How To Get A Commercial Driver's License (CDL) In Pennsylvania

  • Mar 14, 2018

Truck driving can be a stable career path, with expected continual growth through 2026. There are many opportunities in Philadelphia, and throughout Pennsylvania, open to new truck drivers. But how do you become a truck driver? A license for commercial driving is required in all states in order to drive locally or on long-haul rides.

In Pennsylvania, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) can be acquired through an application to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the following steps.

First, you must meet the basic requirements in order to apply for a permit. You must have a Pennsylvania Driver’s License; receive a Medical Examiner’s Certificate to establish that you are in good physical health; show proof of identity and that you live in Pennsylvania; and provide a social security number.

Then, after you’ve gotten your documents together, fill out a CDL Learner’s Permit form. This form, and the gathered documents, must be hand delivered to a Driver License Center, along with the accompanying fees. These fees are based on the endorsements you have on your CDL, which can include HAZMAT materials, tank vehicles, school busses, and towing a double or triple trailer. A standard CDL is $89.50, but can run much more than that depending on the endorsements and if it is valid out-of-state.

When you deliver the completed form, you will receive a knowledge test authorization. You will need to study the CDL guidelines and pass the knowledge test before your permit is issued, as well as a vision screening. From the time the authorization is issued you have one year to pass the test, and complete permit requirements.

Once you’ve passed the knowledge test authorization, you’ll need to attend CDL education programs. In order for programs to count towards CDL training, you need to provide proof of attendance. Any program, private or public, should be certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) in Alexandria, VA. Although PTDI certification is not mandatory, PennDot notes that “it indicates that the school maintains good training standards for truck drivers, since PTDI certification is based on the driving skills that the school teaches the driver, the theoretical knowledge about truck driving that they offer, and their curriculum.” A third option (compared to private or public programs) is on-the-job training for those already with an employment offer.

PTDI recommends training for 4 to 6 weeks, every day. In total, it recommends at least 44 hours of driving experience and 104 hours of classroom time. A minimum of 15 days is required to wait between receiving your permit and the scheduled test date. You will need to pass a skills test in order to receive your CDL.

Once you’ve passed your CDL testing, you’re ready to start on a new and exciting career path in Pennsylvania. Businesses throughout the Philadelphia area, like Combined Express, Inc., are looking for new drivers to hit the road and learn the ropes of driving.




Combined Express, Inc. and Delaware Valley Shippers, Inc. are the premier truckload, intermodal and LTL service providers across the United States, with more than 35 years of industry experience. Moving freight has never been easier or more cost-effective than with our custom transportation services! Our knowledgeable and experienced team of logistics professionals is always on call to assist you with any questions or concerns that might arise. We work closely with you to learn your unique freight needs and to customize a shipping solution that fits your budget and delivers your cargo on time.


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