Commercial transportation is a promising land to earn money without a bachelor’s degree. That’s why a lot of people consider CDL driving jobs. However, people are often concerned about which CDL class is the most suitable for their condition. In this article, we are going to introduce the last type of CDL license – CDL class C study guide, as well as dig into the CDL requirements and career outlook. 


cdl class c
What is CDL Class C used for?


1. What is CDL Class C?

In general, CDL Class C is one of three types of CDL (commercial driver’s license). Drivers who obtain CDL class C are able to operate the following vehicles below:

  • Single vehicles with GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rate) under 26,000 pounds or towing one with GVWR under 20,000 pounds such as large vans or small trucks
  • Passenger vehicles with less than 24 customers
  • Vehicles that are not meet CDL class A and CDL class B requirements but still can transport materials and passengers.


2. What are the requirements of CDL Class C?


2.1. Age requirements

You must be at least 18 years old to receive a Class C license. To drive over state lines in the United States, you must be at least 21 years old. However, the new law of CDL age requirements allows 18 years old drivers to operate a CDL truck interstate.


2.2. Endorsement requirements

If you work as a CDL Class C driver, we suggest you achieve at least one of these 3 endorsements below to enhance your career opportunities. These days, most large truck companies prefer hiring drivers that have CDL, as well as a specific endorsement in their license because it saves their time of training. Let’s see what CDL class C endorsements you can obtain:

  • H endorsement: allows drivers to carry a hazardous materials truck
  • P endorsement: allows drivers to operate a van with fewer than 24 passengers
  • S endorsement: allows drivers to drive a school bus


cdl class c vehicle
CDL Class C requirements


3. How to obtain a CDL Class C?

As the same as CDL Class B Study guide, the CDL Class C Study guide will help you with detailed information to obtain a CDL Class C by following the steps below:


3.1. Achieve the CDL learner’s permit

The first step in earning a CDL class C is to apply for and earn a commercial license permit (CLP), which must be obtained at least 14 days before moving on to the next stage. Some states require additional time, therefore double-checking before beginning the procedure is our suggestion.

To apply for a CLP, you need to be qualified of:

  • You must be at least 21 years old, or 18 if you just wish to drive within your state.
  • Fill out and pay for a commercial learner’s permit application.
  • You must provide verification of your Social Security number, identity (Birth certificate or Passport), and residence (residence card or proof of water and electric bills).

Besides, you must also take and pass a written exam to show your knowledge of CDL, as well as provide the relevant licensing with your driving history for the last ten years to guarantee there have been no serious incidents.

Applicants must also provide a medical history to prove that they are physically active enough to operate the CDL vehicles. A Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card may frequently make the operation go more smoothly.


3.2. Complete the CDL training program 

Next, you can participate in a CDL class C training program after getting your CLP. It’s a legal requirement in some areas to attend a CDL school before getting your license, so start looking for one right now.


Moreover, CDL training programs are designed to prepare you for your future driving career by providing you with the opportunity to study for your exam and practice your skills in a safe and controlled environment. In addition,  CDL training is available through licensed, authorized, or approved colleges, as well as company-sponsored training with specialist trucking businesses.


3.3. Pass CDL class C test

Passing the written and driving tests is the next stage in obtaining a CDL class C license. The written test for class C contains 50 questions, and you must answer at least 40 of them correctly to pass. Questions are drawn from the following chapters: Introduction, Driving Safely, Cargo Transporting Safely, Air Brakes (if applicable), Combination Vehicles, Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test, Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test, and On-Road Driving. As you can see, it a lot of things combine n one test, so we strongly suggest you take the CDL Practice Test to prepare for the actual test.

On the CDL road test, you must show your driving ability in front of an examiner. It often takes you from 15 to 30 minutes to complete this test. Try your best!


3.4. Take the license and endorsements

After completing your CDL course and passing the tests, you will be issued your CDL Class C license. Depending on your state, you may receive it in person on the day you pass your driving test or via mail.


cdl class c school bus
CDL Class C owner can work as a school bus driver


>> Read more: CDL Class A guideline


4. What are the CDL Class C salary and job outlook?


4.1. CDL Class C Salary

Based on the latest number on Jul 5, 2022, the average annual salary for a Class C Truck Driver in the United States is $36,908. In case you need a quick salary calculation, that works out to about $17.74 per hour. This equals $710 each week or $3,076 per month.

However, the number varies between cities and states. It depends on which state you are living in so the salary will be different. We suggest you top 5 most paying cities in the US for you to compare:

  • San Mateo – California: $44,153/year
  • Daly City – California: $43,409/year
  • Berkeley – California: $43,386/year
  • Green River – Wyoming: $42,381/year
  • Irvine – California: $42,133/year


4.2. CDL Class C job outlook

In brief, most of the national transportation is using commercial trucks, thus, the CDL driver is a well-paid job and has a bright look. Future career prospects are similarly promising, with the employment of passenger vehicle drivers anticipated to expand by an astounding 25% between 2020 and 2030. In addition, there is an urgent shortage of truck drivers after the pandemic. Hence, if you are considering a driving job, why not be a CDL driver? Especially, CDL drivers often obtain the School Bus endorsement to become a bus driver. If you are interested in this job, read the CDL School Bus Study guide to help! 


That’s all the information for CDL class C that you should know before deciding to apply for a CDL class. In brief, you should obtain a CDL class C if you want to drive a small truck or become a school bus driver. We hope our article is helpful for you. Furthermore, if you are still not confident to apply for a CDL, you can take the CDL Practice Test to enhance your knowledge and skills. We wish you a successful test!