Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)

Getting a CLP – your first step toward earning a CDL

Obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) is the first step toward earning your CDL. A CLP allows you to practice your driving skills in the presence of a licensed commercial driver.

To obtain a CLP anywhere in the U.S., you must:

  • Hold a valid Class D driver’s license in your state of residence
  • Provide identification with your full name, date of birth and Social Security number
  • Meet age requirements. You must be at least 18 years old to drive a commercial truck within many states; 21 years old to driver a commercial truck across state lines and into Canada
  • Take a physical administered by a medical provider certified to conduct DOT physicals. Find a DOT-certified medical examiner near you.
  • Pass your permit exam(s) – one or more written tests, administered at a licensing facility in your state

Studying for your CLP

It’s never too early to start studying for your CLP exam. You can begin with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) CDL manual, which has rules and regulations that apply in every state across the U.S.:

FMCSA CLP Study Manual (Note: This 2005 version, updated in 2014, remains current in 2023).

All states require drivers to know the federal requirements for getting a CLP. You should also know that many states have additional requirements. Check out the links below to see what your home state requires.

How to get a CLP in your home state

You will be applying for your learner’s permit in your legal state of residence (home state). In addition to the standard requirements listed above, many states have additional requirements you’ll want to review before applying.

These links will take you to information on obtaining CLPs and CDLs (commercial drivers licenses) in your home state. They are your best sources of information about requirements where you live.

State-by-state study manuals and handbooks for CLP exams

NOTE: All state handbooks are based on a manual developed by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAVA) in 2005 and updated in 2014. Many states have additional regulations or requirements and have added them to their state guides, which you can find using the links below.

*These states do not offer free online access to their CDL manuals. Contact the state licensing agency to obtain one.

Once you have passed your CLP exam, you are ready to enroll in a CDL training program like our Halvor Gold CDL training program, which is offered in two locations.

Halvor Lines is a federally-registered Entry Level Driver Training Program, so you can be confident your training meets all federal requirements needed to obtain your CDL. (New ELDT rules went into effect in Feb. of 2022).

Read more about earning your CDL

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