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

How to Get A CDL in Texas

Planning to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Texas? 

It’s not as hard as you might think! 

Of course, you still need to go through all the steps and requirements.

But if you’re diligent about it, then you’ll soon be on your way to becoming a truck driver. 

To help you out here, we’re going to give you all the steps and requirements needed. 

So are you ready to learn how to get a CDL in Texas?

Let’s begin!

CDL Classes in Texas

The first thing you need to do is determine which CDL class to get. 

Now, in Texas, there are 3 classes:

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

Let’s look at each one.

NOTE: In Texas, you can operate all the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) types that fall under your CDL class plus all other vehicles that fall in the lower CDL classes. So if you’re getting a Class A CDL, that means you can operate a Class B and Class C CMV as long as you have the proper endorsements. 

Class A CDL

This is the highest CDL class. 

A Class A CDL is for combination commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more.

Since it’s a combination CMV, there is a towed vehicle that should have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. 

Class B CDL

This is the second CDL class. 

A Class B CDL operates CMVs that fall under any of these categories: 

  • A single CMV with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • A single CMV with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more and is towing a vehicle with a GVWR of up to 10,000 pounds or less. 
  • A single CMV designed to transport 24 passengers, including the driver.

Class C CDL

This is the lowest CDL class. 

A Class C CDL is for commercial vehicles that: 

  • Don’t fall under either Class A or B, meaning it has a GVWR of fewer than 26,0001 pounds and (if applicable) tows units fewer than 10,000 pounds. 
  • Is designed to transport 16-23 passengers, including the driver. 
  • Is used to transport hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded.

CDL Endorsements in Texas

Other than choosing a CDL class, you also need to determine whether or not you need endorsements. 

An endorsement on your CDL will allow you to operate certain CMVs and/or carry certain loads. 

Let’s look at the available endorsements in Texas:

EndorsementCMVs/loadNeeds a knowledge test?Needs a driving test?Can add on your CDL permit?
HAllows you to transport hazardous materialsYesNoNo
NAllows you to operate a CMV with a tankYesNoYes
PAllows you to transport passengersYesYesYes
SAllows you to operate a school busYesYesYes
TAllows you to operate double/triple trailerYesNoNo
X (combination)Allows you to operate a CMV with a tank that carries hazardous materialsYesNoNo

CDL Requirements in Texas

Get this. 

Not everyone is eligible to get a CDL. 

So to avoid wasting your time, know that you are only allowed to apply if you meet these requirements: 

  • You are at least 18 years old OR 21 years old if you plan to cross state lines.
  • You have a valid Texas driver’s license.
  • You can show proof of US citizenship or lawful presence in the country
  • You can show proof of Texas residency
  • Have a Social Security Number (SSN)
  • You can show evidence of Texas vehicle registration and proof of insurance*

*If you do not have a vehicle, you have to sign a statement saying so. 

If you can’t fulfill one of these requirements, then you first have to work on that.

Don’t worry – these are pretty basic requirements to work on. 

But if you can already check everything, then move on to the steps of getting your Texas-issued CDL. 

How to Get A CDL in Texas – The 2 Stages to Complete

To get a CDL in Texas, you need to complete these 2 stages:

  • Get a CDL permit
  • Earn your official CDL

Let’s walk you through these stages… 

How to Get Your Texas CDL Permit

Here are the steps to getting your CDL permit in Texas: 

  1. Prepare the following documents:
    1. A completed application form (Form CDL-1)
    2. A completed Interstate Driver Certification form (Form CDL-4). This is only required for Interstate Commerce. 
    3. A completed Intrastate Driver Certification form (Form CDL-5). This is only required for Intrastate Commerce. 
    4. A Medical Examiners Certificate OR a Certification of Physical Exemption form (Form CDL-10). This is only required for Interstate Commerce. 
    5. Your valid Texas driver’s license
    6. Proof of US citizenship or lawful presence in the country
    7. Proof of Texas residency
    8. Proof of Identity
    9. Proof of Social Security Number
    10. Proof of Texas vehicle registration and proof of insurance (if you own a vehicle)
  1. (OPTIONAL): Study the Texas CDL Handbook to prepare for the CDL knowledge test. 
  1. Schedule an appointment at the nearest driver’s license office. 
  1. While there, submit all your documents. 
  1. Pay the CDL permit application fee of $26 (already includes the $1 administrative fee) AND $12 for any endorsement tests. 
  1. Provide your thumbprints and have your picture taken. 
  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Pass the CDL knowledge test and (if applicable) combination (for Class A CDL), air brakes, or any endorsement test(s).
  1. Receive your Texas-issued CDL permit. 

How to Get Your Texas CDL

Follow these steps and requirements to upgrade your CDL permit to an official CDL:

  1. Hold your CDL permit for 14 days or longer. 
NOTE: Your CDL permit will expire in 180 days (around 6 months). You can choose to max it out for even more practice before the CDL skills test. 
  1. Complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) from an FMCSA-approved trucking school. This is required if you’re:
    1. Getting a Class A or B CDL for the first time
    2. Upgrading a CDL class (i.e. from Class B CDL to Class A CDL)
    3. Getting a school bus or passenger endorsement for the first time
    4. Getting a hazardous materials endorsement for the first time  
  1. Research any requirements for an H, N, T, or X endorsement and make sure to work on them.
  1. (OPTIONAL): Review the CDL skills test requirements and policies here. 
  1. Make an appointment for your CDL skills test in any of these locations.
  1. Bring the following to the testing location:
    1. Your valid CDL permit
    2. A filled-out application form (Form CDL-1)
    3. Proof of identity and Social Security Number
    4. A CMV that falls under your CDL class, complete with registration and insurance 
    5. Any requirements needed for an H, N, T, or X endorsement
  1. Submit your documents and pay the appropriate fees:
    1. CDL fee for 18-84 years old – $98
    2. CDL fee with H endorsement for 18-84 years old – $62
    3. CDL fee for 85 and older – $26
  1. Provide thumbprints and your photo. 
  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Pass an H, N, T, or X endorsement test with a fee of $12 each (if applicable). 
  1. Pass the CDL skills test. 
  1. Receive your official CDL. 

You’ve completed all the stages!

And because of that, you can now operate commercial vehicles under your CDL class. 


Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get A CDL in Texas

How Much Does it Cost to Get a CDL in Texas?

Here is a rundown of all the expenses you have to pay to get a CDL in Texas.

CDL permit fee:$26
Endorsement test fee:$12 each
ELDT program fee:$1,000 to $5,000
CDL fee for 18-84 years old:$98
CDL fee with H endorsement for 18-84 years old:$62
CDL fee for 85 and older:$26

All fees include the $1 administrative fee already.

How Long Does it Take to Get a CDL in Texas?

Around 1 to 2 months. 

The application process is pretty quick in and of itself. 

However, you will need at least 4 weeks to complete the ELDT program, as well as a few days to hold your CDL permit. 

This is also not counting the time it will take if you fail one CDL test. 

Can I Get a CDL Without Going to School in Texas?

Yes, you can apply for a CDL permit right away without going to school. However, it’s highly recommended to study the Texas CDL Handbook to prepare you for the tests. 

However, you will need to complete Entry-Level Driver Training before you can schedule your CDL skills test. 

What Disqualifies You from Getting a CDL in Texas?

CDL holders or applicants may be disqualified from getting a CDL and operating a commercial vehicle if: 

  • You have had a DUI offense
  • You’ve had two serious traffic offenses
  • You violated railroad-highway grade crossing laws
  • You committed a felony

Is a Texas CDL Valid in All States?

Yes. When you have a Texas-issued CDL, you are allowed to travel interstate. 

That said, you are still required to show proof of Texas residency when applying for the CDL. 

What Are the 5 Tests for CDL in Texas?

The 5 CDL tests in Texas include:

  • Vision screening – you take this for your CDL permit and CDL
  • CDL general knowledge (written test)
  • Air brakes (written test)
  • Combination vehicles (written test)
  • CDL  skills test

You may also have to take an endorsement test (if applicable).

How Much Do Truck Drivers Earn in Texas?

According to, truck drivers in Texas earn an average of $93,119 per year (as of June 2023). 

This average salary can go from lows of $49,491 to highs of $175,206 per year. 

Your salary will depend on your freight carrier company, your duties, your responsibilities, the type of CDL class and endorsement you hold, and much more. 

But as you can see, being a truck driver in Texas can earn BIG


How do you get a CDL in Texas?

Just follow all the steps and requirements we listed here. 

This will make it so much easier for you. 

So what are you waiting for?

Now that you know what to do, go ahead and get started today!

Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *