Maryland maintains a licensing system for commercial drivers. Operators of big rigs, buses and other large vehicles typically need to get a Maryland CDL to drive on Maryland roads. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration issues driver’s licenses in the state. Residents seeking a driving career first need to go to the MVA and pass a written knowledge test. After passing and getting a Maryland CDL permit, residents can then train on commercial vehicles on the open roads. Finally, a resident can get a full Maryland CDL license by passing the CDL skills test. The MVA issues the commercial driver’s license once the resident passes both portions of the CDL test.
Open the “CDL Information” page on the Department of Transportation’s Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website. You can access this page at Mva.maryland.gov/Driver-Services/Apply/CDL/commercial.htm. Read through the information to determine the exact requirements for obtaining a CDL permit. You can download the medical-exam form in a link on this web page. Alternatively, visit your local Maryland MVA to get instructions and CDL application forms.
You should look at the “CDL Skills Testing” sections to get links for the Maryland CDL manual. There is also an amendment that you need and some CDL study guides.
Use the Maryland CDL manual and additional study guides to prepare for the written CDL knowledge test. When you pass this test, you will receive a Maryland CDL permit from the MVA. You can then use that permit to train on actual commercial motor vehicles on the open roads. Take the knowledge test and pass it to get your learner’s permit.
Note that you may or may not have to take one or more endorsement tests. For example, school bus drivers must take both the school-bus and passenger-vehicle endorsement exams. Look at the guidelines in the manual to match up the vehicle you will be driving with the required endorsements. If you don’t have a specific plan for employment, study for and take the general CDL knowledge test plus all endorsement tests.
Explore options for receiving Maryland CDL training. A common method of obtaining training these days is to attend a truck driver training school. For example, you may find certified CDL training schools through the Professional Truck Driver Institute. Visit the schools page at Ptdi.org/schools/schools.aspx.
Other possibilities include school bus training through your local school district and employer-based training in Maryland. For example, Greyhound frequently offers free training for prospective employees on how to operate its passenger buses.
Complete your training and then schedule a skills test with the Maryland VMA. You generally provide your own commercial vehicle for the skills and driving exam. Employers and training schools usually provide a vehicle for testing. Otherwise, you can look for a CDL rental agency in your local area.
Complete the CDL skills test. If you pass, the VMA will give you a Maryland CDL license for use as a commercial driver in Maryland (and interstate if you are at least 21 years old).
Note that you will have to pass a background check to haul hazardous materials. This HAZMAT requirement was instituted by the federal government and is required in all states. Ask the local Maryland MVA office if you need to complete this background check.
Maryland CDL Info and Links to the Maryland CDL Manual and CDL Medical-Exam Documents
Truck Driver Training Schools Certified by the PTDI