The Wisconsin Department of Transportation manages testing and licensing for commercial drivers through the Division of Motor Vehicles. When an applicant is ready to test for a license to operate big rigs or other large vehicles, he goes to a DMV and takes a knowledge test. This grants an applicant an instructional permit upon passing this written test. After training, an applicant then takes a skills/driving test with a third-party tester. When passing that hands-on test, a driver finally gets a Wisconsin CDL license through the DMV.
Go to a local Wisconsin DMV and get application forms and a Wisconsin CDL manual. You can also study online by accessing the two versions of the “Wisconsin Commercial Driver’s Manual” from Dot.state.wi.us/drivers/drivers/apply/types/cdl-manual.htm.
Study for the CDL knowledge test. Use the CDL manual as your primary source of material to prepare for the test. You can also increase your chances of passing by supplementing your studies with online CDL resources. Look for “CDL study guide” and “CDL practice test” in a search engine to find supplementary study materials.
Complete the medical exams required for a commercial driver’s license. Get the medical card from the doctor and take that when applying for your license. You can download and print out the entire exam form at Fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/forms/649f.pdf.
Schedule the knowledge test at a Wisconsin DMV office. Take the test and obtain your Wisconsin CDL permit. You can use that permit to train on Wisconsin roads with a licensed driver.
Find a source for Wisconsin CDL training. In addition to truck driver training schools, you can also ask about training options from employers and Wisconsin school districts. If you need training as a truck driver, you can refer to the Professional Truck Driver Training Institute list of certified CDL programs. Access the Wisconsin CDL driving school list at Ptdi.org/schools/schoolslist.aspx#wisconsin.
Contact a third-party tester to schedule a skills/driving test. Access the statewide list at Dot.state.wi.us/drivers/docs/tp3.pdf. You must supply your own vehicle for CDL skills testing. Some third-party testers rent a vehicle for this purpose. Otherwise, you would need to get a vehicle from a training school or employer.
Take your certificate from the tester and proceed to a Wisconsin DMV. That office will issue your Wisconsin CDL license.
Note: HAZMAT endorsement applicants have an additional threat-assessment background check. Start that check at Hazprints.com as early as possible to ensure time before your CDL test.
Wisconsin CDL Manuals
Wisconsin CDL Third-Party Testers