Pennsylvania CDL Requirements

In State Driving Age:
Driving Between States Age:
Hazardous Age:
Exams Required:
  • Vision
  • Written Test
  • Driving Test
IDs Required:
  • Driver's License

Applicants for a Class A commercial driver license (CDL) in Pennsylvania need to be at least 18 years of age. However, they will need to already have a regular driver license before they can apply for their learner’s permits for a CDL.

The Documents Needed to Apply for a CDL

The first thing that applicants will need to do is fill out the application and submit it to their nearest Driver License Center. When they arrive, they will also need to have the following with them:

  • Their current Pennsylvania driver licenses
  • Documents proving their identity and residency in the state
  • Their social security cards
  • Any documents showing a name change
  • Check or money order for their fees

The DL-31CD and the DL-11CD

Applicants for the CDL in Pennsylvania will also need to submit two different forms. The first is the DL-31CD. This form allows applicants to upgrade their regular Pennsylvania driver licenses to commercial status and receive their learner’s permits. They will also need to certify the type of driving they plan to do. For this purpose, they will need to submit the form DL-11CD.

The Knowledge Tests

Every applicant will need to take a knowledge test containing 70 questions. Some applicants will also need to take additional tests so that they can add endorsements to their licenses. The knowledge that will be covered on the written test may be found in the free Pennsylvania CDL Manual.

These additional tests include the following:

  • The double/triple trailer endorsement– 20 questions
  • The tank endorsement – 20 questions
  • The hazardous materials endorsement – 30 questions
  • The air brake endorsement – 25 questions

The Driving Skills Test

After applicants pass the required knowledge tests, they will receive their learner’s permits. They will have time to learn to drive the commercial vehicle of their choice before they will take the driving skills test. After applicants have had their learner’s permits for at least 30 days, they can make an appointment to take the driving skills exam. Applicants will need to present the following documents when they arrive for the exam:

  • Their learner’s permits
  • Their commercial vehicles’ registrations
  • Proof of insurance for their vehicles
  • The CDL of the person who accompanied them to the exam

The driving skills test will be comprised of three parts. The first part is the inspection when applicants study the vehicle and ensure that it is in condition to be driven safely on the road. During the second part, applicants will show that they can control the vehicle at the testing site. Then, they will demonstrate that they can operate the vehicle on the roads within traffic.

Receiving the CDL

Applicants who pass the driving skills test receive a camera card that they will take to the nearest PennDOT Photo License Center. Their photographs will be taken, and they will receive their license after they pay their fees. The fees will depend on how long applicants have before their current licenses expire, and these fees range from $23.50 to $53.50. If applicants are adding the Hazmat endorsement, for example, they may need to pay an extra fee.

Pennsylvania re-licensing information includes the need to renew every four years. Individuals are expected to renew by their birth date, and may be subject to testing for failure to do so.

View Truck Driving Schools in Pennsylvania that provide CDL License training. 

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