The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles handles the driver’s licensing and testing programs for the state. Individuals interested in obtaining work as a truck driver or other commercial driver (such as school or passenger buses) must generally get a Virginia CDL license. Applicants must first study for and take a written knowledge test. After passing that test and getting a permit, applicants can then train on actual commercial vehicles on Virginia roads. Finally, an applicant can get a Virginia commercial driver’s license by passing a hands-on skills and driving test with the Virginia DMV.
Access the “Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual” online at Dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/dmv60.pdf. Of course, you can also visit a local Virginia DMV driver’s license office and pick up a copy. This is the official study guide that you should use to prepare for the Virginia CDL test. However, you can also search for other CDL study aids online to supplement your use of the manual. Search for “CDL study guide” and “CDL practice test” with an online search engine to find more CDL study resources.
Schedule a CDL physical with a doctor. The federal government provides the official form for this medical evaluation online at Fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/forms/649f.pdf. The doctor will sign off on the certificate at the bottom of the form. Take that CDL medical card with you when going to the Virginia DMV for testing or licensing.
Go to the DMV and take the written CDL knowledge test. You should decide beforehand what endorsement tests you will need to pass. The CDL written test has general parts and endorsement parts, such as HAZMAT and school buses. You need an endorsement only if you will be involved in a vehicle or cargo that requires a special endorsement. Study for all endorsements if you want to keep your job options open for the future.
Get a Virginia CDL permit from the DMV after passing the written test. You should then look for Virginia CDL training. In addition to bus training from employers or Virginia school districts, a common way to train includes truck driver training. The Professional Truck Driver Institute has certified schools on its website at PTDI.org. You can also see the current list of Virginia trucking schools at Ptdi.org/schools/schoolslist.aspx#virginia.
Schedule a CDL skills test at a nearby Virginia DMV. You must arrange to have a commercial motor vehicle for testing on the skills/driving portion of the test. Training schools, employers and third-party testers/rental agencies typically can provide or rent a vehicle for this purpose.
Complete the skills test. You can then receive your Virginia CDL license and drive commercial vehicles on the roads of Virginia.
Note: Go to Hazprints.com to order a background check if you intend on hauling hazardous materials. This can take several months, so do this immediately if you wish to get a HAZMAT endorsement.
PTDI Virginia Truck Driver Training Schools (with Certification)
Virginia CDL Manual