How to Get a CDL in Washington
If you’re looking to start a career as a professional truck driver, obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is the first step. In Washington state, the process to get a CDL involves meeting certain requirements and passing knowledge and skills tests. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get a CDL in Washington.
Step 1: Determine Eligibility
Before applying for a CDL, ensure you meet the following criteria:
– Be at least 18 years old for intrastate driving or 21 years old for interstate driving.
– Hold a valid Washington state driver’s license.
– Have a clean driving record with no serious traffic violations.
Step 2: Obtain a CDL Manual
The Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) provides a CDL manual that covers all the information you need to know for the written knowledge test. Download it from the DOL website or get a printed copy from a local licensing office.
Step 3: Study and Pass the Written Knowledge Test
Thoroughly study the CDL manual and take practice tests to prepare for the written knowledge test. Schedule an appointment at a licensing office to take the test, and upon passing, you’ll receive a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP).
Step 4: Practice Driving with a CLP
With your CLP, you can practice driving a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a licensed CDL holder. Gain experience and become familiar with the vehicle’s controls and operations.
Step 5: Schedule and Pass the Skills Test
Once you feel confident, schedule an appointment for the skills test at a licensing office. The skills test consists of a pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and an on-road driving test. Passing the skills test will earn you a full CDL.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1. How much does it cost to get a CDL in Washington?
The CDL application fee is $75, and additional fees may apply for knowledge and skills tests.
2. Can I get a CDL with a DUI on my record?
Having a DUI on your record may disqualify you from obtaining a CDL, depending on the circumstances and time elapsed since the offense.
3. Do I need a CDL to drive a passenger van in Washington?
If the passenger van has 16 or more occupants, including the driver, a CDL is required.
4. Can I take the CDL skills test in my own vehicle?
No, you must take the skills test using a vehicle that meets the size and weight requirements for the type of CDL you are applying for.
5. How long is a Washington CDL valid for?
A Washington CDL is valid for up to six years.
6. What is the minimum age to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines?
To drive a commercial vehicle across state lines, you must be at least 21 years old.
7. Can I transfer my CDL from another state to Washington?
Yes, you can transfer your CDL from another state to Washington by surrendering your out-of-state CDL and passing the required tests.
By following these steps and understanding the requirements, you’ll be well on your way to obtaining a CDL in Washington and starting your career as a professional truck driver.