Obtaining a Massachusetts commercial driver’s license doesn’t have to be complicated and overly time-consuming once you know what the state requires of you for the process right from the start to the point your license lands in your mailbox.
But what exactly does the state require of you? This article discusses various Massachusetts CDL license requirements to make it easy for you to fully prepare to begin the process and end it gracefully with a valid license before taking on truck driving work.
We’ll also look at some of the reasons you should consider starting your truck driving career in the state, so be sure to read through to the end. Let’s dive right in!
How to Get a CDL in Massachusetts
To get a CDL in Massachusetts, you’ll need to dedicate your time and money to meet the state’s CDL requirements that range from fees, medical, classes, tests, driving records, proof of residence, and self-certification. All these are discussed in detail below.
Massachusetts CDL Requirements
The state of Massachusetts requires you to meet and fulfill the following requirements to obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL):
1. Age Requirements
- You must be at least 18 years old to obtain an intrastate transport CLP and CDL for driving within Massachusetts only.
- You must be at least 21 years old to obtain an interstate transport CLP and CDL for driving in different states.
2. Commercial Learner’s Permit
You can’t obtain a CDL without obtaining a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) first. The permit will be valid for 180 days from the date of issue and is renewable for free for an additional 180 days.
3. Identification and Proof of Residence
- You must prove that you are a resident of the state of Massachusetts
- You must provide proof of the lawful presence or US citizenship
- You must provide a valid social security number
4. Driving Record
- You must have a valid Class D license for the entire period of the CDL process. The license has to be in good standing with the state.
- You must NOT be a holder of a driver’s license in another state other than Massachusetts
5. DOT Medical Examination Certificate
You can’t obtain a CDL in Massachusetts if you do not take and pass a medical examination as outlined by the Department of Transport (DOT). The examination has to be conducted only by an FMCSA-certified medical examiner. The certificate will only be valid for two years.
6. Tests and Endorsements
The state requires that you take and pass different tests to qualify for a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and CDL. The three tests include:
The CLP knowledge tests and endorsements, which include:
- 50 general knowledge questions (takes 60 minutes – pass with 40 correct answers)
- 25 questions for Air Brakes (25 minutes – pass with 20 correct answers)
- 30 Hazardous Materials (HazMat) questions (30 minutes – pass with 24)
- 20 Tank endorsement questions (20 minutes – 20 minutes – pass with 16)
- 20 Passenger endorsement questions (20 minutes – pass with 16)
- 20 Doubles/Triples endorsement questions (20 minutes – pass with 16)
- 20 School Bus endorsement questions (20 minutes – pass with 16 correct answers).
- Combination vehicle exam (if you are applying for the Class A CLP)
- Road test
- If you apply for the Class C CLP, you must also pass either the passenger (P) endorsement test or HazMat (H) endorsement test.
7. CDL Self-certification
As a CDL applicant, you’ll be required to carry out self-certification to inform your State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) or the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) of the type of commerce you intend to operate within either intrastate or interstate.
You should also let your SDLA or the RMV know whether or not you are required to have a medical certificate. If you fail to provide the self-certification information, your CDL will be downgraded to a Class D driver’s license.
How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in Massachusetts?
The fees for obtaining a Massachusetts CDL include the following:
- $30 to apply for the CLP
- $35 for the road test
- $10 for each CDL endorsement done the same day
- $30 for each CDL endorsement done on a different day
- $75 for a 5-year license and $75 for a 5-year renewal of Class A, B, or C driver’s license
- $140 when applying for an out-of-state Class A, B, or C license
- If you are learning with a truck driving school rather than a cost-friendly sponsor, you can expect to spend between $2,500 and $6,500 for CDL training. The cost here depends on the school, accommodation expenses, transport needs, type of license, etc.
How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL in Massachusetts?
Drivers in full-time training programs take about seven weeks on average to get their CDL. The time to obtain your CDL can range from as short as three weeks to as long as six months based on factors such as your availability for training and overall health.
Commercial License Types & Classes in Massachusetts
The state of Massachusetts has the following types and classes of commercial driver’s licenses:
Class A CDL
The Class A CDL applies for any combination of motor vehicles whose gross combined weight is 26,001 pounds or more, as long as the towed vehicle weighs 10,000 pounds or more.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL applies for any single vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more or any such vehicle that tows another weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
Class C CDL
A Class C CDL is required for any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that do not meet the definition criteria for Class A or Class B but is used to transport 16 or more passengers (inclusive of the driver). It also applies to any vehicle that federal regulations require to be placarded for carrying hazardous materials.
What About a Class D License?
Each CDL applicant must have a Class D license to apply for a Class A, B, or C CDL license. The Class D license is not a commercial motor vehicle license. It is held as a standard driving license in most states.
Other than the above classes or types of commercial driver’s license, you might be required to complete any or a combination of the following CDL endorsements:
- H (HazMat) for vehicles designed to carry hazardous waste or materials
What Makes Massachusetts a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career?
If you are considering a truck driving career, here’s why you might want to start it in Massachusetts.
According to Indeed.com, truck drivers in Massachusetts earn an average of $71,515, the same as the US national average truck driver salary. The salary range varies depending on the operating mode, years of experience, and types of routes.
Truck Driver Employee Benefits
Besides good salaries, Massachusetts truck drivers also enjoy employee benefits such as 401k, paid vacation, employee stock ownership plans, fuel discounts, referral programs, paid toll fees, life insurance, disability insurance, dental insurance, and health insurance.
Job Prospects Through Trucking Companies
As a qualified CDL trucker, you can find employment with top trucking companies in Massachusetts such as M&M Transport, Severance Trucking, J & S Transport, Rushco Services Inc., First Call Trucking & Courier, and The Trucking Company Inc.
Job Outlook and Salary For Truck Driving in Massachusetts
Now that you know what good tidings to expect as a truck driver in Massachusetts, here’s an overview of trucking jobs and salaries in the state.
What is the Demand For Truck Drivers in Massachusetts?
As a truck driver, you can expect to be employed for a long time in Massachusetts because of two main factors.
Firstly, Massachusetts is known to have some of the worst highways in the country. Employers are always looking for responsible and careful truck drivers to deliver goods to their consumers by road.
Secondly, Massachusetts relies heavily on truckers to deliver about 93 percent of the total goods the state’s people consume. However, there aren’t enough truck drivers in the state and nationally because retiring drivers are not well replaced.
As acknowledged by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2016, the shortage of truck drivers comes despite the projected demand for truck drivers from 108,000 to two million by 2026 due to the continued rise in e-commerce.
The BLS reported that about 26,000 people were employed as truck drivers in Massachusetts in 2017. The number is expected to rise as the national demand grows as more e-commerce companies look to deliver enough to cover the high demand for goods in the state.
How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Massachusetts?
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for truck drivers in Massachusetts is $71,515 as of mid-September 2022. The same website reports that based on your years of experience, you can make as much as:
- $67,150 in your first year
- $76,356 in 6-9 years, and
- $80,751 with more than ten years of experience.
Getting a Massachusetts CDL is a great idea if you are considering a truck driving career in or out of the state. The demand for qualified and responsible trucker drivers continues growing across the country as e-commerce expands, and you’ll be in demand as well.
Once you have fulfilled all the CDL requirements for the state, you can find work in Massachusetts trucking companies like Roehl Transport, M&M Transport, Severance Trucking, J & S Transport, Rushco Services Inc., First Call Trucking & Courier, and The Trucking Company Inc.
People Also Ask
Have you any burning questions about truck driving or obtaining a CDL in Massachusetts? Let’s look at some common ones below that may be similar to those you have in mind.
What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL in Massachusetts?
You may be disqualified temporarily or permanently from getting or holding a CDL in Massachusetts because of some or any of the following reasons:
- Major offenses such as running from an accident scene, using a CMV to commit felonies, including the manufacture, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances, being under the alcoholic or controlled-substance influence, etc.
- Serious violations of traffic rules such as improper lane changes, excessive speeding, failure to keep distance with the vehicle ahead, driving recklessly, etc.
- Violating an out-of-service order during which you are required not to drive a CMV either as a CLP or CDL holder
- Violating railroad-highway crossing stipulations such as failing to cross well due to inadequate undercarriage clearance, failing to ensure enough driving space for complete crossing without stopping, failing to obey the directions of a traffic control device or enforcement officer at the crossing, etc.
What Requires a CDL in Massachusetts?
Operate vehicles with any of the following attributes requires a valid CDL in the state.
- Any single vehicle whose gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is over 26,001 Ibs or any such vehicle towing another that weighs less than 10,000 Ibs
- Any combination vehicle whose GVWR is over 26,001 Ibs, with the towed vehicle weighing over 10,000 Ibs
- Any passenger vehicle meant to transport 16 or more people, together with the driver
- Any vehicle that requires a HazMat placard.
Who is Exempt From Getting a Massachusetts CDL?
You are exempt from getting a Massachusetts CDL if you have admirable experience in safe driving as a military vehicle operator, firefighting equipment operator, farm equipment operator, recreational vehicle operator, or a township/government employee.