2024 Louisiana CDL Requirements Guide

To get a Louisiana CDL, you need to be at least 18 years old and hold a valid driver’s license and pass applicable tests. Here are the details.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
background
In
Louisiana
, commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements include being at least 18 years old, holding a valid driver’s license from any state, and passing applicable tests. 
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Louisiana? 

It’s not easy to get a CDL in Louisiana. While the basic requirements are simple, like being 18 and holding a valid driver’s license, the deeper you get into the process, the more involved it becomes.
The exact requirements and tests you’ll have to take depend on the class of CDL you’re applying for, plus any endorsements you might need for a specific vehicle (like a school bus). 

Louisiana CDL classes

You’ll find three types of CDLs in Louisiana. From most to least comprehensive, they are Class A, Class B, and Class C. Here’s the breakdown of vehicle types by each class: 
  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles whose Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeds 26,000 pounds where the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the towed vehicle is over 10,000 pounds
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000 pounds or any combination of vehicles where the GVWR of the towed vehicle is under 10,000 pounds
  • Class C: Commercial vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers or hazardous materials that don’t meet the criteria for Class A or B 
Tractor trailers, double or triple trailers, and livestock carriers all require a Class A CDL to operate. A smaller truck or school bus needs a Class B CDL. Other vehicles or HAZMAT vehicles need a Class C CDL with the appropriate endorsement for transporting passengers and/or hazardous materials that require a placard. 

Endorsements

There are six types of endorsements for Louisiana CDLs that allow the driver to operate specific types of vehicles: 
  • T for double or triple trailer endorsement
  • P for passenger vehicles
  • N for tank vehicles
  • H for hazardous material transportation
  • X for combinations of tank vehicles and hazardous materials
  • S for school buses
Most of these endorsements require written tests, skills tests, or both. There may be other additional criteria as well.

Minimum age requirement

You must be at least 18 to operate a commercial vehicle within Louisiana state lines. If your job requires you to cross state lines with your commercial vehicle, you need to be 21 years of age or older. You also need to be 21 to carry hazardous materials or transport passengers. 

Medical requirements

You also need to submit a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate to get your Louisiana CDL. 
Medical requirements include:
  • Self-certification of health (meets the Federal DOT medical card requirements)
  • Can hear a forced whisper from at least five feet away
  • 20/40 vision in each eye with or without corrective lenses
  • Ability to see colors, like in a traffic light
  • Field of vision at least 70 degrees in the horizontal Meridian of each eye
  • Blood pressure under 140/90 (higher blood pressure levels require certification to be renewed every three months)
  • Skill Performance Evaluation certificate if missing limbs or digits
  • Absence of certain prescription drugs from the system if the drug impairs the driver’s ability to drive, even with a prescription
  • Consent to drug and alcohol tests

How to apply for a CDL in Louisiana

The first step for applying for a CDL in Louisiana is holding a valid driver’s license from any state. It also doesn’t hurt to have a clean driving record because you have to submit your driving record from the past 10 years.
Traffic violations could complicate the process of applying for a Louisiana CDL, and some offenses are disqualifying—if your license is suspended in any state, you can’t get a Louisiana CDL. If you speed or drive recklessly, are under the influence of a controlled substance, refuse to submit to an alcohol test, or use a vehicle to commit a felony, you’re disqualified. There are more disqualifying incidents, like leaving the scene of an accident, too.
As long as your license and record are impeccable, you’re ready to gather your documentation to apply for your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), which is the first step to obtaining a full CDL. You will need:
  • Proof of age (18 or older)
  • Hold a valid Class “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “E” license issued by the same jurisdiction that issued the CLP
  • Submit a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate
  • Complete a CDL Supplemental Form
  • Pass all applicable tests
  • Proof of Louisiana residency
  • Your Social Security card
  • Proof of insurance
    on any personal vehicles
  • Your driving record for the past 10 years
You’ll need to bring all this plus a $15 license fee (cash only) to your
local OMV
.
Your CLP is valid for 60 days, but you must wait at least 14 days before you can take your CDL skills exam. You can practice on public roads with a valid CDL holder while you have your CLP. 
Once it’s time to take the test, you can schedule it with an
approved third-party tester
. The test costs $100 if you bring your own vehicle. If you don’t have a vehicle to bring, you can rent one, but it will cost more.
If you successfully pass the test, you will be awarded a Certificate of Successful Completion. This will come in a sealed envelope and it is very important that you do not tamper with the envelope. If the seal is broken, your test results become invalid. Bring this envelope and the $61.50 CDL fee to your local OMV to get your full CDL. 
Remember that you’ll have to complete basic knowledge tests depending on which endorsements you seek. The knowledge tests are multiple-choice questions and you must get 80% or higher to pass. There is a separate test for drivers who are looking to operate a vehicle with air brakes. 
Once your tests are passed and you’ve paid your fees, you’ve got your Louisiana CDL. Congratulations!

How long is a CDL valid in Louisiana? 

Your Louisiana CDL is valid for six years, same as a regular Louisiana driver’s license. To renew your license, you will need:
  • Proper identification
  • Your Social Security number
  • Pass a vision test
  • Proof of current liability insurance, if applicable
  • Proof of Louisiana residency
  • Successful completion of applicable tests
  • Complete a self-certification form
  • Submit a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate
You’ll also need to pay an $86.50 fee by credit card or money order.
MORE: Louisiana reckless driving
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