CDL License Requirements & Training in Washington ::

Washington CDL License Requirements

Beginning on your path to a commercial driving career in Washington can feel like an overwhelming task, but don’t worry! We’ve decided to break it down to the essentials of what you’ll need to consider, helping you to meet all of the necessary Washington CDL requirements. It won’t happen overnight, but the sooner you start the Washington CDL training the closer you’ll be to that first commercial driving job! 

For interstate trucking, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old according to the regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Otherwise, you must be at least 18 years old to start with a learner’s permit, pass a vision test, provide a current physical examination, in addition to having a valid driver’s license for personal use. 

Earning your CDL license in Washington means you’ll need to pass a general knowledge exam, a skills test that includes pre-trip vehicle inspections and a basic understanding of your vehicle's class and procedures, followed by your official road test during which you’ll be operating a commercial vehicle. It is important to note that the vehicle used for your test will determine the class of license you’ll receive, either CDL class A, B, or C. It is also possible to receive additional endorsements on your Washington CDL license indicating a specialized knowledge in transporting specific cargo types or the ability to transport passengers.

Find CDL Training Schools in Washington

Finding a formal training program to earning your Washington CDL is a great way to ensure you haven’t overlooked any of the necessary requirements or vital information which would stop you from starting a career as a commercial driver. Considering that the current driver shortage is characterized as an issue of most candidates’ quality rather than quantity, setting yourself apart with a formal education can let employers know you’re serious about becoming a leading transportation professional. 

Whether you take courses through a public, private, or community college, gaining the necessary skill sets is what counts. You’ll need to know everything from how to properly inspect your vehicle to the fine details of life on the road and operating your vehicle with precision. CDL training programs in Washington also provide the opportunity to learn from instructors who are very familiar with the ins and outs of commercial driving having spent years on the road. Search for CDL schools in Washington and start your path to education today!

CDL Training Costs in Washington

The costs of Washington CDL training programs will vary depending on the type of school and programs available in your area, although the state average is $4,306. Nationally, CDL training can cost anywhere from averages of $2,000-$8,300 so it could be best to shop around for the best value and schedule that works for you. Don’t sell yourself short – it’s the education and experience that really matters! 

These tuition costs will generally cover the materials you need for class, any additional endorsement courses you’ll be taking, as well as your main experience in the classroom and behind the wheel. Like most college or formal training programs, students looking to become commercial drivers can apply for FAFSA student aid to make costs of tuition a little easier to manage. Other financial options can include loans or a federal Pell Grant, which can be awarded by participating institutions and acts as money toward your education. 

Attending a company-sponsored training program is another very popular option for future commercial drivers. In this scenario, trucking companies will actually pay for you to go through CDL training in Washington, allowing you to reimburse them once they’ve hired you. This makes for a smooth transition into earning a regular salary, and also provides confidence that a job is lined up and ready as soon as you earn your CDL in Washington. It is important to stress that this is a strict financial agreement, so as long as you’re completely willing to complete the program, this is a great option that can open up a lot of opportunities very quickly without much job searching.

CDL Prep in Washington

Once you’ve spent time behind the wheel, gained all the right knowledge for the job and taken the necessary courses, what is there left to do? Studying hard and reviewing your materials will never hurt, but when it comes to taking your official written test you won’t want to be caught off-guard. To really feel confident, prepare with our practice CDL test available for free here on! This resource can be used before it’s finally time to take your real test, helping you to get in the mindset ahead of time. While the questions may vary, this is a pretty similar structure to what you’ll encounter when the big day is finally here! 

Beyond written exams, it’s highly recommended that you practice your road test in the exact same vehicle (or at least the same class of vehicle) you’ll use for the final driving portion of meeting your Washington CDL requirements. Many students will utilize rental trucks if not already provided, however, it is increasingly common that test vehicles will be made available to you – especially with company-sponsored programs. Remember to relax and take each item one step at a time. 

With these considerations and Washington CDL prep tips in mind, be sure to ask around to learn what others have experienced during the process to really succeed!

Washington CDL Endorsement & Waivers

In Washington and the rest of the United States, special endorsements are required to haul specific types of cargo or to operate a certain class of vehicle safely and legally. Beyond earning your basic CDL class A, B, or C, common endorsements in Washington include:

  • School Bus - S
  • Passenger - P
  • Tank Vehicles - N
  • Double/Triple - T
  • Hazardous Materials - H
  • Combination Tank / Hazardous Materials - X

Waivers are also referred to as restrictions and are used to display a driver’s limitations associated with their specific CDL class type. Using a similar coding system to the way endorsements are designated on one’s license, restrictions allow employers and road officials to quickly and accurately determine a driver’s ability to be operating certain vehicles or hauling specific loads. These can include medical exemptions, as well as indicators as to the extent of your ability to use specific braking systems or even certain types of equipment like a pintle hook. It’s important to never haul beyond your restrictions and endorsements – this can result in penalties and safety violations!

CDL Tests in Washington

Once the time finally comes and you’re ready to schedule your final written and road tests to gain your CDL in Washington, it’s best to get an idea of what you can expect. After spending many hours behind the wheel and hitting the books, you’ll soon be able to prove what you’ve learned. But as with any test, it’s important to be aware of the material you’ll want to prepare for. Below is a basic overview of what you’ll encounter before the final steps to becoming a commercial driver are completed!

CDL Knowledge Tests in Washington

Earning an 80% or above is a passing grade, allowing you to move on to your skills and road tests where you’ll really display your newly learned abilities as an upcoming transportation professional. Similar to a personal use driver’s license test, you’ll answer a standard 50 questions covering a wide range of information. This includes commercial vehicle regulations, road safety, and rules, how to handle equipment, proper loading and unloading procedures, and other basic knowledge required to become a commercial driver in Washington.

CDL Skills Test in Washington

The Washington CDL skills test ensures that you have the proper knowledge and abilities required to operate a commercial vehicle in the state. The test will be broken down into three different sections, each designed to cover every aspect of commercial driving. 

Separate from the written knowledge test, instructors will test your familiarity with the class of vehicle you’re seeking a license for, as well as how well you know the proper procedures for handling cargo, utilizing your braking system, and other important mechanical processes involved before, during, and after transport. This also includes going over your pre-trip inspection tests and being able to determine whether your vehicle is safe to operate given traffic events and road conditions. 

Finally, for your road test, it’s required that you perform various maneuvers like turning, backing up, and merging lanes – basically, everything you’ll need to navigate the open road safely and efficiently. This is one of the most important aspects of your entire CDL training in Washington, so be sure to practice extensively to really pass the skills test on your first attempt! Here you can display your confidence behind the wheel – something that company-sponsored programs really like to see!

Job Outlook in Washington

Considering that thousands of new drivers are required to remedy the current driver shortage each year, getting your Washington CDL is a reliable way to enter into a career where talented employees are in high demand! The issue is really one of quality rather than quantity, so setting yourself apart with an education means you’ll have a great shot at earning a consistent salary and moving on to better, higher paying positions quickly. 

Transporting goods is something that can’t be outsourced and is vital to the American economy, so that’s where you come in! Given recent projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the commercial driving jobs are expected to increase 5% from now until 2024, so earning a CDL in Washington is something that will allow you to earn a solid salary for years come.

Washington Truck Driver Salary

Although pay rates can vary across the state, gaining more experience on the road will make you a much more valuable hire as you continue your career as a commercial driver in Washington. Based on the most recent data, the average annual salary for a trucking job in Washington is currently $46,200. The longer you drive, the more you’ll eventually earn! Start looking for Washington Commercial Driving jobs today and keep your future moving forward with!