2024 Minnesota CDL Requirements Guide

Learn what paperwork, training, and tests need to be completed before receiving your CDL in Minnesota!
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Age requirements, a clean driving record, a medical examination, training, and knowledge/skills tests are all part of the application process for obtaining a CDL in Minnesota.
Are you considering a new career path involving a commercial vehicle license? Whether you want to operate semi-trucks or school buses, we've got you covered!
This article reviews the necessary qualifications for a CDL in Minnesota and explains the complex application process. And as a bonus, we’ll even give you tips on how to save on
Minnesota car insurance costs
using the innovative broker app,
—which should hopefully offset some of the CDL application and licensing fees!
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Minnesota?

There are quite a few hoops to jump through if you want to drive a big rig down Minnesota’s highways. The requirements for any Minnesota CDL include proof of identification, medical exams, the successful passing of knowledge and driving skills tests, and a background check for CDL disqualifications.

Minnesota CDL classes

Minnesota has three CDL classes that are broken down by weight capacity (GVWR - Gross Combination Weight Rating) and type of vehicle. See the definitions below:
  • Class A: Any vehicle towing a unit of more than 10,000 pounds GVWR with a gross combination weight rating (truck plus trailer) over 26,000 pounds
  • Examples: semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, triple trailers, livestock carriers
  • Class B: A single-unit vehicle that is over 26,000 pounds GVWR
  • Examples: straight trucks, school busses
  • Class C: A single-unit vehicle, 26,000 pounds GVWR or less, with one or more of the following: hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus (with passenger endorsement)
  • Examples: Smaller busses, passenger vans, HAZMAT vehicles
  • But some situations may exempt you from needing a CDL at all, including the operation of authorized emergency vehicles, farming vehicles, recreational vehicles (mobile homes), and backup snowplows. For more details about these exemptions, please reference page 3 of the
    Minnesota Commercial Driver’s Manual


    Endorsements are additional qualifications that drivers must add to their CDL to drive specific vehicles. In Minnesota, there are six endorsements—check them out:
    • H: hazardous materials
    • N: tank vehicle
    • P: passenger transportt
    • S: school bus
    • T: double or triple trailers
    • X: tanker and hazardous material combo
    However, these endorsements aren’t just available over the counter. You will need to pass a knowledge or road test to add endorsements to your CDL (testing requirements vary by endorsement).

    Minimum age requirement

    Minnesota requires drivers to be a minimum of 18 years old to apply for a CDL and operate a commercial vehicle within state lines. The exceptions are forH or X endorsements or driving across state borders, which requires drivers to be 21 or older.

    Medical requirements

    To gain medical clearance to apply for a CDL in Minnesota, you will need to complete a 
    Commercial Driver's License Medical Self-Certification Form
    and obtain a valid
    Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC)
    Your medical examiner will only give you the green light if you pass all medical requirements detailed on page 8 of the
    Minnesota Commerical Driver’s Manual
    . Depending on the driver’s medical history, these certificates may need to be reviewed every two years.

    New ELDT requirements

    ELDT stands for entry-level driver training. As of February 2022, all drivers applying for their first CDL (or upgrading their CDL to a higher class) must complete ELDT before taking their skills or knowledge test. Learn more about the program by reading the
    2022 ELDT informational document
    from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
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    How to apply for a CDL in Minnesota

    Before diving too far into the application process, let’s ensure you qualify. Here are all the minimum requirements for Minnesota drivers to apply for a CDL:
    • Meets minimum age requirement
    • Passes medical requirements
    • Holds a Minnesota Class D driver’s license
    • Proof of citizenship, unexpired employment authorization documentation, or proof of permanent residency
    • Have a clean (enough) driving record
    Did you check all the boxes? Cool, let’s get you started on your journey toward becoming a certified commercial vehicle operator.
    First, you’ll have to bust open the books by studying the
    Minnesota Commerical Driver’s Manual
    and then hit the classroom by completing your
    ELDT requirements
    Once you feel sufficiently prepared, you will take one or more CDL knowledge (written) tests, depending on the class of license and endorsements. You may attempt each knowledge (written) test once per day, so don’t be too stressed.
    Upon receiving a passing score on your knowledge tests (80%), you can obtain your CDL instruction permit for $10.50. This learner's permit is valid for 180 days (non-renewable) and will allow you to practice in the real world under supervision (CDL holder that is 21 years or older). However, the permit must be held for a minimum of 14 days before attempting a skills (road) test.
    Once you feel well-versed enough behind the wheel, you can take the CDL skills test, which consists of a
    pre-trip inspection
    , basic control skills, and the road test. Here is a summary of some of the maneuvers you can expect to be tested on:
    • Starting the vehicle 
    • Parallel parking
    • Off-set backing
    • Straight-line backing
    • Lane change
    • Merge
    • Use of lanes
    • Right-of-way
    • Traffic signs and signals
    • Left and right turns
    • Intersections
    • Railroad crossings
    • Curves
    • Roadside stop/start
    • Upshifting and downshifting (if applicable) 
    NOTE: Your license may be restricted to the size and type of vehicle you use for the road test.
    If your certified tester gives you the thumbs up, you officially have the skills to drive a commercial vehicle! Depending on the class of CDL you purchase, it will cost you between
    $30.25 and $50.25
    . Don’t forget to bring all the paperwork we mentioned earlier with you to the DMV!

    How long is a CDL valid in Minnesota?

    Minnesota’s department of transportation does not communicate how long a CDL is valid.

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