Class A CDL

Class A CDLWhat exactly is a Class A CDL?

A Class A CDL allows you to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a weight of 26,001lbs (11,793kg) or more, a towing capacity of over 10,000lbs (4536kg), and no restrictions on the age of your passengers.

The Class A CDL offers the most flexibility of the 3 Commercial Drivers License Classes (Class A, Class B and Class C).

Class A CDL Requirements

In order to obtain a Class A Commercial Drivers License, you’ll need to pass the following exams:

  • General Knowledge
  • Air Brakes
  • Combination Vehicle
  • Pre-Trip Inspection
  • Other Exams For Additional Endorsements


The General Knowledge exam covers things such as vehicle inspection, vehicle control, communication, speed control, distractions, how to deal with aggressive drivers, driving in mountainous terrain, driving at night, dealing with emergencies while driving, braking systems, accident procedures, dealing with fatigue and rules concerning hazardous materials.

The Air Brakes exam tests your knowledge of air brake systems and parts, how to use air brakes effectively, inspecting air brakes, and dual air brake systems.

The Combination Vehicle exam tests your expertise in the area of driving combinations, coupling and uncoupling, combination inspection and also braking systems relevant to combination vehicles.

The Pre Trip Inspection exam is designed to test your knowledge of both internal and external aspects of your vehicle. The goal of this test is to be able to identify potential problems prior to using your vehicle.


A list of the additional endorsements available on your Class A CDL can be found on the CDL Endorsements page.

19 Responses to “Class A CDL”

  1. Michael Quinn says:

    Hey man, whaasup! I have a Class A license, been driving heavy machinery for 3 years. If I decide to go OTR, will a trucking company count that as “driving experience”?

    • Aidan says:

      Nada much, Michael, nada much. Unfortunately, as far as I know, most companies don’t consider operating heavy equipment as a substitute for commercial driving. You could do some checking around and you might be able to find one, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up about it.

  2. Donny Solomon says:

    Can I bring my hunting dog with me on the road?

    • Aidan says:

      Some trucking companies will allow you to bring pets on the road with you. You’ll just need to check with the one you’ll be driving for to make sure about their pet policy.

  3. Edwardo Baer says:

    What’s the best kind of truck to drive? Flatbed, reefer, box van?

    • Aidan says:

      You’ll see more dry vans than most anything else on the road, but it’s not really a case of which one is better. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of truck. It comes down to what you are able and willing to do as a driver. Flatbeds can be pretty labor intensive, and even tanker trailers can have some manual labor involved. Reefers generally have to have a constant temperature maintained, which can prove to be a bit difficult in certain areas at particular times of the year. I’ve said it several times before, but it bears repeating…the best advice you’ll ever get will generally be from drivers who have been where you want to go or have done what you want to do.

  4. Aaron Edwards says:

    Is it easier to get a job with a Class A license, over a B or C?

  5. Billy Wood says:

    How often do you have to renew a class A license?

  6. Kenneth Noyes says:

    Good job on putting together a really comprehensive site.

  7. Derrick Evans says:

    Cool site man. I’m training right now for my Class A license, but still not sure which company I’ll work for yet.

  8. Juan N says:

    I drive a school bus for 6 years. Will that help me get a class A license?

    • Aidan says:

      Already having a commercial license may help make the training a little easier for you, but you’ll still have to pass all the appropriate tests for the Class A CDL.

  9. L.C. says:

    You said we have to know how to identify potential problems. How do we know that? Do we have to know everything about the engine? How we supposed to know all that?

    • Aidan says:

      Hi L.C., Whoa dude…relax and take a breath, LOL! That’s what your training is for…they’ll teach you everything you need to know.

  10. Shane Parkins says:

    They teach you all the stuff you need to know in the training course, right?

    • Aidan says:

      Hey Shane, you betcha! You’ll have all the knowledge you need to get your CDL when you finish your training. And you can take the license exams again if you don’t have success the first time.

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