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

How to Get A CDL in Oregon

Do you remember what you had to undergo when you got your driver’s license?

The process of getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is similar. 

Remember — similar, not identical.

Commercial vehicles are heavy and bulky and transport goods or passengers, so it’s not surprising that you need additional training.

But don’t worry! 

We’re here to give you all the steps and requirements on how to get a CDL in Oregon. We’ll even talk about the CDL classes and endorsements. 

Once you see the end-to-end process, you’ll realize it isn’t too complicated.

So, are you ready to begin? 

Let’s go!

CDL Classes in Oregon

Let’s avoid jumping straight into the steps. 

There’s a lot of information to learn before you begin your application.

First, there’s your matter of knowing which CDL class you need. Yes, there’s more than one:

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

The commercial motor vehicle (CMV) you intend to operate determines which class you should put on your application. We’ve broken this down into detail.

Class A CDL

CMVs come in many forms. The biggest ones are combination vehicles, such as semis and big rigs.

These have a Combination Weight Rating of over 26,000 pounds. They also tow a unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

For these vehicles, you need a Class A CDL. 

Now, commercial drivers looking for flexibility typically go for a Class A CDL because, besides combination CMVs, it allows them to operate those in Class B and Class C.

Class B CDL

What if your CMV’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating exceeds 26,000 pounds but isn’t a combination vehicle? 

That means it’s heavy, straight, and classifies as a Class B CMV.

Logically, you’ll need a Class B CDL to drive one of these. 

If you need to tow a trailer, ensure it does not exceed 10,000 pounds. Or if it does, ensure the total vehicle weight does not exceed 26,000 pounds. 

Boxed vans, dump trucks, and city buses usually fall under this category. 

But you can also use a Class B CDL to drive Class C CMVs.

Class C CDL

So far, all CMVs we’ve covered weigh more than 26,000 pounds. 

However, it is crucial to know that not all commercial vehicles are heavy. 

That said, you only need a Class C CDL if your vehicle has a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less and it fulfills one of the following: 

  • Its design allows it to carry more than 15 passengers (the driver isn’t part of the headcount)
  • You use it to transport hazardous materials between locations (it must be in amounts requiring placarding)
  • Tows a trailer fewer than 10,000 pounds.
  • Tows a trailer of more than 10,000 pounds as long as the weight does not exceed 26,000 pounds. 

CDL Endorsements in Oregon

More than knowing which CDL class you need, you must also get endorsements to operate certain CMVs and carry certain loads. 

There are six endorsements in Oregon:

  • P endorsement — Allows you to drive passenger vehicles. These sit 16 or more people (including the driver).
  • S endorsement — Allows you to operate a school bus.
  • N endorsement — Enables you to drive a tank CMV.
  • H endorsement — For CMVs carrying hazardous materials.​​
  • X endorsement — For tank vehicles that transport hazardous materials.
  • T endorsement — Allows you to operate double or triple trailers.

When it comes to endorsements, here are some things to remember:

  • You must take a separate written exam for each one you get
  • Some, such as S and P endorsements, require a skills test
  • The DMV only issues N, S, and P endorsements with a permit (you get the rest when you get your official CDL)

CDL Requirements in Oregon

Okay, we’re almost going to walk you through the steps. 

But first, you need to see if you meet the CDL eligibility requirements in Oregon. 

Take a look at the items below and see how many you can check off:

  • You meet the minimum age requirement:
    • 18 for intrastate commerce
    • 21 for interstate travel
  • You have an Oregon-issued Class C non-commercial license.
  • You must have at least one year of driving experience.
  • All your driving privileges must be active.  NOTE: You cannot apply for a CDL if your non-commercial license is suspended, canceled, or revoked.
  • You must be in good health and have passed the FMCSA’s physical.
  • You must be an American citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Your state of domicile must be Oregon.
  • You must be proficient in English — enough to understand traffic signs and symbols, converse with officials, and complete records and reports.

It isn’t the end of the world if you don’t get to check everything on the list. 

However, it does mean that you must work on the unmarked items before pursuing your application. 

But if you put a checkmark in every box, it’s time to go through the steps!

How to Get Your CDL in Oregon 

To make it easier for you, we’ll divide the CDL journey into two stops: 

  • Stop 1: Earning your commercial learner’s permit
  • Stop 2: Securing your commercial driver’s license 

Each stop involves specific steps, and the sections below give you that. 

How to Get Your Oregon CDL Permit 

Here are the steps to get your Oregon CDL permit: 

  1. Go to DMV2U to make an appointment for the CDL knowledge test. You can also walk in but you’ll be a standby service.
  1. On your schedule, submit these documents:
    1. Completed application form (you can find this at the office)
    2. Proof of identity, complete name, and birthdate
    3. Proof of lawful status
    4. Proof of address in Oregon
    5. Your current Oregon-issued driver’s license
    6. Your DOT medical certificate (check if this applies to you in your application) 

Click here to determine which documents you can use.

  1. Pay the $10 testing fee.
  1. Take and pass all necessary CDL knowledge tests. Besides the general knowledge test, you may also need to take the following:
    1. Combination vehicle knowledge test (for Class A applicants only)
    2. Air brake knowledge test (for CMVs with air brakes)
    3. Endorsement knowledge tests (each endorsement has a separate test)
  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Pay the $23 CDL permit fee.
  1. Receive your CDL permit. This is valid for one year only, so it’s best to get to your second stop before it expires. 

And just like that, you’ve reached your first stop! 

Now you can get behind the wheel of your chosen CMV and practice. However, ensure a licensed CDL driver, with the same class as you, supervises you at all times.

How to Get Your Oregon CDL

To get to your second stop, you must receive more training and undergo more testing. 

Here are the steps and requirements to ensure you don’t miss out on anything:

  1. Hold your CDL permit for 14 days or more.
  1. Complete the required Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Program, and ensure you’re taking it from an FMCSA-accredited provider.
NOTE: All CDL applicants must comply with this requirement if any of the following applies to them:

They are first-time candidates for Class A or Class B CDL.
They are getting an S, P, or X endorsement for the first time. 
They are upgrading their current CDL from Class B to Class A.
  1. Schedule your CDL skills test with an approved third-party testing facility.
  1. Bring the following to your appointment:
    1. Your valid CDL permit
    2. Your current Class C non-commercial license
    3. The vehicle to use for the driving test
    4. And any document that the testing facility requires (make sure to ask when you schedule an appointment)
NOTE: Keep these in mind regarding your test vehicle:

It must not have any load
It must not have a placard for hazardous materials
It cannot have more than one trailer (for Class A CDL)
It cannot tow a trailer without brakes or uses surge brakes
It is illegal or unsafe to use
  1. Pay the testing fee issued by the third-party provider. 
  1. Pass the 3-part CDL skills test:
    1. Pre-trip vehicle inspection
    2. Basic control skills
    3. On-road driving test
  1. Go to a DMV office a day after you complete your skills test and do the following:
    1. Submit all the required documents (mentioned above)
    2. Pay the DMV testing fee of $70, PLUS an additional $40 for a Certificate of Test Completion
    3. Pay the CDL fee of $75
  1. Surrender your CDL permit and receive your official CDL.

And you’re done!

Now you’re an official Oregon commercial driver.



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

It’s best to have around $4,500 prepared when working on your Oregon CDL. 

Although you won’t need to spend it all in one go, the expenses can quickly add up and catch you off-guard if you’re not careful.

The DMV fees are standard:

  • CDL written test – $10 
  • CDL permit fee – $23
  • CDL skills test – depends on the third-party tester, PLUS $70 and $40 to the DMV
  • CDL issuance fee – $75

However, the bulk of your expense will be for the ELDT program. Although providers have varying rates, the average is around $3,824.

That said, you can opt to get FREE training but have to work for the trucking company for a couple of years. 

How long is CDL school in Oregon?

Trucking school typically lasts for 160 hours.

You can complete the program within four weeks if you attend full-time. 

However, CDL schools acknowledge that not everyone can do that, so offer more flexible schedules.

This option allows you to manage other obligations (like if you work part-time), but it also lengthens the time you spend on trucking school.

What disqualifies you from getting a CDL in Oregon?

Committing the following may lead to a CDL disqualification in Oregon:

  • Driving with a BAC higher than 0.04%
  • Causing an accident with a CMV that results in a fatality
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Committing a felony using a commercial vehicle
  • Violating railroad-highway crossing grade regulations
  • Committing grave traffic violations while operating a CMV, such as excessive speeding or reckless driving
  • Operating a commercial vehicle after receiving Out-of-Service orders
  • Losing your driving privileges on your non-commercial license

Can you drive a semi without a CDL in Oregon?

No, you can’t. 

Any vehicle that weighs more than 26,000 pounds requires a commercial driver’s license to operate. 

How many questions are on the Oregon CDL permit test?

The CDL permit test in Oregon has 50 items. All questions are multiple-choice and based on the Oregon Commercial Driver Manual

It contains a table indicating the sections you must study depending on the following:

  • Your CDL class
  • Your endorsements
  • Whether or not your vehicle has air brakes

The Wrap Up

And there you have it — everything you need to know on how to get a CDL in Oregon. 

Now you know what CDL class you need, what endorsements to apply for, and how to navigate the process from beginning to end.

Remember, working towards your CDL takes time, so don’t try to rush everything. 

Just follow the steps one by one, and you’ll soon have your CDL in your hands. 

Good luck!

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