A whole new world awaits you when you get a New Jersey commercial driver’s license (CDL). The state promises great employment opportunities, especially when you’re in the e-commerce truck driving career.
But one question lingers:
How do you get a CDL in New Jersey?
Here’s a thorough and straightforward guide on the requirements for the entire process.
How To Get a CDL in New Jersey
Acquiring a CDL requires a few additional steps to what you need to get a traditional driver’s license.
It starts with obtaining your CLP (Commercial Learner’s Permit) — a permit that complies with the New Jersey law and allows you to start training as a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver. You must also fulfill the following requirements.
NJ CDL Requirements
To qualify for a CDL, you must fulfill some medical, residency, and knowledge and skills requirements. The basics entail:
- Age Requirements: You must be at least 18 years old to drive a commercial vehicle within the state of New Jersey and at least 21 years to drive a commercial vehicle across New Jersey state lines, carry hazardous material, or transport passengers.
- Driving Experience and Existing License: You must have a valid Class D license. Your driving privileges must be in good standing and not revoked, disqualified, suspended, or canceled in New Jersey or other states. You should hold a CLP for at least 14 days before taking the CDL road test.
- Medical Requirements and Self-Certification: You’ll require a physical checkup to affirm you’re physically fit, have a 20/40 vision with or without glasses in each eye, and can differentiate colors green, amber, and red.
You also have to self-certify the type of commerce you intend to do and whether you are required to have a medical certificate to be allowed to drive commercial vehicles.
- Proof of Residence and Identity: You must prove you reside in New Jersey and have permission to live and work in the United States by showing legitimate personal identification, which may include a Social Security Card, valid Birth Certificate, or a Green Card.
- Skills Test: The CDL skills test comprises three sections – pre-inspection, basic controls, and road skills. You must pass all three parts to qualify for the CDL.
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How Much Does It Cost To Get a CDL in New Jersey?
A four-year CDL costs $42, while each endorsement costs $2.
If you don’t have a New Jersey Class D license, you’ll pay $24 more for it.
The summary for common CDL costs in New Jersey entails:
- $125 non-refundable test receipt fee for the Commercial Learner’s Permit
- $42 for a 4-year CDL
- $2 for each endorsement added
- $24 more if you don’t have the basic driver’s license
How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL in New Jersey?
On average, getting a CDL in New Jersey takes about seven weeks when attending a full-time driver training program. The time it takes depends on several factors like:
- Type of CDL license you want to get
- Endorsements you want to add
- Whether you take full-time or part-time trucking classes
- Your ability to learn
- The truck driving school you attend
- Testing schedule and availability
The exact time can be anywhere from four weeks to six months, depending on the above factors.
Commercial License Types & Classes in New Jersey
Commercial driver’s licenses come in a variety depending on the size, weight, and functionality of the commercial vehicle you’ll be driving. Each class has its regulations.
Class A CDL
It’s a CDL required of you to operate any vehicle with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs or more. Class A license allows the operation of even a towed vehicle that is heavier than 10,000 pounds.
It includes operating truck and trailer combinations, tractor-trailers, tractor-trailer buses, tankers, livestock carriers, and flatbeds.
Class B CDL
This CDL allows the operation of a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more. It also licenses the operation of any vehicle towing another vehicle that weighs up to 10,000 pounds.
The vehicles for Class B CDL include straight trucks, large buses, segmented buses, box trucks, and dump trucks with small trailers.
Class C CDL
This class of CDL applies when the vehicle you intend to drive does not meet the criteria for a Class A or Class B license. It targets vehicles meant to transport at least 16 passengers (including you, the driver) or hazardous material (HazMat) as laid out by federal guidelines.
Vehicles requiring a Class C CDL include small HAZMAT vehicles, passenger vans, and small trucks towing a trailer.
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New Jersey CDL Endorsements
In addition to the three classes, you can also get endorsements that permit you to drive a specific kind of vehicle. For instance, you need a special endorsement to transport hazardous materials.
Some NJ CDL endorsements include:
H – Hazardous Materials: For this endorsement, you must submit fingerprints to the TSA and undergo an FBU criminal history records check and other security checks.
N – Tank Vehicle
P – Passenger Transport
S – School Bus: You must undergo a federal background check and a state criminal background investigation for this endorsement.
T – Doubles/Triples
An endorsement on your CDL indicates that you qualify to operate specific kinds of vehicles or use them in a particular way.
What Makes New Jersey a Great Place to Start a Truck Driving Career?
While getting a New Jersey commercial driver’s license requires extra steps, it opens opportunities to earn money driving professionally. Here are a few reasons NJ is a great place to obtain your CDL:
Plenty of Employment Opportunities
New Jersey presents an excellent opportunity for a truck driving career because of the rapid growth of the e-commerce industry and the availability of hundreds of trucking companies.
The state is home to 24 Fortune 500 companies and is also the third richest US state in terms of median household incomes.
Some top New Jersey trucking companies you can find work with include Best Transportation, BestWay Trucking, MJD Trucking, On Time Trucking, and JCI Transportation.
High Earning Potential
New Jersey is among the highest paying states for truck drivers. An average driver earns between $42,000 and $107,000 a year. This wage is above the national average truck driver that ranges between $33,000 to $78,000.
As the transport industry grows and baby boomers continue to retire, the need for trained diesel mechanics and truck drivers has grown. This presents an employment opportunity for anyone who wants to start a truck driving career.
New Jersey trucking companies offer their truck drivers additional benefits, such as health insurance, vision insurance, and dental insurance to spice up their salaries.
Job Outlook and Salary For Truck Driving in New Jersey
Truck driving is an essential component for most industries, and it’s huge in New Jersey. You can choose from various specialties within the occupation.
- You might work as a local pick-up delivery driver and follow the same route to and from distributing centers and businesses in one regional area.
- You could work as a long-haul or heavy truck driver and carry goods and products across city and state lines.
- You can also work as a driver of sales and carry out sales in addition to driving duties.
What is the Demand For Truck Drivers in New Jersey?
Drivers are in massive demand all over New Jersey.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that the overall employment for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers will increase by 2% between 2019 and 2029, while light truck or delivery service workers will likely see a higher job growth rate of about 6%.
If you’re seeking job security in a hand-on-field, and you’re psyched up about diagnosing complex mechanical equipment, this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for a long time.
How Much Do CDL Drivers Make in New Jersey?
The average base wage for CDL drivers in NJ is $81,378 per year. Salary levels may vary depending on experience.
For instance, less than a year of experience attracts $76,410, while an over-ten-years experienced truck driver can make over $91,887 a year.
By this point, you’ve covered a lot of details. It would be right to conclude with a quick checklist of what’s important to remember:
- Getting a commercial driver’s license requires extra steps than the standard driving license.
- To get a CDL in New Jersey, you’ll need to meet specific medical, residency, knowledge, and skill requirements.
- New Jersey is a great place to start a truck driving career because the transport industry is expanding, and the baby boomers are retiring, creating more employment opportunities.
People Also Ask
Here are handy answers to questions people often ask about trucking and CDL requirements in NJ.
What Disqualifies You From Getting a CDL In NJ?
New Jersey follows FMCSA regulations and may disqualify a driver from legally operating a CMV, temporarily or permanently, if:
What Vehicles Require a CDL in NJ?
Vehicles that require CDL to operate in NJ entails:
- Any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
- Any combination vehicle with a gross combination vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more
- Vehicle carrying 16 or more passengers
- Vehicles that transport hazardous materials
Who is Exempt From Getting a New Jersey CDL?
New Jersey exempts the following from getting a CDL to operate a commercial motor vehicle:
- New Jersey military vehicle operators
- Farm equipment operators
- Firefighting equipment operators
- Recreational vehicle operators
- Specified township or government workers