Ohio Driver’s License Classes – And How to Get Each One

Ohio Driver's License Classes - And How to Get Each One

What license class do you need to operate your vehicle?

What about a motorcycle?

How do I know what commercial license I need?

A Class A CDL, Class B CDL, or Class C CDL?

We’re here to answer all those questions and more. 

In this guide to Ohio driver’s license classes, we’ll first go through each class and what it operates. From there, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to get each one. 

This way, you know EXACTLY what license you need and how to obtain it. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away!

Driver’s License Classes in Ohio

Let’s start with the different driver’s license classes you can get in Ohio. 

There are 5 in total:

  • Class D
  • Class A CDL
  • Class B CDL
  • Class C CDL
  • Class CM

Let’s dive into the details of each.

Class D

People typically refer to a Class D when they mention their driver’s license. It allows you to operate non-commercial vehicles, like sedans, small trucks, or pick-ups. These vehicles should not exceed 26,000 pounds. 

Class A CDL

Class A CDL is the highest commercial license. This means it can operate the heaviest trucks. 

To be more specific, a Class A CDL can operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,000 pounds or heavier. The CMV must also tow units weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

Flatbed trucks and semis fall under this category. 

And, because it is the highest CDL, you can use it to drive CMVs in the other classes, too. If so, you must have the proper endorsements.

Class B CDL

CMVs, like large city buses, box vans, or dump trucks, require a Class B CDL. 

You will need this class for commercial vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeding 26,000 pounds.

Class B CMVs can tow units, too, but these should weigh less than 10,000 pounds. 

Although you can’t use it to operate Class A CMVs, it allows you to drive those under Class C. Again, you must have the proper endorsements. 

Class C CDL

Some vehicles weigh fewer than 26,000 pounds but still require a CDL to drive them. 

You’ll know whether a smaller vehicle requires a commercial driver’s license from its purpose or design.

Class C CMVs should be designed to accommodate 16 or more passengers (including the driver), such as a school bus.

You also need this CDL class if you use your vehicle to transport large amounts of hazardous materials — enough to warrant placarding.

Class MC

The last driver’s license class is MC. It’s for any two or three-wheeled motor vehicles, such as motorcycles and scooters.

How to Get a Class D License in Ohio

So it’s a regular driver’s license that you need…

Well, here are the steps to get one. 

Get a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC). This is required for everyone (no matter your age).

  1. Take and pass the knowledge exam online. If you’re 18+ years old, make sure to select the adult exam. 
  1. Apply for your TICIP at a deputy registrar license agency. If you’re below 18 years old, you must bring a parent or legal guardian with you. 
  1. Submit the following documents:
    1. Proof of identity
    2. Proof of date of birth
    3. Proof of legal presence in the US 
    4. Social Security Number
    5. Proof of Ohio residency

Click here for a list of acceptable documents or use the BMV’s interactive system

  1. Pass the vision screening.
  1. Have your photo taken.
  1. Pay the permit fee of $23.50.
  1. Receive your Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC).

NOTE: If you’re under 18 years old, you must hold your TICIP for 6 months, complete an approved driver’s ed, and accumulate 50 hours of supervised driving before scheduling a driving test. But if you’re already 18 or older, you can schedule your driving test anytime. 

Get a Probationary Driver’s License (for teens below 18 years old) OR a Class D License (for those 18 and above). 

  1. Schedule a driving test with BMV’s Online Services
  1. On your test date, submit the following:
    1. Your Driver Education Certificate (if you are below 18 years old)
    2. Your valid TIPIC
    3. The vehicle for your driving test
    4. The vehicle’s registration and insurance
  1. Take and pass the driving test.
  1. Go to a deputy registrar license agency and apply for a probationary license (if below 18) or a Class D license (if 18+)
  1. Bring the following with you:
    1. A parent or legal guardian (if below 18 years old).
    2. A filled-out BMV5791 Fifty-Hour Affidavit to confirm your supervised driving hours (if below 18 years old).
    3. Proof of identity, date of birth, citizenship or legal presence, SSN, and Ohio residency.
  1. Pay the licensing fee appropriate to your age:
    1. 16 years old – $25.75
    2. 17 years old – $24.50
    3. 18 years old – $23.25
    4. 19 years old – $22
    5. 20 years old – $20.75
    6. 21+ years old – $$24.50 (4-year) OR $48 (8-year)
  1. Receive a temporary paper license. Your official probationary OR Class D license will arrive by mail within 7 to 10 days.

Change a Probationary Driver’s License to a Class D License. 

  1. Hold your probationary license for 1 year or turn 18 years old (whichever comes first).
  1. Go to a deputy registrar license agency. 
  1. Apply for a Class D license. 
  1. Submit the required documents. 
  1. Pay the required fee (depending on your age).
  1. Receive your paper license and wait for your Class D license to arrive in the mail. 

If you need more information, such as restrictions, then you can read more about Ohio driver’s license requirements here. 

How to Get a Class A, B, and C CDL in Ohio

What CDL class do you need?

It doesn’t matter — the process is the same. Although you do need to certify what class you’re getting. 

Get a CDL Permit. 

  1. Comply with the basic Ohio CDL requirements:
    1. Be at least 18 years old
    2. Have a Class D license
  1. Determine what CDL class you need, as well as any endorsements.
  1. Visit a driver exam station and present the following documents:
    1. Proof of identity (name, date of birth, and legal status)
    2. Proof of residence in Ohio
    3. Proof of a valid Social Security number

You can find the acceptable documents here

  1. Pass the CDL knowledge exam and any endorsement exams (if applicable).
  1. Visit a deputy registrar license agency and apply for a CDL permit. Bring the same documents in Step 3, PLUS a CDL Self-Certification Authorization (Form BMV 2159) and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (if applicable). 

NOTE: You can self-certify online through the BMV Online Service

  1. Pay the CDL permit fee of $28.50.
  1. Get your CDL permit and use it to gain behind-the-wheel experience for your CMV class. 

Get a CDL.

  1. Hold your CDL permit for at least 14 days. 
  1. Complete the required Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) program. 
  1. Schedule your CDL skills test. You can also take it at an approved third-party facility. 
  1. Pay the testing fee. These vary depending on where you take your CDL skills test:
State-Owned Testing FacilityThird-Party Testing Facility
Pre-trip inspection: $10.00
Basic test: $10.00
Road test: $30.00
Pre-trip inspection: $27.00
Basic test: $27.00
Road test: $61.00

NOTE: State-owned facilities do not accept payments. You must go to a deputy registrar license agency, make your payment, and secure a CDL Test Receipt. For Third-Party facilities, you can pay on-site.

  1. Submit the following during your appointment:
    1. Your CDL Test Receipt (for those going to a state-owned facility)
    2. Your valid CDL permit and Class D Ohio-issued license
    3. A CMV to use for your road test. It must be representative of the CDL class you’re getting.
  1. Pass the CDL skills test.
  1. Go to a deputy registrar license agency, apply for a CDL, and pay the required fees:
    1. Licensing fee: $43.50 (4-year CDL) or $86.00 (8-year CDL)
    2. For each endorsement: $44.50
  1. Get your CDL.

For more information, including endorsements and restrictions, check out our article on ‘How to Get A CDL in Ohio”. 

How to Get a Class MC License in Ohio 

Everyone in Ohio starts with getting a motorcycle permit, regardless of age. 

If you’re under 18, you’ll go through the Graduated Driver’s License process. 

However, those 18 or older can schedule their motorcycle driving tests as soon as they’re ready.

Here’s the end-to-end process of getting your Class MC license in Ohio:

  1. Go to a driver exam station and do the following:
    1. Submit documents showing your complete name, birthday, and Social Security Number.
    2. Pass the vision screening.
    3. Pass the motorcycle knowledge exam.
  1. Visit a deputy registrar license agency and show documents proving the following:
    1. Your identity and date of birth
    2. Your legal presence
    3. A valid Social Security Number
    4. Your address in Ohio

Click here to see a list of acceptable documents.

  1. If under 18 years old, you must have a parent or guardian with you. They must present valid identification and co-sign your motorcycle permit.
  1. Purchase your temporary motorcycle permit for $22.50.

NOTE: A motorcycle or moped permit is valid for one year. You must get your license before it expires. Otherwise, you will have to restart the process.

  1. If you’re under 18, proceed to Step 6. Otherwise, go directly to Step 7.
  1. Complete the requirements for a motorcycle probationary license:
    1. Hold your permit for more than 6 months
    2. Complete the education requirements — either driver’s ed from an approved driving school OR attend a motorcycle safety education course.
    3. Accumulate 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which must be at night
  1. Schedule your motorcycle skills test through the following channels:
    1. BMV online services
    2. Contacting a driver exam station
    3. Calling (614) 752 7600

NOTE: Completing a motorcycle safety course may allow you to waive your skills test within 60 days of receiving a certificate.

  1. Pass the motorcycle skills test. 
  1. Go to a deputy registrar license agency, bring the required documents, and purchase a motorcycle license. It’ll cost $24.50 (4-year) OR $48.00 (8-year).
  1. Get your motorcycle-only license.

The Wrap Up


That was a lot of information!

But now you know all the Ohio driver’s license classes, when you need them, and how to get them.

Don’t hesitate to revisit this page if you get lost or overwhelmed during the process.

Good luck!

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