2024 Alaska CDL Requirements Guide

In order to obtain a CDL in Alaska, you’ll need to be age 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license for at least a year.
Written by Melanie Mergen
In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Alaska, you’ll need to be age 18 or older and have a valid driver’s license for at least a year. 
Driving a large commercial vehicle is a lot more demanding—and a lot more dangerous—than your typical vehicle. That’s why Alaska requires you to have a CDL before operating one, and you’ll have to undergo a certain amount of education and training before you can get it.
But whether you’re planning to haul freight or drive public transit riders from one end of town to the other, you’ll need to know what’s required to get your CDL, and figuring it all out can get complicated. 
That’s why
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, is here with this introductory guide on obtaining a CDL in Alaska. Later, we’ll throw in some advice that might lead you to some significant
Alaska car insurance cost
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Alaska? 

What’s required to get a CDL in Alaska depends on what kind of commercial vehicle you plan on driving, and under what circumstances. Generally, you’re going to need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license for at least a year prior to applying for a CDL.
You’ll additionally need to pass a series of vision, knowledge, and driving tests, and you’ll need to meet certain medical requirements as well.

Alaska CDL classes

Alaska has three CDL classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Here are the distinctions of each one: 
  • Class A: Any combination vehicle that has a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001+ pounds and the towed unit’s GVWR is 10,001+ pounds (Example: semi truck with a trailer)
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a 26,000+ pound GVWR; can tow a trailer when its GVWR is less than 10,000 pounds
  • Class C: Commercial vehicles under 26,000 pounds designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or hazardous materials that wouldn’t meet Class A or B requirements


Endorsements allow commercial drivers to operate commercial vehicles under specific circumstances. To carry them, you’ll need to pass additional knowledge tests, and certain ones may require an additional road skills test and/or a background check.
The six endorsements for Alaska CDLs are:
  • H: for transporting hazardous materials
  • N: for tank vehicles that will transport liquids or gaseous materials
  • P: for vehicles that will transport 16 or more passengers (driver included)
  • S: for operating school buses that will transport pre-primary to secondary school students
  • T: for pulling two or three trailers
  • X: for transporting hazardous materials in a tank vehicle (combination of H and N)

Minimum age requirement

To obtain a CDL in Alaska, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, and you’ll need to have your driver’s license for at least a year before applying. To drive commercially across states, you need to be 21 years old or older.

Medical requirements

If you plan to complete interstate commercial driving, you’ll need a medical examiner’s certificate (MEC), which confirms you received a physical that satisfied minimum medical requirements set in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 
Those requirements will cover factors like vision, hearing, blood sugar, and blood pressure. To review them in detail, you can review the documents found on the
FMCSA website

New ELDT requirements

Effective February 2022, new regulations from the FMCSA require first-time CDL seekers for Class A and Class B to complete
Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)
You’ll also need to complete ELDT if you want to:
  • Upgrade to a higher CDL class
  • Obtain passenger or school bus endorsements for the first time
  • Obtain a hazardous material endorsement for the first time
You can look up training locations using the
FMCSA registry
MORE: How to get cheap commercial truck insurance
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How to apply for a CDL in Alaska

The first step to obtaining an Alaska CDL is making sure you meet the initial requirements: you must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license for at least a year prior to application. 
The next step in the process will be to obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), which will allow you to practice driving a commercial vehicle with someone age 21 or older who has already had the proper CDL for at least a year. You’ll need to have a CLP for at least 14 days before you can apply for your CDL.
Keep in mind, too, that there are different types of CLPs depending on the CDL class and endorsements you’ll need. Alaska’s
DMV website
can help you determine which one you’ll need.
When you’re ready to apply for your CLP, you’ll need to bring the following to the DMV:
As part of applying for your CLP, you’ll need to pass a series of tests:
  • A general knowledge test (the Alaska DMV recommends studying the
    Commercial Driver’s Manual
    to prepare)
  • A vision test
  • A combination test (for Class IA CLPs only)
  • An air brakes test, if applicable
After at least 14 days have passed since receiving your CLP and you feel like you’ve gotten enough driving practice in, you’re ready to proceed onward with the next step toward getting your CDL:
scheduling a road test
Be prepared to show off your expertise in:
  • Using mirrors, brakes, and other vehicle equipment
  • Parallel parking
  • Left and right turns
  • Merging onto and exiting a freeway
  • Following a vehicle
  • Three-point turns
  • Speed control
  • And more!
You can find out what else to expect from a road test and what you should bring via the
DMV website
In addition to passing that road test, you’ll need to bring along some more materials to get your CDL:
  • Proof of US citizenship or legal residence
  • Proof of Alaska residence
  • A Social Security number
  • Current driver’s license
  • A DOT medical card
  • An FMCSA vision and/or diabetes exemption document, if applicable
The fee for obtaining your CDL is $120. Once you’ve passed all your tests with flying colors and have submitted all the necessary documentation, you’ll have your Alaska CDL!
Of course, this process is complicated, and you might have questions that arise as you navigate these steps. To track down those answers, you can refer to the
Alaska DMV
state legislation
on driving commercial vehicles, the
Department of Transportation’s (DOT)
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, and the

How long is a CDL valid in Alaska? 

CDLs in Alaska are generally valid for five years, and you can renew it as early as a year before the expiration date. The standard renewal fee for a CDL is $100, while the Real-ID option is $120.
MORE: Cost of living in Alaska

How to save on car insurance in Alaska

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