2024 Nebraska CDL Requirements Guide

In order to obtain a Nebraska CDL, you’ll need to be over 18, speak English, be a legal resident of the state, and pass several tests.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
In order to be eligible for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in
Nebraska
, you’ll need to have a clean driving record, speak/read English, be over the age of 18, and provide proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful status. If you meet those requirements, you’ll still need to get your CLP and pass the required tests.
Having a Nebraska Type O driver’s license will allow you to drive most ordinary automobiles within the state. However, if you want to get behind the wheel of a bus, large truck, or any other commercial motor vehicle, you’ll need a different type of driver’s license: a CDL, or commercial driver’s license. 
Before you can get a Nebraska CDL, though, you’ll need to meet the state’s residency and medical requirements. You’ll also have to be a legal adult, obtain a CLP, pass several tests, and get a medical examination. Even then, there are disqualifications that could prevent you from getting a CDL. 
Getting a CDL is a bit more complicated than getting a standard driver’s license. Before you get started, you’ll need to understand all the requirements and procedures involved in the process. Fortunately, you can find all of that information (and more) in this handy guide—brought to you by
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Nebraska? 

Driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is a serious responsibility. It requires truckers, bus drivers, and other commercial drivers to understand and implement important safety practices. The state of Nebraska requires commercial drivers to have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), which indicates that they have received the appropriate training and passed the required tests. 
For the sake of safety, acquiring a CDL is a complex process designed to vet potential commercial drivers. All CDL applicants will need to meet the following requirements
  • Be at least 18 years old (or 21, depending on the CDL class)
  • Be a full-time resident of Nebraska
  • Be a legal US citizen or have legal resident status
  • Not have more than one driver’s license
  • Must never have had your driving privileges suspended, canceled, revoked, or otherwise invalidated in any state
  • Meet the federal CDL medical requirements as defined by the
    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
  • Must not be subject to any of the state’s
    CDL disqualifications
  • Be able to speak and read English
  • Complete a medical self-certification
  • Pass the written tests required for receiving a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), obtained your CLP, and held your CLP for at least 14 days
  • Pass the vision, written, and skills tests required to graduate from a CLP to a CDL within 180 days of receiving their CLP
The items listed above are the basic requirements for all Nebraska CDL applicants—but they don’t necessarily include all the requirements you’ll need to meet. 
There are additional specific requirements that you may need to meet depending on which class of CDL you’re applying for and any endorsements you’ll be needing. 

Nebraska CDL classes

Like most states, Nebraska has three types or “classes” of CDL. These classes (Class A, Class B, and Class C) are differentiated by how comprehensive they are. Class A is the most comprehensive and Class C is the least. 
Here’s how each class of CDL is defined: 
  • Class A: Allows a driver to operate any vehicle or combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, including a towed vehicle whose Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 10,001 pounds or more.
  • Class B: Allows a driver to operate a single CMV (no double or triple trailers) with a GVWR of over 26,000 pounds. Drivers with a Class B CDL can operate combinations of commercial vehicles (such as double or triple trailers), but only if the combined GVWR of the towed vehicles is less than 10,001 pounds. 
  • Class C: Allows the driver to operate certain commercial vehicles that do not require Class A or Class B CDLs but still qualify as heavy commercial vehicles. This category includes vehicles like passenger buses or vans that can seat at least 15 passengers plus the driver. Class C CDLs are also commonly needed to drive smaller trucks when they're towing a trailer and small hazardous material (HAZMAT) vehicles. 
If you have a valid Nebraska CDL, you won’t need another driver’s license. Having any class of CDL automatically certifies you as a Type O driver—meaning you can operate ordinary passenger vehicles, but not motorcycles. 
Additionally, having a Class A CDL automatically counts as having a Class B and Class C license as well. Having a Class B license likewise means that you are also licensed as a Class C driver.
Even if you have the correct class of CDL to operate a certain commercial vehicle, you still may not be eligible to operate that vehicle if you do not have the required endorsements
MORE: How to get cheap commercial truck insurance

Endorsements

Some CMVs will require you to have certain endorsements before you can drive them—in addition to the appropriate class of CDL. Endorsements are special additional qualifications that can be applied to your CDL. Each one requires additional training, specific testing conditions during your licensure process, or both. 
If you have any endorsements, you’ll see them represented by a single letter that will be printed on our CDL. In Nebraska, there are six different possible endorsements that you can acquire. Here’s a quick overview of each endorsement, what it’s for, and the letter that represents it:
  • Hazardous Materials, represented by an H. Allows the driver to operate CMVs towing or containing hazardous materials as defined by federal regulations. To receive this endorsement, you’ll need to pass several security and criminal record checks.  
  • Tank Vehicle, represented by an N. Qualifies the driver to operate tanker trucks designed for hauling large quantities of liquids or gasses. 
  • Passenger Transport, represented by a P. Required if the commercial vehicle you are operating carries passengers. 
  • School Bus, represented by an S. Allows the driver to operate an official school bus for student transport. 
  • Doubles/Triples, represented by a T. This qualifies the driver to operate long combination vehicles (LCV): trucks that are towing two or three trailers that are attached to the same truck.  
  • Combination Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials, represented by an X. Required if you want to haul multiple tank vehicles at once, or if you want to haul HAZMAT materials. 
As mentioned above, earning most of these endorsements will require additional testing and/or criteria. It will also increase the fee you’ll have to pay for your CDL at the DMV. 

Minimum age requirement

Technically, you can earn your CDL at the age of 18. However, you’ll have an “Intrastate Onlyrestriction on your license, which will be indicated by a letter K. This restriction forbids you from driving a commercial vehicle across any state borders. You’ll only be allowed to operate CMVs within Nebraska itself. Additionally, having a K restriction means that you’re not eligible for earning an H or X endorsement.  
The K restriction will remain on your CDL until you turn 21, at which age you can apply for a CDL that will allow you to cross state lines. 

Medical requirements

On top of everything else, CDL applicants in the state of Nebraska must meet certain medical requirements.
To begin with, you’ll need to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination—which must be performed by a certified medical examiner (ME). You can find a list of all the currently operating MEs on the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry
During your medical examination, if it is discovered that you have any of the disqualifying medical conditions, you will not be allowed to proceed with the CDL process (unless you are able to correct the situation). 
Here are the basic medical requirements for all CDL applicants: 
  • Must not have hearing loss of 40 decibels or more at 500Hz, 1000HZ, or 2,000 Hz
  • Must have a distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye individually and without corrective lenses
  • Must have a distant binocular acuity of at least 20/40 in both eyes combined 
  • Must have a field of vision of at least 70 degrees horizontally 
  • Proper visual acuity for colors that are used in traffic signs and signals—meaning you cannot be red-green colorblind
  • Must have a blood pressure below 140/90 
  • Must submit to a urinalysis test
If you pass the medical examination, the ME will issue you a medical examiner’s certificate, which will be valid for two years. 
MORE: How to deal with rising gas prices in Nebraska

How to apply for a CDL in Nebraska

If you are confident that you satisfy all the Nebraska CDL requirements listed above, you can proceed with the licensure process. To get started, follow the step-by-step instructions listed below.

Step 1—Obtain your CDL permit 

Getting your CLP is pretty straightforward. You’ll need to report to the local DMV and take the written CDL exam. This will test your knowledge of basic CMV operation procedures. You can study this material ahead of time on your own or get help from a third-party company. 
Assuming you pass the test, you’ll need to pay for your CLP. It costs $14.50, plus additional fees charged for any endorsements you’re applying for. 

Step 2—Enroll in a certified CDL training course

The training course will be operated by a third-party institution, so you may need to shop around a bit for good deals. During the course, you’ll learn the details of how to operate various kinds of CMVs. You’ll also have to spend a certain number of hours behind the wheel of a CMV. 

Step 3—Pass your DOT physical exam

Then, you’ll need to schedule and pass a Department of Transportation medical examination. This is to ensure that you’re physically equipped to operate a CMV safely. 

Step 4—Pass a driving record check

Before you can take the CDL exams, you’ll need to submit to a driving record check. This can be done at the DMV. They’ll pull and check your driving records from the past 10 years across all 50 states. 

Step 5—Pass your CDL exams

Once your driving record has been checked out, it’s time to take your CDL exams. These include the knowledge tests. How many of these tests you have to take depends on what (if any) endorsements you’re applying for. You’ll need to score at least an 80 to pass the knowledge test. 
After the written knowledge tests, you’ll need to pass the basic control skills and road test. For this exam, you’ll need to properly operate a CMV with a test administrator in the vehicle. They will ask that you perform various tasks and maneuvers. 
This is to demonstrate certain basic commercial driving skills, similar to the driving test to get your first Type O driver’s license. If you can perform the requested tasks in a real-world environment, you’ll pass the commercial driving skills test. 
Once you’ve passed the skills test, you’ll be ready to receive your CDL. Make sure you bring all the required documentation: proof of citizenship, Medical Examiner’s Certificate card, ID, proof of address, etc. 
The last thing you’ll need to do before getting your CDL is to pay for it. It costs a total of $60 to get your CDL issued, which includes the cost of the $5 surcharge. 

How long is a CDL valid in Nebraska? 

Once issued, a Nebraska CDL will be valid for five years unless it was issued to someone under the age of 21 or if one of your endorsements requires more frequent renewal. 
MORE: Car inspection in Nebraska

How to save on car insurance in Nebraska

Having a Nebraska CDLwill open up new, lucrative employment opportunities for you. In the long run, it can make you a lot of money. But in the short term, the process of getting your CDL can be pretty expensive.
Fortunately, you can save some extra cash for your CDL license expenses by reducing
the cost of car insurance
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