL)

We’ve detailed the steps for both below.

How to Get Your New Mexico CLP 

Follow these steps to get your CDL permit in New Mexico:

  1. Make an online appointment to take your CDL written exam.
  1. While waiting for your schedule, decide on the following:
    1. Your CDL class
    2. What endorsements you need
  1. On your visit, bring the following with you:
    1. DOT Medical Certification 
    2. Your NM driver’s license license
    3. (1) Proof of identity
    4. (2) Proofs of residence in New Mexico
    5. (1) Proof of an identification number

Unsure what documents to use? Click here to find out.

  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Get at least 80% on all CDL written tests.

NOTE: Besides the exam on general knowledge, you may need additional ones for air brakes and endorsements. 

  1. Get your commercial learner’s permit.

You can begin practicing on a vehicle that matches your CDL class. And, don’t forget that a commercially licensed driver must always accompany you.

Your CLP remains valid for 180 days. If it expires before you get your CDL, you can renew it, but only once within 2 years. 

How to Get Your New Mexico CDL

Here are the steps to switch from a CLP to a CDL in New Mexico:

  1. Hold your CLP for 14 days or longer.
  1. Attend an ELDT course from an accredited FMCSA provider. This is mandatory if you are:
    1. A first-time applicant for a Class A or Class B CDL
    2. Moving from a Class B to a Class A CDL
    3. A first-time applicant of an H, S, or P endorsement
  1. Schedule your CDL road test with an approved third-party provider. Third-party providers administer all CDL road tests in New Mexico. 
  1. On the day of your CDL road test, you must bring the following:
    1. Your valid CLP
    2. Money to pay the CDL road test fee (price will depend on the provider)
    3. Any documents asked for by the provider
    4. If not provided, a vehicle in the CMV class you are testing for (complete with registration and insurance papers). 
  1. Pass all parts of the CDL road test.
  1. Schedule an appointment with an MVD office. 
  1. Once there, provide the following:
    1. CDL road test passing score (this can be verified electronically)
    2. Your valid CLP
    3. Your valid New Mexico-issued driver’s license
    4. DOT Medical Certification
    5. Proof of US citizenship or legal presence
    6. (1) Proof of identity
    7. (2) Proofs of residence in New Mexico
    8. (1) Proof of an identification number
  1. Pay the required licensing fee:
    1. $18 for a 4-year CDL
    2. $34 for an 8-year CDL
  1. Receive your CDL.

And that’s it — you’ve completed both stages and can now begin your new career!


Need more information? Then let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CDLs in New Mexico. 

How much does it cost to get your CDL license in New Mexico?

You’ll spend between $1,300 to $4,700 to get your New Mexico CDL.

The cost of the ELDT course has the most significant impact on your expenses. Rates between the 14 trucking schools in the state vary greatly, ranging from $1,252 to $4,600.

Besides this, the only other fees you’ll pay are the CDL road test fee and licensing fee, which is either $18 or $34.

How many questions are on the CDL test in New Mexico?

The CDL written test contains 50 items. You need to answer everything in an hour. 

To pass, you need to get 40 questions right. 

How many times can you take the CDL permit test in New Mexico?

New Mexico doesn’t have a limit for CDL written exams. However, you can only take it twice every seven days.

How long is the New Mexico CDL driving test?

You’ll spend around two hours completing your New Mexico CDL road test. This includes three parts:

  • Pre-trip inspection
  • Off-road driving test
  • On-road driving test

The Wrap Up

And that was your complete guide on how to get a CDL in New Mexico. 

So now that you know what to do — from beginning to end — you can get started right away. 

Go ahead and choose which CDL class you need/want, whether you should get an endorsement, and work towards that. 

Good luck!

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