How many license classes are there in Louisiana?
What license class do I need?
How do you get a specific license class?
We’re here to answer all these questions and more.
Today, we’re going to walk you through a complete guide to the Louisiana driver’s license classes.
We’ll first name all the classes, then describe them, then give you the steps on how to get each one.
So shall we begin?
What are the Driver’s License Classes in Louisiana?
Driver’s licenses in Louisiana fall under one of three main categories:
- Personal driver’s license (Class E)
- Chauffeur’s driver’s license (Class D)
- Commercial driver’s licenses (Class A, B, and C)
If you drive a motorcycle, that doesn’t need a license. However, you have to apply for a Class M endorsement (yes, we’ll cover that, too).
Okay, now let’s look at what each license class can operate.
Class E (Personal Driver’s License)
Class E is the most common kind of driver’s license. It’s what pops into most people’s heads when a driver’s license is mentioned.
A Class E license allows you to drive a single vehicle weighing under 10,000 pounds for personal use. This includes cars, SUVs, or MPVs.
Note that we said for personal use, so you can’t use it to transport paying customers from one location to another.
Farm equipment used for moving products and supplies also requires a Class E license. It applies to any farm vehicle driven within 150 miles of a farm.
What’s more, Class E can operate a recreational vehicle.
Class D (Chauffeur’s Driver’s License)
Want to use your vehicle to earn a living?
Then consider a Class D or chauffeur’s driver’s license.
A Class D license is for vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds or heavier but doesn’t reach 26,001 pounds. This is typically used to transport people, like cabs, limousines, or Ubers.
Small trucks or vans used to move property also need this license type.
Remember, before you can carry a Class D license, you must first have a Class E license.
Class A, B, and C (Commercial Driver’s License)
The last license classification is commercial. It has three classes — A, B, and C.
Professional truck drivers are the ones that carry these.
But which commercial class do you need?
Let’s explore the difference between them.
A Class A CDL is for combination commercial motor vehicles (CMV). It must have a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) above 26,001 pounds. The unit it tows (such as a trailer) must weigh at least 10,001 pounds.
CMVs categorized as Class A include semis, big rigs, and flatbeds.
Truckers consider it the highest type of commercial license as it allows you to operate Class B and Class C vehicles (with the right endorsement).
If a Class A CDL is for combination CMVs, Class B is for heavy straight ones. These include large buses, like those used in cities or for tours. It also applies to box trucks, such as those used for deliveries and transporting furniture.
Now, you need a Class B CDL to operate a CMV with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or heavier. If towing a unit, its weight must NOT exceed 10,000 pounds.
A Class B CDL won’t allow you to drive Class A vehicles, but operating a CMV categorized as Class C is possible (with the right endorsement).
Class C can operate both a combination or single CMV that has a GVWR of fewer than 26,000 pounds. And, if towing a unit, it should not go over 10,000 pounds.
Usually, Class C CMVs are designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or to move hazardous materials in amounts that require your vehicle to have a placard.
Class M (Motorcycle Endorsement)
You’ll notice that none of the license types covers motorcycles. Well, you don’t need a separate license to operate a motorbike in Louisiana.
Instead, you must apply for a Class M or motorcycle endorsement. This is then added to an existing license.
How to Get a Class E License in Louisiana
If you are 15-16 years old, you must go through the full Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. This includes getting a learner’s permit and intermediate license before your Class E license.
Let’s go over the steps one by one.
Getting Your Learner’s Permit
- Get a Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP) from an OMV office and pay the fee of $32.25 plus any service fees.
- Complete the required driver’s education course, which consists of a 30-hour classroom course and an 8-hour behind-the-wheel training.
- Your parents or your legal guardian must be with you during your visit. They must sign your application if you’re below 17 and show the necessary documents to prove their identity and guardianship.
- Submit the following documents:
- A Certificate of Completion from your driver’s ed provider
- A document proving your identity
- Two documents confirming your residency in Louisiana (or your parent’s/legal guardian’s)
- A document showing your Social Security Number (or your parent’s/legal guardian’s)
- Pass the vision test.
- Pass the written test.
- Change your TIP into a learner’s permit.
Getting Your Intermediate License
- Be at least 16 years old and hold your learner’s permit for 180 days
- Accumulate 50 hours of driving experience. You must meet the following to comply with this requirement:
- An adult with a valid Class E license must supervise you all the time
- You must complete 15 out of the 50 hours at night
- Ensure your parents or legal guardian is with you — they still need to permit you to have an intermediate license. Also, if they were the ones to supervise your driving, have them confirm that you completed the required 50 hours.
- Pass the driving test.
NOTE: You can take this from an OMV office, your driver education provider, or an approved third-party provider.
- Pay the $13 intermediate fee plus the service fee, which can be up to $6.
- Receive your Intermediate license.
Getting Your Class E License
Once you turn 17 years old, you can upgrade your intermediate license to a full Class E license.
However, if you’re only starting the entire process at 17 years old or older, these are the steps you need to complete:
- Get your TIP and pay the fee of $32.25.
- Complete a driver’s ed course. You can attend the one with a 30-hour classroom portion or a 6-hour pre-licensing course. Either way, you’ll have to undergo an 8-hour behind-the-wheel training.
- Gather the necessary documents to prove or show the following:
- Your driver’s ed completion certificate
- Your identity
- Your residency in Louisiana
- Your Social Security Number
- Make an appointment and submit your documents.
- Pass all the required tests:
- Vision exam
- Knowledge exam
- Driving exam
- Convert your TIP to a full Class E license
If you want an even more detailed procedure, check out our article on “How to Get A Driver’s License in Louisiana”.
How to Get a Class D License in Louisiana
You must be 17 years old or older to carry a chauffeur’s license. Also, as we mentioned, you must have a Class E license first (you can refer to the steps above for that).
Once you have your Class E driver’s license, do the following:
- Visit a local OMV office.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass a written exam.
- Use the table below to determine how much you need to pay:
|OMV Office||Age||License Fee||Handling Fee||Service Fee|
|Regular OMV Office||17 to 69||$42.75||$12||Up to $6|
|70 and older||$22.13|
|Parish OMV Office||17 to 69||$54|
|70 and older||$27.75|
How to Get a Class A, B, and C License in Louisiana
Regardless of the commercial license class you need, the process is the same.
Like a Class E license, you first need a permit. So, let’s work on that first.
Getting Your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
- Choose your CDL class and any endorsements
- Ensure you qualify for a CDL in Louisiana.
- Submit the following documents:
- Your active driver’s license
- Proof of identity and residency
- A completed Supplemental Form for CDL Application
- A medical certificate from an FMCSA-approved doctor
- Pass the CDL written exam.
- Pay the following fees:
- $15 CLP application fee
- $7.50 for each endorsement (if applicable)
- Up to $6 service fee
Getting Your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
- Hold your CLP for 14 days or longer.
- Complete the required Entry-Level Driver Training Program.
NOTE: All first-time applicants of Class A or B CDL or S, P, and X endorsements need to undergo this. It also applies if you’re upgrading your CDL from a Class A to a Class B.
- Schedule an appointment for your CDL skills exam from an approved third-party provider.
- Pass the skills portion of the CDL exam.
NOTE: You must pay $100 to the approved third-party tester. And, if you can’t provide your own commercial vehicle, you have to spend more to rent one.
- Go to an OMV office and surrender your CLP
- Pay the CDL fee of $61.50 (it costs $76.50 in New Orleans)
Want to know more? Then check out our complete guide on “How to Get A CDL in Louisiana”.
How to Get a Class M Endorsement in Louisiana
Again, Louisiana doesn’t issue a separate license that allows you to operate a motorcycle. A Class M endorsement on an active license is what you need, regardless of whether you have a personal, chauffeur, or commercial license.
The earliest you can get a Class M endorsement is when you turn 17 years old.
Here’s what you need to do to get your M endorsement:
- Obtain a valid Louisiana driver’s license (any class).
- Complete a motorcycle operator training program. The DPS’s Basic Rider Course is enough to qualify you.
- Go to a local OMV office and submit your application.
- Pass the following tests:
- Knowledge exam
- On-cycle skills exam
NOTE: Taking the DPS motorcycle course may exempt you from both tests.
- Pay the $12 endorsement fee.
- Have an M endorsement placed in your license.
The Wrap Up
And that concludes your complete guide to the Louisiana driver’s license classes.
Now, you know exactly what license class you need.
Not only that, but you know all the requirements and steps to get them.
So what are you waiting for?
Go ahead and get the license class for YOU.