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

How to Get A CDL in New York

So, you’re considering becoming a commercial driver in New York. 

That’s an excellent career choice.

But before anything else, you need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL)

And this is where we come in. 

Today, we’re going to show you how to get a CDL in New York. We won’t skip any requirement or step, so you will have a complete guide through the whole process. 

Not only are we sharing the steps to getting your commercial license, but we’ll also provide all the essential information connected to it — CDL classes,  endorsements, and even an FAQ section. 

So shall we? 

CDL Classes in New York 

First, let’s look at the different CDL classes available in New York:

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

When getting a CDL, the NY DMV will ask which one you’re applying for, so it’s best to know which one you need.

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL is for combination vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or heavier. The towed unit must weigh over 10,000 pounds.

Truck trailers or tractor-trailers fall under this category. 

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL is for straight, heavy vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. If towing, the unit should not exceed 10,000 pounds. 

However, a Class B vehicle can tow a unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds IF its GCWR does NOT exceed 26,001 pounds.

Examples of Class B vehicles include city buses and dump trucks. 

Class C CDL

A Class C CDL can operate commercial vehicles with a GVWR of fewer than 26,0001 pounds and tow a unit of fewer than 10,000 pounds. 

However, if the towed unit weighs more than 10,000 pounds, the GCWR of the vehicle must not exceed 26,0001 pounds. 

Here’s one important thing to note about Class C vehicles — it has to fulfill one of the following: 

  • Transports at least 16 passengers
  • Carries children to and from school or school-related activities 
  • Is a stretched limousine
  • Hauls hazardous materials

CDL Endorsements in New York

Most commercial drivers apply for CDL endorsements because it grants them additional driving privileges. It also indicates that they received special training for specific vehicles or loads.

Now, most states only have 6 CDL endorsements available. In New York, however, there are 11. 

These are as follows:

  • F: for Farm Class A Vehicles
  • G: for Farm Class B Vehicles
  • H: for carrying Hazardous Materials
  • M: for Metal Coil*
  • N: for Tank Vehicles*
  • P: for transporting Passengers*
  • R: for Recreational Vehicles with a GVWR of over 26,001 pounds
  • S: for School Buses*
  • T: for Doubles/Triples
  • W: for Tow Truck*
  • X: for Tank/Hazmat combination

For endorsements marked with an asterisk (*), you can get them with your CDL permit. For the rest, you can only get it when you already have a CDL. 

CDL Requirements in New York

Before applying for your commercial license, it’s best to ensure you comply with the NY DMV’s requirements. It helps you avoid problems during the application process and can be a time-saver.

We’ve detailed the CDL prerequisites in the state below. See which ones apply to you:

  • You meet the age requirement:
    • 18 years old to drive intrastate
    • 21 years old to drive interstate, drive a school bus, or carry hazardous materials
  • You have legal presence:
    • You are a US citizen
    • You have proof of unrestricted Lawful Permanent Residency
  • You are a New York resident.
  • You have a New York-issued driver’s license or a valid CDL from another state.
  • You meet the medical requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Your level of English proficiency allows you to converse and write in the language.

So, how many boxes were you able to check off? 

If you can check all the boxes, you can proceed with your CDL application. 

If not, don’t worry — focus on fulfilling those requirements first, then you’ll be eligible to get a CDL in New York. 

How to Get A CDL in New York – The 2 Stages

Let’s get to the heart of the matter — how to get a CDL in New York. 

Let’s start with the big picture. Getting a CDL in New York involves two milestones:

  • Stage 1: Getting a CDL permit
  • Stage 2: Getting a CDL

Let’s walk you through each stage. 

Stage 1: CDL Permit 

Just like a regular driver’s license, you will first need a permit. 

So here are the steps to get a CDL permit in New York:

  1. Ensure you meet the requirements for a CDL (see the section above for details).

NOTE: Applicants 18-20 years old can qualify for the Class A Young Adult Training Program.

  1. Figure out the specifics of your CDL. Think about the following:
    1. What CDL class do you need?
    2. What endorsements are necessary?
  1. Prepare the following:
    1. Documents to prove your age, identity, and New York residence. You can check out this Document Guide to see what you can bring
    2. Your New York-issued driver’s license or valid out-of-state CDL
    3. A filled-out MV44 form (Application for Permit, Driver License, or Non-ID Card)
    4. A medical certificate from an FMCSA-accredited examiner (check the MV44 form if this applies to you)
  1. Make an online reservation to take your CDL permit test.
  1. On your scheduled appointment, do the following:
    1. Submit the necessary documents
    2. Pay the $10 application fee
    3. Pass the CDL written exam and any endorsement written exam (if applicable)
  1. Receive your CLP.

NOTE: You may pay the $40 CDL road test fee at this point.

Now, with a CDL permit, you can gain experience through supervised driving. Just make sure that you practice on a commercial vehicle that fits your CDL class. 

Also, your supervising driver must hold a valid CDL that matches yours. 

Stage 2: CDL

Follow these requirements and steps to get an official CDL in New York: 

  1. Hold your CDL permit for a minimum of 14 days. 
  1. Accumulate a minimum of 300 hours of supervised behind-the-wheel training (for those taking the Class A Young Adult Training Program)
  1. Complete an FMCSA-approved Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program IF:
    1. It’s your first application for a Class A or B CDL
    2. You’re getting an S, P, or H endorsement
    3. You’re upgrading your Class B CDL to a Class A CDL 
  1. Pay the $40 CDL road test fee. 

NOTE: You can pay this the moment you receive your CDL permit. If not, then you can pay it online here

  1. Schedule your CDL road test through the DMV’s online system.
  1. Bring the following to your appointment:
    1. Your valid CDL permit
    2. Proof of age, identity, and New York residence. Check out this Document Guide for acceptable documents. 
    3. A completed and signed driving log (If you’re in the Class A Young Adult Training Program)
    4. The CMV you intend to use for the road test (must match your CDL class)
    5. The CMV’s registration and insurance 
    6. A supervised driver with a valid CDL 
  1. Pass all parts of the CDL road test.

NOTE: You must go to the website listed on your card and check the results of your CDL road test. It will be available after 6 pm on the day you take it.

  1. Go to a DMV office to get your temporary CDL, valid for 60 days. Your official credential will arrive through the mail within 3 to 4 weeks.
  1. Pay the CDL fee (the price will depend on your license type and expiration)

Congratulations! You completed all the steps and requirements and are now an official CDL holder in New York.


For the last part, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about CDLs in New York. 

How much does it cost to get a CDL in New York?

It’s best to have around $6,000 when working on your NY CDL.

The fees you pay the DMV only comprise a small portion:

  • Application fee: $10
  • Road test fee: $40
  • CDL fee: depends on your license type and expiration 

The bulk of your expenses, however, goes to your ELDT program. To be sure, the rates vary among providers — some charge as low as $2,000, while others charge as much as over $5,500.

How long does it take to get a CDL in New York?

It might take around 6 months to a year to get a New York CDL. Mostly, it depends on the following:

  • Whether you intend to maximize your CDL permit’s validity (it’s valid for a year)
  • If you pass your CDL exams on the first try or need to retake
  • How long it takes you to finish the ELDT program (this is usually 4 to 6 weeks)
  • How soon you accumulate 300 hours of supervised driving (if under the Class A Young Adult Training Program)

How many questions are in the New York CDL permit test?

The CDL written test has 50 items, all of which are multiple-choice. To pass it, you need to get at least 40 questions right. 

Can I take my NYS CDL permit test online?

No, you must take the CDL written test at a DMV office. That said, you can take the test on a computer instead of paper. 

How long does a CDL permit last in New York?

Your CDL permit remains valid for 1 year. However, you only need to hold it for 14 days to be eligible to take the CDL road test. 

How hard is the CDL road test in New York?

You must pass all three parts of the CDL road test to get your NY CDL. These include:

  • Pre-trip inspection 
  • Basic vehicle control test
  • On-road driving test

It’s crucial to remember that the examiner may ask you to conduct the inspection anytime during the road test. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen at the beginning.

How many times can you retake the CDL road test in New York?

You have 3 chances to take the NY CDL road test. After that, you will have to pay an additional fee.

The Wrap Up

And that was everything you needed to know on how to get a CDL in New York. 

All the requirements and steps might be overwhelming. But once you have a detailed roadmap of the whole process, you’ll see that it’s nothing you can’t handle. 

So what are you waiting for?

Now that you know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, it’s time to get started.

Good luck!

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