Calling all aspiring truck drivers in Massachusetts…
Are you confused about where and how to get a CDL?
Well, we have the answers for you here.
Today, we’re going to take you through a complete guide on the Massachusetts CDL requirements. We’ll walk you through all the CDL classes, steps, requirements, and more.
With this, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
So shall we begin?
CDL Classes in Massachusetts
Before anything else, you need to determine which CDL class you need.
In Massachusetts, there are 3 classes, namely:
- Class A CDL
- Class B CDL
- Class C CDL
Let’s see what each class can operate.
Class A CDL
Class A CDL is the highest license that you can obtain in Massachusetts. Class A CDL holders can operate trucks and trailers that have a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. The towed unit or vehicle should be at least 10,000 pounds.
Since these commercial vehicles are the hardest to operate, any Class A CDL holder can operate Class B and Class C commercial vehicles, assuming that they have the right endorsements.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL is for drivers operating a commercial vehicle that has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. If it is used for towing, the unit or vehicle should not exceed 10,000 pounds.
Because it is not specific to trucks and trailers, Class B CDL holders can operate city buses that fall under the weight requirement — as long as they have the right endorsement.
Class C CDL
Finally, the Class C CDL is for commercial vehicles that are not under either Class A or Class B. In other words, it can operate a commercial vehicle that is fewer than 26,0001 pounds and carries a unit/vehicle less than 10,000 pounds.
This CDL is usually used to operate trucks that transport hazardous materials and buses that transport 16 or more passengers. Again, you will need the right endorsements for this.
CDL Endorsements in Massachusetts
We’ve been mentioning endorsements quite a bit, which might lead to the question, “What are endorsements?”
Well, endorsements are additional approvals for you to operate specific types of commercial vehicles.
In Massachusetts, there are seven endorsements.
- A – allows a CDL holder to operate a truck that has air brakes. You don’t need additional exams to get this endorsement.
- H – allows a CDL holder to transport hazardous materials. You need to pass a Transportation Security Administration’s Security Background Check and a Hazardous Materials Endorsement exam to get this.
- N – allows a CDL holder to operate tanks that carry large volumes of liquid.
- P – allows a CDL holder to operate vehicles that carry 16 or more passengers.
- S – allows a CDL holder to operate school buses.
- T – allows a CDL holder to operate double and triple trailers. You can only get this endorsement if you are a Class A CDL holder.
- X – allows a CDL holder to operate a vehicle with a tank (N) that carries hazardous materials (H)
Now, you can get some endorsements with your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), while you have to get others when you already hold your official commercial driver’s license (CDL).
CDL Requirements in Massachusetts
We’re still going through your pre-application steps.
So once you choose a CDL class and, if you need it, endorsement, you have to check if you fulfill the initial requirements to get a CDL.
Here are the initial requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old. If driving interstate, you need to be at least 21 years old.
- Must have a Social Security Number
- Must have proof of Massachusetts residence
- Must have proof of US citizenship or legal presence
- Must have a valid driver’s license
- Must not hold a driver’s license in any other state
- Must not have any outstanding obligations in another state
If you pass, then we can finally get to the steps to getting your CDL.
How to Get A CDL in Massachusetts
Just like a regular driver’s license, you first need to get a permit — in this case, a commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
How to Get Your Massachusetts CLP
As we said, a CLP is just like a regular learner’s permit. This means that it will allow you to practice driving your CDL class with supervision.
If you’re ready to apply for a CLP, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Decide if you want a REAL ID CLP or a standard CLP. NOTE: a REAL ID CLP allows you to use it for federal identification.
- Pass a self-certification online. This is to inform the RMV what CDL class you plan on getting.
- Complete a medical certification form signed by a licensed physician (if applicable)
- Apply for a CLP online. Apply for a learner’s permit > identify the CLP class you need.
- Print and fill out the application form.
- On your scheduled date, bring the application form to an RMV office and submit it, along with these documents:
- Photocopy of driver’s license
- Photocopy of proof of birth, age, and identity
- Photocopy of proof of citizenship or legal presence in the US
- Completed medical certificate (if applicable)
- Take and pass the CDL permit exam and (if applicable) any endorsement exams. NOTE: you can prepare for this by studying the Massachusetts CDL Manual.
- Pay the $30 CLP fee. If you get an endorsement, you must also pay the $10 endorsement fee.
- Receive your CLP.
How to Get Your Massachusetts CDL
To get your official MA CDL, here is what you need to do:
- Hold your CLP for at least 14 days. NOTE: if you’re not yet ready, you can hold it for much longer as your CLP expires in 180 days.
- Complete an approved Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program if:
- You are getting a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
- You are getting an S, P, or H endorsement for the first time
- Schedule a CDL skills exam online or by calling 617-351-4500 or 800-858-3926. Walk-in examinees are not allowed.
- Pay the $35 CDL skills exam fee online. You can do this 60 days before and after taking the exam.
- On your scheduled date, bring the following:
- An insured commercial vehicle that fits your CDL class
- Valid driver’s license
- Medical certificate
- Completed CDL Road Test Application Form
- ELDT completion certificate (if applicable)
- Proof of age, birth, and identity
- Proof of Massachusetts residence
- Proof of US citizenship or legal presence
- Have a sponsor accompany you. The sponsor must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Hold a valid CDL
- Have a current DOT card
- Take and pass the skills exam. You will have to pass all 3 parts – the pre-trip inspection, off-street skills test, and on-the-road test.
- If you pass the exam, your examiner will put a stamp on your CLP.
- Go to an RMV office and show the stamped CLP to get your CDL
And now you are a fully licensed commercial driver.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here is additional information that can help you with your CDL application in Massachusetts.
How long does it take to get a CDL license in Massachusetts?
It can take around 2-4 months to get a CDL. That includes getting and holding your CLP, finishing an ELDT program, and completing the steps to getting your CDL.
What disqualifies you from a CDL in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, there are a lot of violations that will lead to immediate disqualification of your CDL. These are:
- DUI or refusing to get tested for a DUI
- Using a commercial vehicle to commit a felony
- Has been proven negligent and caused injury to another person
- Serious driving violations such as reckless driving, speeding, and driving without a proper license
A disqualification can lead to a 1-year suspension of your CDL or, worse, a total CDL revocation.
How much does a CDL cost in Massachusetts?
The total cost can be anywhere between $7,000 to $10,000. The bulk of this cost will be your ELDT program.
How many questions are on the CDL test in MA?
There are 50 questions on the CDL permit exam. To pass, you need to get 40 questions right.
That is how to get a CDL in Massachusetts.
At first, the requirements and steps might seem overwhelming. But when you know everything in order, you’ll see that it is very straightforward.
So what are you waiting for?
Go ahead and plan which CDL class you need and get started.