A Commercial Drivers License (or CDL) opens up doors to many employment opportunities, a chance to advance your CMV driving career, the freedom to travel, and a shot at financial freedom. A CDL is a great document to get if you want all that in Arizona.
The question is, ‘what are the requirements?’. We’ll discuss all the requirements for obtaining a CDL in Arizona, including the fees and documentation, and why starting your trucking career in Arizona is a great idea.
How to Get a CDL in Arizona
The first requirement for obtaining a CDL in Arizona is a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). This permit, valid for six months, allows you to start training for driving a commercial vehicle.
You need to visit the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) to apply for the CLP, which requires you to pay $25 for Class A or B CLP. You’ll then need to sit for a 50-question general knowledge exam, which requires a passing score of at least 80% to earn a CDL.
Once you pass your CLP general knowledge test, you need to use the permit for six months maximally before applying for the CDL road skills test. But before you do, you should provide an MVD-certified medical examiner certificate and a DoT-approved physical test report.
Other requirements include proof of residency, proof of citizenship, and everything else you provide during the CLP application.
Arizona CDL Requirements
Here are the general requirements for obtaining a CDL in Arizona:
Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
Before anything, you must obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). A CLP is a prerequisite document to getting a CDL in Arizona. You should meet the following requirements to obtain a CLP:
1. Age – Be at least 18 years if you plan to operate intrastate (within Arizona) and at least 21 years if you plan to drive interstate across Arizona or to hazardous materials.
2. Proof of identity – You need to first provide an I.D or birth certificate as proof of identity if you are a local and a passport if you are a foreigner.
3. Proof of residency – You can provide anything with your name and Arizona address, such as a bill or social security number card. Foreigners will also need to provide proof of legal residency, like a green card.
4. Medical Requirements
Common medical requirements include the following tests:
Hearing test to assess your hearing ability
Vision test to confirm aspects such as your ability to differentiate traffic lights and colors
Blood pressure test to check for hypertension, where the acceptable range should be below 140/190
Urine test to examine anomalies like blood protein and excess glucose
- Skill Performance Evaluation, ‘SPE’ variance report if you are physically impaired
CDL Road Skills Test
After meeting all the CLP requirements, you’ll need to sit for the general written test, which will cost $25 for Class A and B CDLs or $12.50 for Class C CDL.
Upon getting a CLP, which you can use for six months, you can go ahead and apply for the CDL three-part test (pre-trip, vehicle control, and road test), which will cost you $25.
Depending on the endorsement, adding an endorsement to your CDL will cost you $5-$7.
Other CDL requirements include a federal background check, which is necessary to confirm that you don’t have a felony conviction record and are not a security threat in Arizona.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a CDL in Arizona?
Generally, here is a cost breakdown of obtaining a CDL in Arizona:
- $25 for Class A and B Learner’s Permit
- $12.50 for Class C Learner’s Permit
- $10 per endorsement
- $25 for Class or B CDL skills test
- $12.50 for Class C CDL Skills test
- $15 for Class A and B CDL renewal
- $10 for Class C CDL renewal
Photo credit: driving-tests.org
How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL in Arizona?
Usually, it takes 3-5 weeks to prepare and sit for the CLP’s general knowledge test. Once you pass the test, you receive a CLP, which you can use for the next six months.
Within six months, you can book a CDL skills test, after which you’ll receive a CDL valid for eight years. Most people train for seven weeks on average to obtain their CDL.
What Disqualifies You from Getting a CDL in Arizona?
You may be disqualified from getting a CDL for anything between 60 days to a lifetime in Arizona. It all depends on your offense, as discussed below:
- 60-day disqualification – Applies to convictions relating to committing two serious traffic offenses within three years, document forgery, information falsification, or violation of any state or federal rule.
- 120-day disqualification – Applies to the conviction of three or more violations of traffic rules in three years or a second conviction relating to a breach of state or federal law.
- 6-month disqualification – Relates to an out-of-service, first conviction such as hauling hazardous material or illegally operating a passenger vehicle.
- One-year disqualification – Relates to DUI blood test, fleeing the accident scene, committing a felony with a commercial vehicle, driving with a revoked CDL, DUI while driving, fraud conviction, a third violation of state or federal laws.
- 2-year disqualification – Applies to a second out-of-service conviction.
- 3-year disqualification – Applies to a third out-of-service conviction or a conviction for hauling hazardous materials that require placarding when out of service.
- Lifetime disqualification – This applies to multiple violations of the above offenses on separate occasions.
Commercial License Types & Classes in Arizona
Like every other state, Arizona, through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), recommends commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers to get any of the following three CDLs, depending on the commercial vehicle they want to drive.
Class A License
A Class A License applies to a combination vehicle with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more but with a towed vehicle with a GWR of $10,000 or more.
You can operate all the other vehicle types in Class B and C with a Class A license if you have the correct endorsements.
Class B License
Class B licenses are necessary for operating combined vehicles or single vehicles with a GCWR of 26,001 pounds or more but a towed unit of GCWR (in the case of combined vehicles) of not more than 10,000 pounds.
You can drive a Class C in Arizona with a Class B CDL and relevant endorsements.
Class C License
CMVs that neither meet the conditions of Class A or B but either transport placarded hazardous materials or passengers (16 or more with the driver included) belong to Class C.
AZ CDL Endorsements
Here are the endorsements you can add to your CDL in Arizona:
Double-Triple Trailer Endorsement (T) – Applies to double-trailer and triple-trailer commercial vehicles
Hazardous Materials Endorsement (H) – Applies to drivers who handle hazardous materials
- School Bus (S) – Applies to school bus drivers
- Passengers Endorsement (P) – Applies to those who transport 16 or more passengers
- Tank Endorsement (N) – Applies to tank vehicles
- HazMat/Tank Endorsement (X) – Applies to drivers transporting hazardous materials in tank vehicles
Note that school bus drivers need not only a School Bus Endorsement but also Passenger Endorsement.
What Makes Arizona a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career?
Arizona is generally a fantastic place to kick-start your truck driving career because of the reasons discussed below.
Positive Employment Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a nationwide increase in truck driving job creation by 12% by 2030. Interestingly, more than 90,700 new openings will be created. And since Arizona is one of the fastest-growing economies, the state is expected to open up more opportunities for truck drivers.
Positive Economic Outlook
A recent report by Rich-States Poor-States shows that the State of Arizona ranks 13 nationwide based on its economic scene. It performs well in the minimum wage, worker’s compensation, property tax, and other economic growth indicators.
With its cumulative GDP having grown to 51.8% between 2009 and 2019, the economic performance of Arizona is only admirable. It only means more opportunities for truck drivers.
Good Base Pay
With Indeed estimating the average base pay for truck drivers to be $72,623, Arizona pays much better than most neighboring states like Utah, California, New Mexico, and Colorado.
Close-Knit Business Community
Most cities in Arizona enjoy more support at the community level. The support is necessary for small businesses and large truck companies to thrive. As a result, it’s easier to build your career and earn a decent living in Arizona as trucking companies rely on other businesses.
Job Outlook and Salary for Truck Driving in Arizona
With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics looking at a 12% nationwide growth in the truck driving sector between now and 2030, there is no doubt that Arizona will be among the beneficiaries.
Compared to its neighbors like New Mexico, California, Utah, and Colorado, Arizona shows a better salary scene than the three, as Indeed confirms.
Simply put, truck drivers are likely to make more money in Arizona than in New Mexico, California, Utah, or Colorado.
However, Arizona has a less favorable job scene than Nevada in the north and Montana and Idaho.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that owner-operator drivers in Arizona make more money per mile than their company-hired counterparts.
City-wise, Kingman, Mesa, Tucson, Gilbert, and Buckeyes pay the highest, with truck drivers averaging more than $71,967 yearly.
What is the Demand for Truck Drivers in Arizona?
In Arizona, companies like XPO Logistics, FedEx Ground, Blue Line Transport, and Ashley Distribution Services are always on the lookout for more experienced truck drivers to hire. Overall, OTR truck drivers are the most demanded.
How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Arizona?
According to Indeed, truck drivers receive an annual base pay of $72,623. Overall, work experience plays a big role as more experienced truck drivers make more money than the less experienced ones.
For example, while those with less than five years make $68,197 on average, those with more than ten years make up to $83,011 yearly.
Generally, Arizona doesn’t differ from other states when obtaining a CDL as the requirements are similar. The only major difference is probably the cost. So, go through all the requirements and understand them to save time when you start the application process.
People Also Ask
You will likely find several questions relating to Arizona CDL, which we probably haven’t covered so far. Below is a list of some of these questions.
How Much Does CDL School Cost in Arizona?
CDL training programs cost $3,995 on average, with refresher courses costing $1,200 on average. You may be allowed to pay a down payment of at least $500 before you can begin the course.
Can You Get a CDL With a DUI in Arizona?
The state of Arizona discourages you from driving a CMV under the influence of a controlled substance. In the case of alcohol, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level should be under 0.04.
A DUI will lead to a license suspension, but you can get it back once the suspension period is over.
How Do I Renew My CDL License in Arizona?
You need to visit AZMVDNow.gov to apply for a CDL license renewal, which will cost you $15 for a Class or B license or $10 for a Class C license. Generally, you need to renew your CDL within eight years.
Where Can I Find the AZ CDL Practice Test?
You can find AZ CDL practice tests on most CDL training websites or through mobile apps like:
How Many Questions Are on the CDL Permit Test in AZ?
The CDL permit test in Arizona features a set of 50 general knowledge questions, and you need to get at least 40 correct to earn a passing score of 80%.