Types of Driver’s Licenses in Arkansas (A Complete 2024 Guide)

Types of Driver’s Licenses in Arkansas (A Complete Guide)

Do you need a Class A, B, C, D, or M license?

Did that sound like a foreign language? If it did, don’t worry — you’re not the only one.

There are multiple types of driver’s licenses in Arkansas. You might already have an idea of what each type is… 

…but what are these types called?

Well, our complete guide walks you through all types of driver’s licenses in Arkansas. This will help you understand which one you need, why you need it, and how to get it.

So let’s begin!

Arkansas Driver’s License Classifications

Let’s start with the big picture. Although there are 5 main types of driver’s licenses in Arkansas, you can split this into 2 groups — Commercial and Non-Commercial.

First, let’s see the commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Class A, B, and C are called CDLs or Commercial Driver’s Licenses. As the term implies, you must carry one of these if operating a commercial vehicle.

But how do you know which class you need? The answer lies in what vehicle you have.

Arkansas Class A CDL

You need a Class A CDL if you’re driving a commercial vehicle with a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or higher. If you have a combination vehicle – a truck with a towed unit – the latter must weigh more than 10,000 pounds.

Drivers with a Class A CDL can drive all other commercial vehicles, even if they fall under different categories.

Arkansas Class B CDL

Class B CDL is similar to Class A in that it can operate a vehicle with a GCWR of 26,0001 pounds or more. 

However, the difference is that Class B should only carry a trailer that weighs less than 10,000 pounds. 

If you carry a Class B CDL,  you can also operate commercial vehicles categorized as Class C. However, you cannot drive those under Class A.

Arkansas Class C CDL

You need a Class C CDL if your vehicle meets any of these descriptions:

  • You’re using it to transport hazardous materials
  • You’re carrying any quantities of substances considered a toxin or a select agent
  • Your vehicle carries 16 or more passengers, including the driver

Non-Commercial Driver’s Licenses

Now, let’s move on to the non-commercial driver’s licenses. 

Arkansas Class D License

This is the license type most people are familiar with. You could call this the “regular” driver’s license.

Holding a Class D license lets you operate any vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of under 26,001 pounds. And of course, this vehicle should not be used in a commercial setting. 

Arkansas Class M License

You need a Class M license for a motorcycle that displaces more than 250CC. 

Arkansas Class MD License

If your motorcycle displaces less than 250 CCs, you need a Class MD license instead of a Class M license. 

Arkansas Motorized Bicycle (MB) Certificate

If you drive a motorized bicycle that displaces 50 CCs or less, you need an MB certificate. The state issues it to people between 14 to 16, after which it expires. Drivers who hold any other type of license, whether commercial or not, are automatically authorized to operate a motorized bicycle.

How to Get a Class D License in Arkansas

Since Arkansas has a graduated licensing program, you’ll go through various restricted licenses before the unrestricted one. These are:

  • Learner’s permit
  • Intermediate license
  • Unrestricted license (Class D)

Let’s see how to get these licenses. 

Arkansas Learner’s Permit 

Here are the steps to getting your Arkansas learner’s permit:

  1. Be at least 14 years old.
  1. Go to the Arkansas State Police website and schedule your written test online.
  1. On your scheduled date, go to the testing site and bring the following documents:
  • Your birth certificate (either the original or certified copy)
  • Signature of parent or legal guardian
  • School Attendance or Notice of Intent to Home School Form OR GED or High School Diploma (online diplomas are not accepted)
  1. Pass the vision test.
  1. Pass the written test. If you fail, you can retake it after 5 days. You will also need to pay a $5 fee for each attempt.
  1. Apply at your local DFA revenue office and have your picture taken.
  1. Pay the $40 permit fee. If you use a credit card, you must pay an additional $2.
  1. Receive your learner’s permit. It remains valid for a year and you cannot renew it.
  1. Practice driving under the supervision of someone holding a valid Class D license. You cannot take a road test until after you’ve had your permit for at least 30 days.
  1. Pass a road test.

Arkansas Intermediate License

These are the steps to getting your intermediate license in Arkansas:

  1. Be at least 16 years old. You must also have had your permit for at least 6 months.
  1. You must have a clean driving record prior to your application date.
  1. Go to your local DFA Revenue office to apply.
  1. Submit the following documents:
    • Learner’s Permit
    • Social Security Number verification card. If you do not have one, you must have a signed affidavit.
    • Proof of identity
    • Proof of birth date
    • Proof of change of name if your birth certificate shows a different one
    • Proof of legal presence in the U.S.
  1. Have them take your picture.
  1. Pay a $40 license fee. If you pay via credit card, there is an additional $2 fee.

If you’re married, a high school graduate, in the military, or received your GED, you can skip getting your intermediate license and go straight to an unrestricted one.

Arkansas Unrestricted License

You become eligible for a Class D license once you turn 18. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Ensure you’re qualified to apply for an unrestricted license:
    1. You maintained a clean driving  record for the last 12 months
    2. You’ve had your intermediate license for at least one year
  1. Go to your local DFA Revenue Office to apply.
  1. Provide the necessary documents to prove your identity. These can be the same ones you used when you got your intermediate license.
  1. Have them take your picture and pay the $40 licensing fee.


You now have a Class D driver’s license.

How to Get a Class A, B, C License in Arkansas

Like a regular driver’s license, you must get a permit first.

Arkansas Commercial Learner’s Permit

This is how to get a CLP in Arkansas:

  1. Apply to any Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles.
  1. Identify which CDL you need. You must also know what you’ll be transporting because it will tell you which endorsements to get. 
  1. Pay the $50 testing fee.
  1. Pass the general written exam. If you have an endorsement, you should take the exam for that as well. 

Having a CLP means you can already drive a commercial vehicle, but someone with a valid CLD must supervise you.

Remember that you only have a year before your permit expires, so you need to get your CDL within that period.

Arkansas Commercial Driver’s License

Here is how to change your CLP to a CDL:

  1. You must hold your commercial learner’s permit for at least 14 days.
  1. Schedule and take your road test in any of these areas:

a.     Little Rock

b.     Russellville

c.      Newport

d.     Hope

e.     Pine Bluff

f.      Springdale

Remember to bring your own vehicle for the CDL test. You’ll need to pass the pre-trip inspection, the driving skills test held in a closed course, and the on-the-road skills test.

3.     Pay for the $42 CDL fee.

How to Get a Class M/MD License in Arkansas

Finally, these are the steps to getting a Class M/MD license in Arkansas:

  1. Ensure you meet the minimum age requirement. For Class MD,  you must be at least 14 years old. Class M licensees have to be 16 or older.
  1. Applicants below 16 for Class MD and 18 for Class M must submit the following documents:
    • Either an original or certified copy of your certificate
    • Signature of parent or legal guardian
    • School Attendance or Notice of Intent to Home School Form OR GED or High School Diploma (online diplomas will not be accepted)
  1. Pass the knowledge exam for a motorcycle and a regular driver’s license.
  1. Pass the vision test.
  1. Pass a motorcycle skills exam. Completing a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Riders Course allows you to skip this. After finishing the program, you have 90 days to present your certificate.
  1. Return to the Revenue Office to get your license.


Whew! That was a lot!

But now, you have a single source of all information related to the types of driver’s licenses in Arkansas. You’ve got it all here — from what the different types are to the steps to get them.

So figure out what you need and start working towards it!

Good luck!

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