Embarking on the journey to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Alabama marks a significant step toward a career in the transportation industry. Whether you’re aspiring to navigate the open roads in a Class A vehicle or seeking to transport passengers with a Class C license, understanding the specific requirements and processes is key to success. In this guide, we delve into the essential aspects of securing an Alabama CDL, providing you with the knowledge needed to navigate the application process, grasp licensing classes, and comprehend the endorsements that can elevate your driving capabilities.


alabama cdl
How to get the Alabama license


1. Alabama CDL requirements

To obtain a CDL license in Alabama, individuals are required to be a minimum of 18 years old for intrastate licensing and at least 21 years old for an interstate-specific license. Prospective applicants must successfully complete a set of examinations and meet specific prerequisites to be eligible, which include:

  • Provide the Residency proofs
  • Pass the CDL DOT physical examination
  • Pass CDL written knowledge tests
  • Pass the three-part driving skills test


Besides, if you violate any of the following circumstances, you will not be able to obtain the Alabama CDL: 

  • Have been found guilty of alcohol or drug offenses
  • Flee from an accident scene
  • Engage in a felony
  • Operate a commercial vehicle with a suspended license
  • Surrender their regular driver’s licenses
  • Are convicted of traffic violations that meet certain criteria
  • Relinquish United States residency or citizenship
  • Employ mobile phones or devices in unauthorized ways while driving   


2. Steps to apply for Alabama CDL 

To get the AL CDL, you must not only prepare for the test but also go through several steps at the DMV Service Center. Let; ‘s take a closer look at the steps below to ensure you don’t miss any essential information: 


2.1. Step 1: Schedule appointment

Firstly, make an appointment with the Alabama State Department of Licensing (DOL) office to submit all the needed documents and written tests. 


2.2. Step 2: Obtain the AL CDL permit (CLP)

On the scheduled day, bring your applications with: 

  • Proof of identification and residency (like a non-commercial driver’s license).
  • A valid Social Security Number.
  • A passed Department of Transportation Medical Examination report conducted by a DOT-approved medical examiner.
  • The appropriate fees.

Besides, to obtain the CDL permit in Alabama, you must take 02 written tests, including the CDL General Knowledge test and a supplemental written AL written test to qualify for different CDL classes or endorsements in Alabama. 

  • CDL general knowledge test: 50 questions passing rate: 80% – which covers all the knowledge of safe driving practices, transporting cargo and passengers, pre-driving vehicle inspections, and on-road driving standards.
  • Alabama CDL written test: These topics may include general knowledge, specific vehicle class information (Class A, B, or C), air brakes, combination vehicles, hazardous materials, tanker endorsements, and more.

If your applications are accepted, you will receive the AL CDL permit, allowing you to practice driving your vehicle under restrictions. 


Alabama CDL sample
Alabama CDL sample


2.3. Step 3: Take the driving test

Once you practice confidently with your CLP, you can make an appointment with the Alabama DOL again to schedule your driving test. The driving test includes 3 sections namely a vehicle inspection test, a Basic controls test, and a Road skills test. Drivers who pass the driving test can receive their CDL licenses immediately.


2.4. Step 4: Pay the tests fee

The AL CDL test fees:

  • Commercial learner’s permit testing fee: $25
  • Issuing a commercial learner’s permit: $36.25
  • Commercial driver’s license skills test: $20
  • Class A CDL: $66.25
  • Class B CDL: $56.25
  • Class C CDL: $36.25

>>See also: Washington CDL


3. Alabama CDL classes and endorsements


3.1. Types of CDL classes in Alabama

In Alabama, drivers have access to three distinct types of CDL licenses, each catering to specific commercial driving needs. Motorists need to apply for the class that aligns with the type of commercial driving they anticipate. The three classes are as follows:

  • Class A License: Required for operating combinations of vehicles with gross weight ratings of 26,001 pounds or more.
  • Class B CDL License: Necessary for drivers operating single vehicles with gross weight ratings exceeding 26,000 pounds, whether or not towing another vehicle.
  • Class C CDL License: Essential for individuals operating passenger vehicles designed to carry 16 or more people or those transporting hazardous materials.


3.2. Types of CDL endorsements in Alabama

In Alabama, drivers can enhance their CDL with various endorsements tailored to specific needs. Testing is mandatory only for endorsements relevant to the driver’s particular licensing and employment requirements. The available options include:

Applicants have the flexibility to select and obtain endorsements that align with their intended use and professional responsibilities.


4. Alabama CDL frequently asked questions


4.1. What disqualifies a person from getting an Alabama CDL ?

Disqualifications may include certain criminal convictions, loss of a regular driver’s license, or violations related to alcohol or drugs.


4.2. How do I renew my CDL in Alabama?

CDLs need to be renewed periodically. Check with the Alabama DPS for information on renewal procedures and requirements.


4.3. How do I apply for an Alabama CDL?

The application process typically involves passing written knowledge tests, obtaining a learner’s permit, completing skills training, and passing a skills test.


4.4. What endorsements are available for a CDL in Alabama?

Endorsements are additional qualifications for specific types of vehicles or cargo. Common endorsements include Hazmat, Tanker, and Passenger.


alabama cdl manual book
Alabama CDL manual book


4.5. What are the age requirements for obtaining a CDL in Alabama?

Age requirements vary, but generally, you must be at least 18 for intrastate (within Alabama) and 21 for interstate (across state lines) commerce.


4.6. How much does it cost to get a CDL in Alabama?

Costs can include application fees, testing fees, and other related expenses. Check with the Alabama DPS for the most current fee information.


4.7. Are there any medical requirements for obtaining a CDL?

Yes, you generally need to meet specific medical standards and pass a medical examination by a certified medical examiner.


As you navigate the intricacies of obtaining a CDL in Alabama, remember that this journey is not merely about securing a license but about cultivating the skills and knowledge necessary for safe and responsible commercial driving. Stay informed, adhere to the guidelines set forth by the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and leverage the resources available to you. Whether you’re pursuing a Class A license for hauling heavy loads or acquiring endorsements to broaden your driving opportunities, the commitment to excellence in commercial driving is a commitment to safety, professionalism, and the shared responsibility we all bear on the highways. Do more Alabama CDL practice test to obtain your Alabama CDL!