Colorado residents can create or expand opportunities for a driving career by getting a commercial driver’s license. Drivers of certain large vehicles and buses typically need one of these Colorado CDL licenses. Applicants first take a CDL knowledge (written test) at the Colorado Department of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles. The Colorado DMV then issues a CDL permit to those who pass the written test. Drivers can then use the permit to train on actual commercial vehicles. After completing training, test takers then go back to the DMV and take the required skills test. Upon passing that test, a driver can get a Colorado CDL license.
Study for the written knowledge test. The best way to determine the content of the CDL exam is to use the CDL manual. You may access the Colorado CDL manual (handbook) online at Colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251659646049&ssbinary=true.
You will notice that there are general portions of a CDL written exam and “endorsement” portions. CDL endorsements are special categories of the CDL license for special jobs like hauling hazardous materials (HAZMAT) and driving school buses. Study the portions of the exam that apply to the type of Colorado commercial driving job you intend to get. If you are not sure, then you can be on the safe side and just study the entire manual. This will maximize your options for jobs after you obtain your license.
Take the written test. Visit the nearest Colorado DMV to take the exam. After passing the written portion, you can then receive a CDL permit. This is the permit that allows you to go and seek hands-on CDL training at a school or other training program.
Find suitable CDL training. A common way to train for a CDL license nowadays is to attend a truck driving school. The Professional Truck Driver Institute provides certification of truck driving schools throughout the country. Look at the current list of Colorado CDL schools at Ptdi.org/schools/schoolslist.aspx#colorado. If you cannot attend any schools on the list, you can train with any licensed CDL holder that you can find. Some non-certified schools may also exist in Colorado. However, you should get recommendations for any non-certified school before forking over your money for expensive tuition. Schools typically charge a few thousand dollars for a complete commercial driving course.
Prospective school bus drivers should contact their local Colorado school district to see about opportunities for bus driver training. Commercial transportation/passenger companies also often have their own training programs for CDL driving.
Complete your chosen training course. It is best to be familiar with the entire Colorado CDL manual before attending a live CDL course. You should spend your valuable time getting accustomed to actually operating and performing safety checks and procedures on the commercial training vehicle.
Schedule and take the CDL skills test at your Colorado DMV local office. Once you pass this portion of the test, you can then get your Colorado CDL license.
1. Before taking the written test, you may wish to look online for a CDL study guide or resources for practice questions. For example, CristCDL has some sample questions you can use to practice before taking the actual CDL exam.
2. You must pass a medical exam to get your CDL license, You can find a link to the exam form in the Colorado CDL handbook linked to in Step 1.
Colorado CDL Manual
Colorado Truck Driving Schools and CDL Training