How to get a CDL

Things to consider when getting your CDL.

CDL Class


Commercial vehicles are categorized into three classes.  The type of CDL Class you get will determine which class of vehicles you will be permitted to drive.  In order to get a CDL, you will need to have held a Class D license for at least one year.



Endorsements are extra permissions you can add to your CDL, such as transporting passenger or hauling hazardous materials.  Most of these can be obtained by passing a written test at the Driver’s License Division (DLD).



Restrictions could be placed on your CDL, depending on your age, written tests you skip or the type of vehicle you do your skills test in. This will restrict what type of vehicle you can drive or what area you can drive in.


After careful consideration of the type of Class, Endorsements and Restrictions, you can start thinking about the type and amount of Training you will need. Some training schools may not have the equipment you desire and you may need find a school that that fits your needs. You will also need to think about any prior experience you may have had when deciding which course best suits you. Look at our CDL Courses page to help you decide.

CDL Physicals

The Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical is a medical examination to make sure you are healthy enough to drive a commercial vehicle. Certain medical conditions may exclude you from being able to hold a CDL.  DOT Physicals can only be done doctors approved by the DOT.  You can get your DOT Physicals done here at Apex Trucking.

Learner’s Permit


Once you pass your DOT Physical, then it is time to start studying to take the written tests.  You can access the free links to study and practice for your learner’s permit for Utah. 

It has the basic fundamentals for all of the states.  Other state manuals can be found online as well by searching on Google for YOUR STATE CDL drivers manual.

  • You don’t need to already have your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) to take our Full Course but you will need it for the other courses before you can drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle ( CMV).
  • You can take each test twice before needing to pay again.
  • You can even turn around and take it again right away if you fail but were really close.
  • You can’t take anything with you. No books, no phones.  If you look at your phone while testing, they will fail your test.


To get your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) you will need to take various tests at your local Driver’s License Division (DLD). If you are using your own equipment, you’ll need to know what equipment it has in order to know what tests to take.

For all Classes of commercial vehicles, you will need to take the General Knowledge test.

This test is required for any truck or tractor combined with a trailer.  This is required to use our trucks.

You must take this test if your vehicle or trailer has air brakes.  This test must be taken to be able to drive any of our trucks.

Take this test if you would like to attach more than one trailer to your vehicle.

Take this test if you plan driving trucks or pulling trailers that hold vast amounts of liquids.

Take this test if you plan to haul any kind of hazardous materials that would require a vehicle to have placards.  Hazardous materials include: explosives, various types of gas, solids, flammable and combustible liquid, and other materials.

Take this test if you would like to transport students in marked school buses to and from school or events.

Take this test if you would like to transport more than 15 people, including yourself, other than students.  Like a charter or city bus.  If you would like to transport students you must also take this test as well.

  • We will do our best to train you, but you will need to understand basic commands in English
  • It’s is your responsibility to let your instructor know that you don’t understand.
  • Ask instructors to speak slower and simpler.

Attend Classes and Training

  • You can attend classes before getting your CLP.
  • After you get your CLP, then you can start training in the trucks.
  • Be patient with yourself and your instructors.  For some, this can be a hard skill to learn.
  • Please attend all hours that you are scheduled to be in a truck.  Not showing up means you’re not getting your training and neither is someone else who could have been scheduled for that time.
  • Please don’t push to test before you are ready.  That usually ends in a failed test, causing you to pay again for another one. The instructors know when you should be able to pass.
  • Keep in mind that being nervous can cause even the most ready students to fail their skills test.

Skills Test

  • When instructors say you are ready, schedule a skills test.
  • All tests must be scheduled 2 days in advance.  This is a government rule and there is no getting around it.
  • The test will have three parts that need to be passed in order to go to the next test: Pre-trip, Backing Skills and Road Test.
  • If you pass, your scores will be entered into the government database. You will then go to your local DLD and they will issue you your CDL after they confirm you the database.
  • If you fail, then you can schedule to test again, but once again, it must be scheduled two days in advance.