Washington CDL Requirements

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

Driving a commercial vehicle in the state of Washington requires that people have a Class A commercial driver license (CDL). In order to apply for the CDL, they will need to meet the following requirements:

  • They are at least 18 years of age
  • They must have a current driver license from the state of Washington
  • They must be able to prove their identities
  • They must have a valid social security number
  • They must pass all of their knowledge tests and the driving skills exam
  • They must pay various fees
  • They must pass the required physical examination

Those who meet the above qualifications can apply for a commercial driver instruction permit (CDIP), and they will do this at their nearest licensing services office. Those who apply for the CDIP will only be able to drive a commercial vehicle if someone who is currently licensed to drive the vehicle is riding with them.

The Knowledge Tests

Receiving a CDL will mean that applicants have passed several tests. They will take these exams at the licensing services office, but they will need to call first. Not every licensing office offers all of the tests that they may need to take. Applicants have the option of preparing to take their knowledge exams by practicing online.

All applicants will be required to take the general knowledge test, and the fee for this exam is $10. This exam will show that they know something about the commercial vehicle that they wish to drive. If applicants are going to be driving a vehicle with air brakes, they are going to need to take a written test that is separate from the general knowledge examination. Applicants have the option of taking other additional exams as well, including the double/triple trailer or hazardous materials tests. Each additional exam will require payment of a $10 fee. The knowledge test covers information from the Washington CDL Manual and the skills test.

The Three Parts of the Driving Skills Test

Those who pass their written tests receive their CDIPs. With the CDIP, applicants can begin learning how to drive the commercial vehicle. When they are ready, they can schedule an appointment to take their driving skills exams. The first portion of this test is the inspection. Applicants will inspect their vehicles to make sure that everything is in working order and ready to be taken on the road. They will need to explain to their examiners what they are inspecting and why.

The second portion of the skills test demonstrates to the examiners that the applicants can properly control the commercial vehicle. They will need to make stops, turns and start the vehicle in an obstacle course at the testing site. Then, applicants will demonstrate their command of their vehicles on Washington’s public roads. Their examiners will lead them into situations where they will need to successfully drive the vehicle across railroad tracks, up and down hills, through intersections and making turns.

After passing their driving skills test, applicants receive their Class A driver licenses. However, they can lose their license even if they obtain a DUI/DWI while driving their own personal vehicles.

Washington licenses are good for five years. Those who allow their license to expire may have to provide Washington re-licensing information again, and may be required to retest for any of the various tests required. The grace period between expiration and retesting is generally up to one year.

View Truck Driving Schools in Washington to find a CDL Training School near you. 

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