Arkansas CDL License Requirements – Driver’s Guide

| Last Updated: December 22, 2021

The Office of Motor Vehicles of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration requires all CMV operators to have a valid Arkansas CDL before stepping on the roads. The regulatory body has a list of requirements that applicants must meet to obtain a CDL in Arkansas.

This article discusses all CDL license requirements that apply to Arkansas residents, out-of-the state residents, and non-US citizens who wish to start a trucking career in Arkansas.

How to Get a CDL in Arkansas

According to The Office of Motor Vehicles, those who wish to obtain Arkansas CDL must adhere to all federal state requirements, including:

  • Meeting the minimum age requirement
  • Legal status in the state of Arkansas
  • Undergo all the medical tests and comply with all relevant tests, including implied consent to controlled substances tests
  • Pay all applicable charges, among other requirements, as may be stipulated by the state of Arkansas.

Arkansas CDL Requirements

Below is a list of Arkansas CDL requirements for Arkansas residents and aliens.

1. Age

  • You must be at least 18 years old to get an Arkansas CDL and operate a CMV within Arkansas state lines  (intrastate).
  • You must be 21 years or older to operate a CMV across Arkansas state lines (interstate), transport materials marked as hazardous, or transport passengers.

2. Proof of Residence

  • You must provide legitimate personal identifications such as a Birth Certificate, Social Security Number, or a Green card for non-US citizens showing your residence status in the state of Arkansas and permission to work in the US.

3. Medical Requirements

You must meet all medical obligations as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. You’ll require to undergo the following medical tests as defined by the FMCSR:

  • Hearing testing
  • Vision testing
  • Urinalysis testing
  • Blood pressure requirements
  • Implied consent to controlled substances, including alcohol tests 
  • Prescription drugs, and if they may have adverse effects on CMV operations
  • Physical impairments and any effects on safe operations of a CMV

4. Fees

  • You must pay a $50 testing fee, among other applicable charges.

5. Other Certifications

  • You must have one valid driver’s license with all driving privileges in Arkansas or any other state in the US intact (you should not be disqualified, suspended, canceled, or revoked in any location).
  • You must take and pass a set of written exams before obtaining Arkansas Commercial Learner’s License (CLP)
  • You must certify that you’re not subject to any driver CDL disqualification from anywhere.

Note: All Arkansas CDL applicants must be able to read and speak English well.

How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in Arkansas?

The cost of a CDL varies widely across states in the US. You may need to incur costs for CDL endorsements in some states.

Otherwise, the cost of a CDL in many states includes the CDL written test fee and CDL license fee, besides the training cost, which ranges between $3,000 – $7,000 depending on the school. Of course, private trucking schools are more expensive.

Below are the standard charges of a CDL in Arkansas.

  • CDL Written Test Fee: $50
  • CDL License Fee: $42

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL in Arkansas?

It will take you an average of seven weeks to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) when you attend a full-time training program. Otherwise, it can take you as little as three weeks or up to six months, depending on various factors.

Commercial License Types & Classes in Arkansas

Arkansas offers CDL and CLP to drivers that qualify for the below three classifications, as defined by the Department of Finance and Administration Motor Vehicle Office in Arkansas.

Class A CDL

Refers to any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more and pulling a vehicle with a gross combination weight of 10,000 pounds or more.

Class A CDL holders can also operate all vehicles defined in Class B and C.

Class B CDL

Refers to any single vehicle with a gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or more and towing a vehicle with a gross combination weight of 26,001 pounds or below.

Class B CDL holders can also operate Class C vehicles.

Class C CDL

Class C CDL refers to any single vehicle or a combination of vehicles not falling under Class A and B definitions and is designed for transporting 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or used for transporting materials marked as hazardous by regulatory bodies.

Arkansas CDL Endorsements

Arkansas CDL endorsements authorize holders to operate special commercial motor vehicles, including tankers, passengers, or special cargo like hazardous materials.

CDL endorsements are additional certifications on your CDL that come with added advantages of higher earning potential that a regular CDL holder may not have.

Below are CDL endorsements in Arkansas.

  • (H) endorsement– transporting hazardous materials and does not require any skills test
  • (N) endorsement – Tanker Vehicles does not require a skills test
  • (P) endorsement – Passenger Vehicles requires you to pass a skill test
  • (S) endorsement – School Bus Transport requires you to pass a skill test
  • (T) endorsement – Doubles and Triples does not require a skills test
  • (X)  endorsement – Hazmat and Tanker Combination does not require a skills test

Why Arkansas is a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career 

Arkansas offers some of the most favorable conditions for any aspiring truck driver. Below are the top reasons to start a trucking career in Arkansas.

A Wide Range of Training Facilities

The first step towards kick-starting a career in trucking is acquiring the necessary skills. Arkansas houses some of the best training schools and affordable public training colleges.

You’ll find a trucking school in almost every city in Arkansas. Besides, you can take your practice test from any trooper location within the state. Arkansas also offers online practice tests available 24/7.

Career Growth

Trucking offers faster earning opportunities and growth potential to any hardworking truck driver. Truck drivers can take endorsement courses alongside their CDL training and boost their earning potential.

Additionally, the city has many companies that pay high remuneration depending on their years of experience. Drivers with ten years of experience or more can earn an average salary of $ 83,487 per year. Some cities, such as Little Rock, pay their driver up to $81,139 per year.

Established Trucking Companies

Arkansas is full of trucking companies that are constantly hiring new truck drivers. The state was once considered an agricultural hub and has some of the oldest companies from the 1920s operating to date.

The growth of industrialization over the years has seen more companies coming up in urban setups. Successful trucking students in Arkansas reportedly get job offers while still in school.

Job Outlook and Salary For Truck Driving in Arkansas

According to Career Explorer, the American trucking job market is expected to grow by 5.8% between 2016 and 2016. Arkansas alone presently has 32,640 truck drivers.

Although not the best-paying state in the US, Arkansas offers good remunerations to drivers. Entry-level truck drivers with less than one year of experience can make up to $69,424 per year.

Drivers with 6-9 years of experience can make up to $78,943 per year, whereas veteran truck drivers with over ten years of experience make $83,487 per year. Cities such as Chicago and Little Rock are the highest paying, with an average salary of more than $80,000 per year.

What is the Demand For Truck Drivers in Arkansas?

The demand for truck drivers remains at an all-time high across all cities in Arkansas. Most trucking companies are willing to employ truck drivers with little to no experience to fill the high demand.

How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Arkansas?

Arkansas CDL drivers earn differently depending on experience, skills, city of operation, mode of operation, such as owner operator or company team driver. However, the average salary of a CDL driver in Arkansas is $73,938.

Conclusion 

Like any other state in the US, Arkansas follows a set of regulations, including meeting the minimum age requirement, proof of legal status in Arkansas, adherence to medical conditions, and other federal state requirements before acquiring CDL.

Those who qualify have high career growth potential with an average starting salary of $69,424 per year. Additionally, the state has many affordable training facilities and trucking schools, making it an ideal place to start a trucking career.  

People Also Ask

CDL requirements vary across many states in the US. These may include the cost of acquiring a CDL, among other federal state regulations. Below are common questions about CDL requirements in Arkansas.

What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in Arkansas?

One will be disqualified from getting a CDL in Arkansas under any of the following circumstances:

  • Controlled substances or alcohol test refusal
  • Operating a CMV while intoxicated
  • Leaving an accident scene
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony
  • Driving a CMV using a revoked or canceled CDL
  • Causing a fatality through violation of CMV traffic regulations

Photo credit: tenor.com

Can You Get a CDL With a DUI in Arkansas?

The first conviction driving under the influence (DUI) attracts a penalty of license revocation for a period not exceeding one year if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than 0.04%.

Those operating vehicles transporting hazardous materials will be disqualified for a period not less than three years. However, a second or third conviction will lead to lifetime disqualification.

Note that a DUI can affect your driving for between three and five years in many states in the US.

How Many Questions Are on the Arkansas CDL Test?

The Arkansas CDL test comprises 50 questions. One must answer at least 40 questions correctly, equivalent to an 80%, which is the passing score.

When Do I Need a CDL in Arkansas?

You’ll need a CDL to operate any of the below vehicles:

  • A combination of vehicles weighing 26,0001 pounds or more and towing a trailer(s) weighing 10,000 pounds or more.
  • A single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more and pulling a unit weighing 10,000 pounds or less
  • A passenger vehicle designed for carrying 16 people or more, including the driver
  • Any vehicle transporting hazardous materials.

Where Can You Find the CDL Practice Test For Arkansas?

Arkansas administers CDL practice tests in all its counties. The tests are available online or in person at any trooper location in Arkansas.

You can take skill tests from any Police Station in the state of Arkansas.



After spending years on the road, I had a lot of time to think about the hardships that came with the trucking industry. I realized there was an opportunity to lend a hand a create a resource for truckers by truckers. With the help of my tech-savvy son, I built Trucker Geek as a way to show people that becoming a driver doesn’t need to be a stressful headache.