CDL Endorsements & Classes

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A commercial driver’s license (CDL) can open doors for a wide-range of job opportunities and careers. A CDL also comes with a lot more responsibility than a standard, non-commercial driver’s license.

As such, the standards of tests and requirements for the different Classes and Endorsements of CDL are a lot higher than those for a standard driver’s license.

Depending on the type of commercial vehicle you want to drive and the type of cargo you plan to transport, you’ll need to pass a set of written knowledge tests and practical skills test that demonstrate your understanding, experience, and skill of commercial vehicle safety and operation. Additionally, you’ll need to satisfy certain physical, medical, and background check requirements that ensure you can safely operate a commercial vehicle and certain types of cargo or passengers.

You need to have a commercial driver’s license to:

  • drive any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or 26,001 lbs or more.
  • drive any vehicle with a GVWR of less than 26,000 lbs that is used to transport more than 10 people.
  • drive a combination vehicle (i.e. pulling a trailer) with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more when the vehicle being towed weighs more than 10,000 lbs.
  • drive any vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 lbs or more.
  • drive any vehicle towing more than 1 vehicle or a trailer bus.
  • drive any sized vehicle transporting hazardous materials or hazardous waste.

CDL Classes

There are 3 main types of commercial driver’s licenses.

Each CDL class determines what types of commercial vehicles you’ll be able to drive – mostly depending on the vehicle(s)’s GVWR.

At a minimum, each CDL class requires you to pass a General Knowledge Exam and/or Combination Vehicles Exam, and pass a Skills Test in the type of commercial vehicle that coincides with the Class you are applying for.

Once you know what Class CDL you’ll need and which endorsement you want to test for, learn about the CDL application process.


CDL ClassDescription
ASingle vehicles or combination vehicles weighing over 26,000 lbs., towed vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs.
BSingle vehicles vehicles weighing over 26,000 lbs., towed vehicles weighing less than 10,001 lbs.
CVehicles transporting HAZMAT or transporting 16+ people (w/ proper endorsements)

Class A CDL

A Class A CDL is required to drive a single vehicle or any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more and/or to tow a vehicle that weighs 10,001 lbs. or more.

Types of vehicles that fall under the Class A CDL include:

  • Tractor-trailers.
  • Trailer combinations.
  • Livestock carriers.
  • Automobile carriers.
  • Tanker vehicles and tanker trailers.

To receive your Class A CDL, you’ll need to:

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL allows you to drive a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or more and tow a vehicle that is less than 10,000 lbs.

The Class B CDL allows you to operate vehicles such as:

  • Box trucks.
  • Large buses and segmented buses.
  • Dump trucks.
  • Flatbed/straight trucks.

To receive your Class B CDL, you’ll need to:

Class C CDL

A Class C CDL is required when you wish to transport Hazardous Materials or drive at least 16 passengers in a vehicle that does not meet the definitions of Class A or Class B CDLs.

A Class C CDL allows you to operate vehicles such as:

  • Small trucks transporting hazardous materials.
  • Small passenger vans/buses.
  • Small trucks and trailers.

To receive your Class C CDL, you’ll need to:

CDL Endorsements

CDL Endorsements are added to your CDL to allow you to operate different types of commercial vehicles, tow certain combinations of trailers, or transport certain types of cargo or passengers.

Most of the CDL Endorsements, with the exception of Passenger and School Bus, only require you to pass additional knowledge tests.

However, you should also keep in mind that taking your skill tests in certain vehicles will place restrictions on your CDL. More on that below.

CDL Endorsement CodeDescription
TDoubles/Triples Combination Trailers (requires knowledge test)
HHazardous Materials (requires knowledge test)
NTanker Vehicles & Tanker Trailers (requires knowledge test)
XTanker/HAZMAT Combination Endorsement (requires knowledge tests)
PPassenger Transport (requires knowledge and skills tests)
SSchool Bus Operation (requires knowledge and skills tests)

Double/Triples Endorsement (T)

The CDL T Endorsement allows you to pull combinations of 2 or 3 trailers.

This is an endorsement for a Class A CDL and requires:

  • Passing the General Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Air Brakes Test
  • Passing the Combination Vehicles Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Doubles/Triples Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Skills Test in a Class A Commercial Vehicle

Tanker Endorsement (N)

The N Endorsement allows the CDL holder to operate tanker trucks or trucks pulling tanker trailers containing liquid or gas.

This is an endorsement for a Class A or B CDL and requires:

  • Passing the General Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Air Brakes Test
  • Passing the Combination Vehicles Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Tank Vehicles Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Skills Test in a Class A or B Commercial Vehicle

Hazardous Material Endorsement (H)

The H Endorsement allows you to transport hazardous materials in any type of commercial vehicle.

This is an endorsement for a Class A, B, or C CDL and requires:

  • Passing the General Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Hazardous Materials Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Skills Test in a Class A, B, or C Commercial Vehicle

Tanker/HAZMAT Endorsement (X)

The X Endorsement is a combination of the H and N endorsement and allows the CDL holder to transport Hazardous Materials, operate tanker vehicles and trailers, and transport hazardous materials inside of tanker vehicles or trailers.

This is an endorsement for a Class A or B CDL and requires:

  • You to be at least 21 years old.
  • Passing the General Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Air Brakes Test
  • Passing the Combination Vehicles Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Tank Vehicles Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Hazardous Material Knowledge Test
  • Passing a TSA Background Check.
  • Passing the Skills Test in a Class A or B Commercial Vehicle

Passenger Endorsement (P)

The P endorsement allows you to transport passengers in a commercial vehicle.

This is an endorsement for a Class A, B, or C CDL and requires:

  • Passing the General Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Passenger Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Skills Test in a Class A, B, or C Commercial Passenger Vehicle

School Bus Endorsement (S)

The School Bus Endorsement allows you to drive a school bus and transport school children.

This is an endorsement for a Class A, B, or C CDL and requires:

  • Passing the General Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Passenger Knowledge Test
  • Passing the School Bus Knowledge Test
  • Passing the Skills Test in a Class A, B, or C School Bus Vehicle
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass additional, periodic physical exams.

CDL Restrictions

CDL restrictions are added to your commercial driver’s license and either prohibit you from driving certain vehicles or require you to meet certain requirements when operating a commercial vehicle.

These restrictions will be added to your CDL depending on the type of vehicle you took your skills test in, if you failed to pass certain knowledge tests, or if you have certain medical requirements.

CDL RestrictionDescription
ECan only operate CVs with an automatic transmission.
LCannot operate a commercial vehicle that only have an air brake system.
MCan only operate Class B or C passenger vehicles.
NCan only operate Class C passenger vehicles.
OCannot operate a fifth wheel commercial vehicle.
VMedical Variance Indication