2023 Michigan CDL Requirements Guide

The Michigan CDL requirements include a valid Michigan driver’s license, medical prerequisites, and the completion of all applicable training.
Written by Jaya Anandjit
Reviewed by Georgina Grant
To operate a commercial vehicle in
, applicants for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Commercial drivers who intend to cross Michigan state lines must be at least 21 years old.
Like truckers and bus drivers throughout the United States, Michigan commercial automotive operators must hold a valid commercial driver’s license to operate a large vehicle. While the process of obtaining a CDL may seem convoluted, the prerequisites are pretty easy to check off. Primary conditions include a valid driver’s license with a spotless record, standard medical requirements, and the completion of relevant training and tests. 
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Michigan?

Obtaining a CDL may seem like a complex process compared to getting a regular driver’s license. Fortunately, it begins relatively straightforwardly—applicants can start the process with a few primary documents and resources, including proof of citizenship and identification, a
clean driving record
, and a commercial motor vehicle that may be used for the CDL skills test. Applicants must also meet relevant medical requirements and be able to read and speak English.
Before you take any actionable steps to collect and complete your requirements, you’ll want to choose a class of CDL that aligns with your license needs, alongside any endorsements that may be necessary for specific vehicle operating. 

Michigan CDL classes

There are three categories of CDL in Michigan: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Here’s what each class entails:
  • Class A: Any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs or more, including a towed vehicle heavier than 10,000 lbs. Includes tractor-trailers, tank vehicles, flatbeds, and truck and trailer combos.
  • Class B: Any single vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001 lbs or heavier, and/or any vehicle combination where the towed vehicle is up to but under 10,000 lbs. Includes large buses, segmented buses, straight trucks, box trucks, and dump trucks with small trailers.
  • Class C: Vehicles that do not fall under Class A or Class B and are used to transport either a minimum of 16 passengers (driver included) or hazardous material (HAZMAT)
Class A CDLs also cover Class B and C vehicles; Class B CDLs also cover Class C vehicles. Drivers who intend to operate Class C vehicles will need specific endorsements for hazardous materials and transporting passengers.


There are six endorsements for Michigan CDL drivers which permit them to operate specific vehicle types:
  • T: For double or triple trailers
  • P: For vehicles carrying 16 or more passengers
  • N: For tank vehicles that carry liquids or liquified gasses
  • H: For hazardous materials
  • X: For drivers with both H and N endorsements
  • S: For school bus operation
Each endorsement costs $5 and may include additional criteria or tests.

Minimum age requirements

The minimum age requirement for operating a commercial vehicle within state lines in Michigan is 18 years old. If you are planning to cross Michigan state lines with your commercial vehicle or require an H or X endorsement, you must be at least 21 years old.

Medical requirements

Additionally, applicants must meet numerous
medical requirements
to obtain a CDL interstate license in Michigan. These requirements may include:
  • Ability to hear a forced whisper from at least five feet away
  • Ability to recognize colors, specifically red, amber, and green
  • At least 20/40 vision in each eye with or without corrective lenses
  • Field vision of at least 70 degrees in each eye in the horizontal direction
  • Blood pressure of 140/90 or better
  • Urinalysis completion for blood, sugar, and protein levels
  • Alcohol and drug testing
In Michigan, all CDL operators must also declare a self-certification to their State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) that highlights their interstate or intrastate expectancy. Michigan CDL holders must also consent to future alcohol and drug testing. 

New ELDT requirements

If you are a first-time applicant for a CDL in Michigan, you must adhere to new training standards from the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
As of February 2022, these new regulations include
Entry Level Driver Training
(ELDT) for individuals applying for a Class A or B CDL and first-timers seeking H, P, or S endorsements. Before applying for CDL skills or knowledge tests, applicants must complete ELDT training with the FMCSA.
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How to apply for a CDL in Michigan

As previously mentioned, the first step to getting a Michigan CDL is having a valid Michigan driver’s license and a spotless driving record. Having more than one license from different states may disqualify you from obtaining a CDL. In addition, any traffic violations, suspensions, or convictions of six-point violations within 24 months before applying for your license can result in disqualification.
If you have a valid license with a
clean record
, your next step is to apply for your Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP). To apply for your CLP, you will need the following:
You are required to obtain your CLP at least 14 days before taking your CDL test. Throughout the 14 days, you are permitted to practice driving on public roads with a registered CDL holder who is at least 21 years old
You can begin the process of acquiring your CLP by bringing all necessary documents to your local Secretary of State office. Once you’ve obtained your CLP, it’s valid for six months and can only be renewed once every two years.
The next steps to acquiring your CDL involve training and passing a few tests. Applicants have several options when it comes to CDL training in Michigan. Check the Michigan Secretary of State website for a list of schools and pricing, and be sure to shop around before choosing your course. 
After training, applicants can visit their local Secretary of State office with all applicable documents and a completed application with medical and training certifications. The CDL costs approximately $25, or $67 with the Hazardous Materials Threat Assessment.
Once your application goes through, you’ll be able to book your knowledge (written) test. The written test includes at least 50 multiple-choice questions, but the exact number depends on the license class and endorsements. Possible topics include: 
  • Blind spots
  • Brake system
  • Performing safety inspections
  • Night driving
  • Vehicle control
  • Road rage
  • Hazards
  • Driving emergencies
  • Highway driving
  • Drugs, alcohol, and driving
After completing your knowledge test with a score of at least 80%, you can finally move on to your road test. You must provide a vehicle for your road test that passes a vehicle inspection, at which point you will be tested on the following:
  • Vehicle control 
  • Starting the vehicle
  • Left and right turns
  • Railroad crossing
  • Curving
  • Lane change
  • Lane usage
  • Merging
  • Right-of-way
  • Traffic signals and signs
  • Upshifting and downshifting
  • Intersections
  • Roadside stop/start
  • Low clearance
And there you have it! Once you’ve passed your road test, you’ll receive a temporary CDL license that will stay with you for 90 days before your photograph CDL arrives in the mail. Congratulations!

How long is a CDL valid in Michigan?

In Michigan, your CDL is valid for four years, much like any other driver’s license. However, there is no grace period for expired licenses in Michigan, so always renew before your expiration date. Renewals cost approximately $18.
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