How to Get A CDL in North Dakota (A Complete 2024 Guide)

How to Get A CDL in North Dakota

So, you want to drive a commercial vehicle — that’s great!

But which CDL class should you get?

What about endorsements? 

Wait — do you even qualify to get an ND CDL?

And if so, what are the requirements?

All these questions are probably popping up in your head. 

We’re here to answer all that. 

Here, we compiled a complete guide on how to get a CDL in North Dakota. We made sure to list EVERYTHING so that you know EXACTLY what to do. 

Are you ready?

Let’s begin!

CDL Classes in North Dakota

What CDL class should you get?

In North Dakota, you have three options:

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

So, how do you know which one you need? Well, it depends on the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) you’re planning on driving.

Let’s break this down a bit further.

Class A CDL

Some CMVs are combination vehicles — these are usually tractors with towed units.

You’ll need a Class A CDL to operate any combination vehicles with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,000 pounds. The unit it tows must weigh more than 10,000 pounds.

Class B CDL

Other CMVs are heavy, straight vehicles that may or may not tow a unit. 

You’ll need a Class B CDL to operate any heavy, straight vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds. If towing a unit, it should not exceed 10,000 pounds. 

Class C CDL

Still, other CMVs weigh fewer than 26,000 pounds. 

You’ll need a Class C CDL to operate a combination or straight vehicle that doesn’t exceed 26,000 pounds, while the towed unit (if any) doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds. 

Moreover, a Class C CDL should be used for:

  • Vehicles that transport 15 or more passengers across locations
  • Vehicles that carry hazardous materials in enough quantities to require placarding

CDL Endorsements in North Dakota

Now you know what CDL class to get…

But do you need any endorsement to go with it?

An endorsement on your CDL shows you had specialized training for particular loads or vehicles. In turn, you are equipped to drive or carry them. 

Here’s an overview of the CDL endorsements in North Dakota:

  • T endorsement — Double and Triple Trailers (requires a knowledge test)
  • H endorsement  — Hazardous Materials (requires knowledge test)
  • P endorsement  — Passenger Vehicles (requires knowledge and road test)
  • S endorsement  — School Buses (requires knowledge and road test)
  • N endorsement  — Tank Vehicles (requires knowledge test)

Of these five, you can only have P, S, and N endorsements on your commercial learner’s permit. However, you cannot have passengers for passenger vehicles and school buses. Tank vehicles must also be empty until you get your CDL.

CDL Requirements in North Dakota

Before you jump in and start your application, it’s best to determine if you’re eligible for a CDL in North Dakota.

You might discover that you have to work on a few things, but it’s better to figure this out sooner rather than later. 

Work on the following to ensure your eligibility. Mark off the ones that already apply to you:

  • You must meet the age requirement
    • 18 years old to make trips within North Dakota
    • 21 years old to cross state lines
  • You must have a non-commercial license.
  • Your driving privileges must be active (you cannot apply for a CDL if it is suspended, revoked, or canceled).
  • You must be compliant with all Federal Medical Certificate Requirements.
  • You must be proficient in English (enough to read and converse)

A check on all the boxes means you’re ready to begin your application. The steps are in the section below!

How to Get Your CDL in North Dakota

You need to complete a 2-stage process to get your North Dakota CDL. This includes: 

  • Stage 1: Getting your commercial learner’s permit
  • Stage 2: Getting your commercial driver’s license

Let’s walk you through each stage. 

How to Get Your North Dakota CDL Permit

Here are the steps: 

  1. Complete the eligibility requirement (refer to the section above for details).
  1. Determine your CDL class and endorsements.
  1. Prepare documents to prove the following information:
    1. Current medical certificate (if applicable)
    2. Completed Self-Certification Affidavit (you can find the form here). You can also mail, fax, or email this. 
    3. Your identity (it must show your complete name, birth date, and legal status)
    4. Your residence in North Dakota
    5. Your Social Security Number

Click here to see a list of acceptable documents.

  1. Schedule your CDL knowledge test. 
  1. While there, apply for a CDL permit.
  1. Submit the necessary documents.
  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Pay the $5 CDL knowledge test fee.
  1. Pass the CDL knowledge test.
  1. Pay the $15 permit fee (an additional $3 for any endorsements).
  1. Receive your North Dakota CDL permit

And just like that, you have a CDL permit! 

Remember, you can’t schedule your road test immediately, so use your time to gain behind-the-wheel experience.

Another thing. You’re only allowed to operate a vehicle that falls under your CDL class. Also, you must be supervised by a licensed commercial driver with the same CDL class as yours. 

How to Get Your North Dakota CDL

Here are the steps to get your CDL in North Dakota:

  1. Hold your CDL permit for 14 days or longer.
  1. Complete Entry-Level Driver Training if:
    1. You’re getting a Class A or B CDL for the first time
    2. You’re getting an S, P, or H endorsement for the first time
  1. Schedule your CDL road test by calling toll-free at 1-855-633-6835.
  1. On your appointment, arrive early for your CDL road test. Also, don’t forget the following:
    1. Your valid CDL permit
    2. Your standard non-commercial license
    3. The CMV to use for your road test (along with insurance and registration)
  1. Pay the $5 testing fee.
  1. Take the CDL road test. You’ll have to pass the pre-trip inspection, off-road, and on-road segments.
  1. Get your North Dakota CDL. 

That’s it — you’ve completed both stages.



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

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

Ensure you have at least $5,300 when applying for a CDL in North Dakota. It should be enough to cover most, if not all, of your expenses.

The fees you have to pay at a Driver License Site are affordable — it’ll only cost around $43 in total. Here’s a breakdown:

  • $5 for the CDL knowledge test (per attempt)
  • $15 for your CDL permit
  • $5 for the CDL road test
  • $15 for your CDL 
  • $3 for any endorsement 

However, trucking school will take up the bulk of your expenses. Rates vary between providers, but the going price averages $5,197.

If that’s out of your budget range, consider applying for a scholarship or seeking financial aid. The average amount a scholarship grants is $2,639.

What disqualifies you from a CDL in North Dakota?

CDL disqualifications can result from any of the following:

  • Having a BAC higher than 0.04%.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Using your CMV to commit a felony.
  • Making Railroad-Highway grade crossing violations.
  • Committing grave traffic violations, such as reckless driving, excessive speeding, or tailgating.
  • Going on trips even if you’re under Out-of-Service orders.
  • Not passing the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Background Check (if applicable).
  • Losing your driving privileges on your standard license.

Do you have to take a class to get your CDL in North Dakota?

Short answer? Yes.

You must get proper education if you want to drive a commercial vehicle. 

All drivers who meet any of the following must attend Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from an FMCSA-approved provider:

  • First-time applicants for Classes A and B CDLs
  • First-time applicants for H, S, and P Endorsements
  • Class B CDL holders who want to upgrade to Class A

How many questions are on the CDL permit test in North Dakota?

The CDL permit test consists of 50 questions. All of these are multiple-choice. 

You must get 40 items correctly to pass — that’s a minimum score of 80%. 

How long is a CDL permit valid in North Dakota?

You must hold your CDL permit for longer than 14 days to schedule your road test. 

However, your CDL permit remains valid for 6 months. You can use this time to gain more behind-the-wheel experience.

Can you get a CDL with a DUI in North Dakota?

Getting a CDL is still possible if you have a DUI. However, ensure that your standard driver’s license isn’t suspended or revoked. Otherwise, you won’t meet the eligibility requirements for a CDL in North Dakota.

The Wrap Up

Securing a CDL in North Dakota may seem complicated, but it’s more manageable than you might think.

Remember, you have two objectives — getting a CDL permit and then a CDL. You’ll still have to put in the time and effort to ensure you pass all the necessary tests, but now you don’t have to wonder about what to do next.

The steps in the article detail the process in the simplest way possible. 

So best of luck!

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