Navigating the expansive highways and transporting goods across the arid landscapes of Arizona requires more than just a steering wheel and a motor vehicle. It demands a specialized set of skills, knowledge, and a distinctive credential known as the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In this essay, we delve into the significance of the Arizona CDL, exploring the process of obtaining it, and the vital role it plays in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the state’s commercial transportation network.


arizona cdl
Arizona CDL trucking guide


1.  What are the Arizona CDL requirements?

Achieving an Arizona Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) necessitates fulfilling a set of prerequisites and navigating through a series of steps. These include meeting medical and residency criteria, as well as demonstrating proficiency in both knowledge and skills related to commercial driving.


1.1. Basic requirements

The fundamental prerequisites for obtaining a CDL in Arizona encompass several key criteria:

  • Attaining a minimum age of 18 for holding an Arizona CDL and operating a commercial vehicle within the state.
  • Meeting a minimum age of 21 to drive a commercial motor vehicle across state lines, transport hazardous materials, or carry passengers.
  • Maintaining a single driver’s license without any suspension, revocation, cancellation, or disqualification in Arizona or any other state.
  • Fulfilling the DOT physical requirements stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
  • Successfully passing a series of written exams to secure an Arizona Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP), with preparation available through programs such as our High Road CDL Training.
  • Demonstrating proof of citizenship in Arizona and authorization to work in the United States, supported by valid personal identification like a Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, or Green Card.
  • Certifying non-applicability to any CDL disqualifications for drivers.
  • Proficiency in speaking and reading the English language.


1.2. Vehicle requirements

An AZ Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is essential for operating any of the following vehicles:

  • A single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeding 26,000 lbs.
  • A combination vehicle with a GVWR surpassing 26,000 lbs, while towing a unit with a GVWR exceeding 10,000 lbs.
  • A passenger vehicle designed to accommodate 16 or more individuals, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, necessitating hazardous material (Hazmat) placards or transporting a select agent or toxin listed in 42 CFR Part 73.


1.3. Arizona CDL Disqualifications

FMCSA regulations delineate specific circumstances leading to the temporary or permanent disqualification of a driver from legally operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).


Disqualification ramifications solely pertain to individuals holding a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or those obligated to possess a CLP or CDL for the vehicle they are operating. Incidents such as tickets, DUI or DWI offenses, and legal issues occurring before a driver obtained a CDL or CLP, or concerning non-CDL or CLP holders not mandated to possess one, will impact drivers only by company policies, except for instances involving the acquisition of the Hazmat endorsement.


The AZ CDL disqualifications are based on the CDL disqualifications. CDL drivers should learn before starting to handle their trucks.  


2. How to get the Arizona CDL? 


2.1. Step 1: Get the AZ Commercial driver’s permit (CLP)

Firstly, ensure that you meet all the requirements above. Then schedule an appointment to submit your application. 

Begin your journey by securing an Arizona Commercial Driver’s Permit. To achieve this, you must successfully pass the required written exams, covering essential topics such as general knowledge, air brakes, and combination vehicles. This permit serves as your initial authorization to start training for the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

Each standard knowledge test encompasses the 20 general areas specified in 49 CFR 383.111(a) and must consist of a minimum of 30 items. For individuals aiming to operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) with air brakes in Arizona, a distinct test is mandated, focusing on the 7 areas outlined in 49 CFR 383.111(b).

Achieving success in both the general and endorsement knowledge tests requires applicants to provide accurate responses to at least 80 percent of the questions. Thus, spend time reading the Arizona CDL Manual Book thoroughly to ensure you don’t miss any important information. 

Your permit expires in 6 months. You can use this time to practice driving a vehicle in your CDL class. 


arizona learners permit cdl
Arizona CDL Learners’ permit


2.2. Step 2: Complete the required training

You can practice driving at home with your AZ CLP, however, part of this process is completing CDL license training. Make sure you are undergo the training program from a certified provider. 


2.3. Step 3: Get the AZ Commercial driver’s license 

After passing the required training program, you can schedule another appointment and bring your CLP to take the skill test. 

For the Arizona CDL skills test, applicants must proficiently execute all the requisite skills outlined in 49 CFR 383.113 through 49 CFR 383.123. It is imperative to undertake the skills test using a vehicle representative of the type the applicant either operates or anticipates operating.

Specifically, you must pass all 3 parts: the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test. All the skill tests are taken on your own vehicle, if you don’t have one, use a third party to use theirs.

>>See also: Alabama CDL

arizona cdl sample
Arizona CDL Sample


3. Arizona CDL classes and endorsements

Understanding and obtaining the appropriate CDL class and endorsements are crucial to ensure compliance with Arizona’s regulations and to match the specific requirements of the commercial vehicles you intend to operate.


3.1. Arizona CDL classes

In Arizona, Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) are categorized into different classes, each permitting the operation of specific types of commercial vehicles. The main CDL classes include:

  • CDL Class A: Allows the operation of combination vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeding 26,000 lbs, provided the towed unit is over 10,000 lbs GVWR.
  • CDL Class B: Permits the operation of single vehicles with a GVWR exceeding 26,000 lbs or towing a unit not exceeding 10,000 lbs GVWR.
  • CDL Class C: Authorizes the operation of vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or vehicles carrying hazardous materials.


3.2. Arizona CDL endorsements

CDL endorsements in Arizona signify additional qualifications beyond the standard CDL classes, allowing drivers to operate specialized vehicles or transport specific types of cargo. Common endorsements include:

  • H (Hazardous Materials): Required for transporting hazardous materials.
  • N (Tank Vehicles): Needed for drivers operating tank vehicles.
  • P (Passenger Transport): Necessary for those driving vehicles designed for passenger transport.
  • S (School Bus): Required for drivers operating school buses.
  • T (Double/Triple Trailers): Necessary for towing multiple trailers.


4. What are the Arizona CDL test fees?

New or Transfer from Another State

  • Class A or B: $25
  • Class C (must include a P endorsement or HME): $12.50
  • Add $10 for each endorsement you require (hazmat, tanker, doubles/triples, or passenger). Motorcycle endorsement is $7. Please see the Commercial Driver License FAQ for additional fees.
  • Duplicate $12


  • Class A or B: $15
  • Class C: $10
  • HME: $10 (knowledge test required)

Required Road/Skills Tests

  • Class A or B vehicle: $25
  • Class C vehicle: $12.50
  • Passenger or school bus endorsement: $5 (when adding to an existing CDL)



4. Frequently asked questions about the Arizona CDL 

What is a CDL and why do I need it in Arizona?

A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required for individuals operating commercial vehicles in Arizona. It ensures that drivers possess the necessary skills and knowledge to safely handle larger, specialized vehicles.


How do I obtain an Arizona CDL?

To obtain an Arizona CDL, you must first obtain a Commercial Driver’s Permit, undergo training, pass the skills test, and apply for the CDL. Specific steps include passing knowledge tests, completing training, and scheduling a skills test.


What are the different classes of CDL in Arizona?

Arizona offers three main classes of CDL: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each class permits the operation of specific types of commercial vehicles based on weight and design.


What endorsements can I add to my Arizona CDL?

Endorsements provide additional qualifications. Common endorsements in Arizona include Hazardous Materials (H), Tank Vehicles (N), Passenger Transport (P), School Bus (S), and Double/Triple Trailers (T).


How do I prepare for the Arizona CDL knowledge tests?

You can prepare for CDL knowledge tests by studying the Arizona CDL Manual, using practice tests, and considering formal training programs.


What is the minimum age to obtain an Arizona CDL?

The minimum age for obtaining a CDL in Arizona is 18 for intrastate (within the state) driving and 21 for interstate (across state lines) driving.


How long is an Arizona CDL valid?

Arizona CDLs are typically valid for up to 5 years. Renewal requirements may include passing additional knowledge or skills tests.


Can I transfer an out-of-state CDL to Arizona?

Yes, you can transfer an out-of-state CDL to Arizona. The process may involve surrendering your previous license, passing applicable knowledge tests, and paying the required fees.


What disqualifies a person from obtaining an Arizona CDL?

Factors such as a suspended license, certain criminal offenses, or a history of drug or alcohol abuse can disqualify an individual from obtaining an Arizona CDL.


How often do I need to undergo a medical examination for my Arizona CDL?

In most cases, CDL holders need a medical examination every two years. However, some medical conditions may require more frequent examinations.


In conclusion, the Arizona Commercial Driver’s License stands as a testament to the commitment and proficiency required for those steering the wheels of commerce in this vast and diverse state. Beyond being a legal requirement, the CDL embodies a commitment to safety, competence, and responsibility on the roads. The CDL is more than a document, it is the license to drive the engine of progress and connectivity in the Grand Canyon State. If you are going to get one, remember to take some CDL Arizona practice test first.