Michigan CDL License Requirements – Driver’s Guide

| Last Updated: December 18, 2021

Commercial truck driving jobs are pretty lucrative in Michigan, but not everyone with a driving license can become a commercial truck driver. You need a commercial driving license to do so.

After adopting the 1986 Federal Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Michigan now classifies and licenses commercial truck drivers to operate different commercial vehicles based on vehicle weight ratings. 

We’ll look at the requirements, costs, and general procedure of obtaining a CDL license in Michigan.

How to Get a CDL in Michigan

Getting a commercial driving license is not complicated in Michigan. You need to meet the basic requirements like being of legal age and having your standard driving license, among other conditions.

You’ll also need to pay the necessary fees before scheduling the CDL skill tests. Once you pass the medical examiner test, vision test, and skills test, you’ll need to wait for about 14 days to receive your certificate, which is valid for a year.

But as you wait, you’ll receive a temporary permit that you can use to drive commercial vehicles. Everything happens at the offices of the Michigan Secretary of State.

Michigan CDL Requirements

Generally, here are the basic requirements for obtaining a CDL in Michigan:

  • Minimum Age – You need to be at least 18 years to drive a commercial vehicle intrastate (within the state lines) and at least 21 years to move interstate (across the state lines) or transport hazardous material.

  • Documentation – Necessary documents include your driving license, proof of social security number (which could be a W2 form, your social security card, or payroll check), and proof of US citizenship (which could also be a permanent resident card). 

  • Recent Photo – You’ll also need to provide a recent photo or have one taken.

  • Medical Requirements – A medical examiner’s report from a licensed medical expert is necessary too. This generally focuses on your physical capability of driving a commercial vehicle. 

  • CDL Certification Form – You need to fill out form BFS-103 (the CDL certification form) and submit it with your application.

  • Tests – You’ll need to pass the CDL written general knowledge test and skills test before getting the CDL.
  • Fees – You’ll need to pay the license, correction, and enhanced fees.
  • Temporary Instruction Permit (TIP) – The TIP lets you drive a commercial vehicle under the guidance of a CDL-certified driver.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a CDL in Michigan?

Essentially, you first need to pay $25 for the license application. After that, you’ll pay $5 for every additional endorsement that you obtain.

An enhanced CDL, however, will cost you $45. An enhanced CDL or enhanced driver’s license (EDL) is a special license that allows you to cross into the United States from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Once you pass the various tests, you’ll need to pay a correction fee of $18 before receiving a CDL.

How Long Does it Take to Get a CDL in Michigan?

Generally, it takes about 10-14 business days to receive your CDL once you pass all the tests and pay the necessary fees. Before this, you should complete CDL training in three to seven weeks, depending on your schedule and the CDL training school you join.

Commercial License Types & Classes in Michigan

There are three types of commercial driving licenses in Michigan that dictate the kind of commercial vehicle you can drive. These classes are dependent on the vehicle’s or truck’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which is the vehicle’s maximum load weight.

Not only does GVWR include the cargo and passenger weight but also that of the vehicle.

The vehicle classes are as discussed below:

Class A CDL

Class A CDL is necessary for operating a combined vehicle whose Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is 26,000 pounds or more and a towed vehicle weight exceeding 10,000 pounds. 

Such vehicles include truck-trailer combinations, livestock carriers, tankers, tractor-trailers, and tractor-trailer buses.

Class B CDL

A Class B CDL is necessary for operating a combined vehicle or single vehicle whose Gross Weight Rating is 26,000 pounds or more but a towed unit that doesn’t exceed 10,000 pounds.

Class C CDL

A Class C CDL is necessary for operating a vehicle that neither qualifies for Class A nor Class B but can transport 16 or more passengers.  It also applies to vehicles that transport hazardous material but don’t qualify for either class.

Michigan CDL Endorsements

The state of Michigan requires you to obtain a CDL endorsement if you plan to haul dangerous/hazardous materials in bulk. The endorsement is known as HazMat, and it applies to the following materials:

  • Flammables
  • Corrosives
  •  Radioactive materials
  • Toxic materials

In addition to meeting the basic CDL requirements, you’ll need to pass a DoT (Department of Transport) criminal background check.

Another endorsement that applies to commercial truck drivers is the N Endorsement, required for tanker vehicles. Generally, an N Endorsement allows you to transport bulk gases and liquids in a tanker vehicle.

Note that Michigan also offers an X Endorsement that combines the N and H endorsement instead of getting them separately. 

Other endorsements include:

  • P Endorsement (For passenger vehicles)
  • T Endorsement ( For double and triple vehicles)
  • S Endorsement (For school buses)
  • F Endorsement (For commercial firefighting drivers)

What Makes Michigan a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career? 

Michigan is generally a fantastic place to launch your truck driving career because of the following reasons:

A Positive Outlook 

According to a BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) report, Michigan will experience a 6% growth in the truck driving sector between now and 2030. So, the prospects are much higher for the industry now and in later years.

Good Pay 

The BLS report mentioned above also shows that truck drivers earn an average hourly pay of $22.66, which is pretty decent. And overall, you are likely to make more money if you have some certifications and more working experience.

Fast-growing Economy 

According to a mlive.com study, the economy of the state of Michigan is ever-growing in all sectors, and that means the opportunities are limitless for truck drivers. 

Provided you have the skill and the documentation, there will always be truck driving job opportunities for you in Michigan.

Work-life Balance

Michigan is not all work but no play. The state has some of the best museums, shopping centers, restaurants, and recreational centers that can bring balance to your busy truck driving life. 

Job Outlook and Salary for Truck Driving in Michigan

The state of Michigan, as we mentioned, is projected to experience a 6% job growth in the truck driving sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS report shows that the yearly median pay for 2020 was $47,130, which is equivalent to $22.66 hourly. The report also indicates that the number of truck driving jobs in 2020 was 1,951,600, but 122,100 new openings are expected to be available yearly from now to 2030.

However, according to a 2022 report by Salary.com, truck drivers in Michigan average annual pay of $54,690, but the average range is $48,290-$62,790, which is not far from BLS’s 2020 report.

According to Salary.com, the earnings for commercial truck drivers vary depending on education, additional skill, years of experience, and obtained endorsements. 

Having a HazMat endorsement and any other certification can boost your earnings, and so does work experience. But comparing company truck drivers with owner-operators, the latter makes more money per mile, as noted by Indeed.

What is the Demand for Truck Drivers in Michigan?

With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 6% growth in truck driving jobs and the creation of 122,100 jobs yearly between now and 2030, the demand for truck drivers in Michigan is high. The demand is even greater for truck drivers who transport hazardous materials.

How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in Michigan?

Salary.com reports that commercial truck drivers make $48,290-$62,790 yearly, depending on their experience level, certifications, education, and additional skills. The median yearly pay, however, according to the report, is $64,690.

Conclusion

Michigan has almost the same CDL license requirements as the other states. To obtain a CDL in Michigan, you need to meet the basic age requirements, avail the necessary documents, and pay the required fees.

But again, it depends on whether you’ll pass the necessary tests. We have provided an essential guide to getting you started!

People Also Ask

Above are the basics for obtaining a CDL in Michigan. But given the broadness of the topic, more questions are likely to arise. Here are a few.

When Do You Need a CDL in Michigan?

Generally, you need a CDL in Michigan to operate any of these vehicle classes:

  • Class A CMVs – Applies to combination vehicles and trucks with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GVWR) of at least 26,000 pounds and a towed vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds.

  • Class B CMVs – Applies to combination vehicles or trucks with a GVWR of at least 26,000 pounds but a towed vehicle with its weight not exceeding 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C CMVs – Includes vehicles that don’t belong to Class A or B but can carry 16 or more passengers or transport hazardous materials.

Where Can You Find the Michigan CDL Practice Test?

Nowadays, there are many free CDL practice apps that you can download on your phone, including CDL Written Test Prep, CDL Practice Test Free, and CDL Permit Practice Test.

You can also try websites like CDL-prep.com or CDLpracticetest.com, where you can get free sources to prepare for the CDL general knowledge test.  

Can You Get a CDL With a DUI In Michigan?

Generally, a DUI (driving under the influence) conviction disqualifies you from obtaining a CDL in Michigan. Note, however, that if you have no prior DUI conviction record, your commercial driving license will be suspended for at least one year if convicted.



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.