CDL license

How to Get a CDL in Tennessee

Earning a commercial driver's license (CDL) is the first step to becoming a commercial truck driver. A (CDL) is required for anyone who operates a commercial vehicle in Tennessee. Commercial Driver's Licenses are classified into three classes depending on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR), and what is being transported. Having a CDL opens up options in a transportation career, and it comes with some unique benefits. Check out the Dillon Transportation career page to learn more about opportunities in transportation.

Tennessee state law defines a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as any vehicle or combination weighing more than 26,000 pounds. Regardless of the vehicle's weight, a CDL would also be required if hazardous materials are transported, or the vehicle is designed to transport more than fifteen passengers.

What Are the Requirements for a Tennessee CDL?

To acquire a CDL in Tennessee, an applicant must meet the following requirements.


You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within state lines. To operate commercial vehicles across state lines and haul hazardous materials, you must be 21 years old.



You require the following documents to get a CDL in Tennessee:

● Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident Status

● Tennessee driver's license or I.D., or a valid driver's license or CDL from another state

● Valid D.O.T. Medical Card — Employees of a government entity must have a current, valid D.O.T. medical card if making an application for a CDL with a Hazmat (H), Passenger (P), or School Bus (S) endorsement.

● Proof of your Social Security Number

● Proof of Domicile in Tennessee — Applicants for a CDL or permit will be required to present two forms of proof of domicile.

● Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident Status


Medical Requirements

For an applicant to obtain a CDL, they must meet the following medical requirements.

● Vision in both eyes should be 20/40. Use of glasses and contacts is allowed.

● Applicants should be able to distinguish colors.

● Applicants should be able to hear a whisper at a distance of at least 5 feet.

● Blood pressure should not be above 160/100.

● If you have diabetes, it should be manageable through diet or medication. Applicants who need insulin injections do not qualify.

● Your blood sugar should not be above 200.

● Use of narcotics or any habit-forming drug is not permitted.

● If you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, you will have to provide the Medical Examiner with a stress test and a note from your physician stating that you can drive a commercial motor vehicle without restrictions.



To obtain a commercial driver's license, an applicant must undergo two tests.

● CDL General Knowledge Test — The CDL general knowledge test is a written test designed to assess your competence and level of trucking knowledge. It covers the material presented in any CDL handbook.

● CDL Road Skills Test — After completing the general knowledge test, the applicant can take the road test. This test is designed to assess your ability to operate a commercial vehicle in real-world driving scenarios. The test will include all the things you would expect to encounter when driving: turns, curves, intersections, city and rural driving, merging, etc.

CDL Classes to Understand

CDL licenses are issued as Class A, Class B, and Class C. These classes are based on gross vehicle weight.

Class A

You can drive any vehicle with a semi-trailer or a trailer with two or more axles if you have a Class A CDL. This covers any combination of vehicles having a Gross Combination Weight Rating

(GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, as long as the GVWR of the towed vehicle is greater than 10,000 pounds.


Class B

A CDL-B allows you to drive a single truck or a combination of vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds. The towed vehicle must not weigh more than 10,000 pounds.


Class C

A CDL-C permits a driver to operate any single vehicle or combination of vehicles designed to transport 15 or more passengers or is used to transport hazardous materials.


How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL License?

To obtain a CDL license, you must complete training, exams, and driving tests. Training typically takes four to seven weeks on average. This timeline is possible for students attending full-time training.


Land a Trucking Job with Dillon Transportation, L.L.C.

For anyone considering a career as a truck driver, the first step is to acquire a Commercial Driver's License. Although it takes some time and effort to obtain a CDL, the benefits are well worth it. Having a CDL will open up a world of job opportunities for you.

Are you interested in working with Dillon Transportation, L.L.C.?

Contact our recruiting department with any questions and be guided through the application process. We offer our drivers stability, respect, and financial success.