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How to Obtain a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in Florida: A Complete Guide

Updated: Jun 14

Securing a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in Florida offers prospects within the transportation sector. Whether your ambition is to work as a long-distance truck driver or operate vehicles locally, obtaining your CDL marks an initial milestone. This comprehensive guide aims to address inquiries regarding the complexity, expenses, and timeline associated with acquiring a CDL in Florida aiding you through the process smoothly.


Navigating the CDL Application Procedure in Florida


  1. What is the level of difficulty involved in obtaining a CDL in Florida?


The level of challenge linked to obtaining a CDL in Florida predominantly hinges on your readiness and dedication. The process encompasses stages that entail both written and practical assessments. Here's an overview of what you can anticipate;


Qualification Criteria:

- To drive within the state you must be 18 years old, and for interstate driving the minimum age requirement is 21 years. Additionally possessing a Florida driver's license is mandatory.

-Medical Evaluation: Undergoing a Department of Transportation (DOT) examination is crucial to verify compliance with health criteria for extended periods, behind the wheel.

-Written Examinations: The initial phase involves taking a knowledge test.

-Depending on the type of vehicle you plan to drive and the endorsements you require (such as HazMat or passenger endorsements) there might be tests to consider.


Getting your ELDT (Entry-Level Driving Training) certification is a great first step to getting your CDL. Start here today!


Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP): Once you pass your written exams you'll obtain your CLP, allowing you to practice driving on roads under the supervision of a CDL holder.

Behind-the-wheel training: After you get your CLP it's time to practice on the range and on the road in a truck. This should be done with a licensed provider of behind-the-wheel training that is registred in the FMCSA.


Skills Test: After holding your CLP for 14 days you can proceed with the skills test, which comprises a vehicle inspection test, basic controls assessment and a road test.


Preparation is key to success for the skills test, which is often seen as the challenging aspect. Many candidates opt for enrollment in a CDL training school to acquire hands-on experience and valuable guidance. For more information check out this page on Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles site.


  1. How much does it typically cost to acquire a CDL in Florida?


The expenses associated with obtaining a CDL in Florida may vary based on your chosen training program and the class of CDL you aim for.


Here are some common costs:


-CDL Training Programs: Costs can range from $1,500 to $5,000, for training programs that combine classroom learning with driving sessions.

-DOT Physical and Drug Testing: Typically falls within the range of $50 to $100.

-Getting your Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in Florida comes with some costs. The CDL application fee is set at $75. If you opt for endorsement tests like HazMat or tanker each test will cost you around $7. When it comes to the skills test the initial fee is $20. Retaking the test will require a new payment each time.


To expedite the process and avoid fees for retakes consider investing in training that can boost your chances of passing on your first attempt.


When it comes to how you can obtain a CDL in Florida it depends on how you complete your training and pass the necessary tests.


Here's an overview of the timeline:


  • Getting a Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) after passing written exams.

  • Waiting period of at 14 days before taking the skills test.

  • Duration of CDL training programs ranging from three weeks to several months based on full time or part time schedules.If you are fully committed and enroll in a full time training program it's possible to obtain your CDL in a month. However many individuals opt for training periods especially when juggling responsibilities.


Additional Advice for Future CDL Holders in Florida


-Select the Right Training Institution: Seek out schools with reputations, high pass rates and support for job placements. These factors play a role in your success during the CDL program and beyond.


-Plan for Expenses: In addition to the basic fees, factor in costs like transportation, study materials and potentially accommodation if your training location is far from home.


-Practice Regularly: Use your CLP time wisely. Practice driving in conditions and focus on honing the skills to pass the practical test.


-Utilize State Support: The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers resources and guidance that can be extremely valuable, throughout your training.




Obtaining a CDL in Florida involves a series of steps aimed at ensuring you are well prepared and qualified to operate vehicles. While the process may pose challenges. Incur some expenses with preparation and appropriate training achieving your CDL is an attainable objective.


Don't forget that dedicating time and effort to getting your Commercial Drivers License can result in a fulfilling outcome.


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