2024 Ohio CDL Requirements Guide

Getting in a commercial driver’s license in Ohio requires both medical and written tests as well as a road skills test.
Written by Sean Boehme
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
If you want to acquire a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in
Ohio
, you need to be 18 years old and have a standard license. From there, you’ll need to pass the appropriate knowledge and skills tests and pay a fee. 
All you need is a regular old driver’s license to drive a sedan or SUV, but if you’re trying to make a living operating larger vehicles, then you’ll need a CDL. The process of getting a CDL is much more complicated than getting a standard license, so you must do your research first. 
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What is required for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Ohio?

Before you apply to get a CDL in Ohio, you must understand how the process differs from acquiring a standard license. For starters, you’re required to already have a standard Ohio driver’s license before getting a CDL and you also must be over 18 years old.
Beyond those basic requirements, you’ll also need to identify what class of vehicles you intend to drive and what endorsements you need. Read on for more details about classes, endorsements, and additional requirements in Ohio.

Ohio CDL classes

There are three distinct CDL classes in the state of Ohio. The classes, in order of most to least inclusive, are: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Here is a closer look at what each class allows:
  • Class A: A Class A CDL allows you to drive multiple vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds where the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GCWR) of the towed vehicle is 10,001 or more pounds. 
  • Class B: A Class B CDL allows you to drive a single vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001 or more pounds. The Class B license doesn’t allow trailers that exceed 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C: A Class C CDL includes vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, vehicles designed to transport hazardous materials, and school buses, assuming that they do not classify for Class A or B. 
So, if you have a Class A CDL license, you’ll be able to drive pretty much any commercial vehicle, including huge triple trailers and tractor-trailers. A Class B CDL is slightly less inclusive and Class C is the most restrictive of the three, allowing you to only drive vehicles that don’t qualify in the other categories.

Endorsements

Beyond vehicle class, you also need to keep endorsements in mind when applying for your CDL. Endorsements permit you to drive certain types of vehicles, such as a school bus or a truck that carries hazardous materials.
The six endorsements in Ohio are:
  • H: Allows you to drive a vehicle that is carrying hazardous material.
  • N: Allows you to drive tank vehicles
  • P: Allows you to drive a vehicle meant for transporting 16 or more passengers.
  • S: Allows you to drive school buses used to transport children
  • T: Allows you to drive commercial vehicles that utilize double or single trailers.
  • X: Allows you to drive a tank vehicle that transports hazardous materials.
The process of getting your CDL will vary based on which endorsements you are seeking, as most will require additional testing.

Minimum age requirement

You are permitted to apply for an Ohio CDL once you are 18 years of age, but you are only permitted to drive commercial vehicles within Ohio. You’ll need to wait until you are 21 if you’d like to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines.

Physical requirements

To ensure the safety of the driver and others, Ohio has medical requirements that you must meet before acquiring a CDL. In addition to Ohio’s tests, you also need to clear the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
physical qualifications
.
Getting a CDL in Ohio will require you to:
  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass a physical examination

New ELDT requirements

As of February 2022, the FMCSA has instituted nationwide regulations for
Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT)
.
If you would like to obtain or upgrade a Class A or Class B CDL in Ohio, or if you’d like to acquire an S, P, or H endorsement, you’ll first need to find an
FMCSA training provider
and complete their training. 
MORE: Ohio road closures

How to apply for a CDL in Ohio

Now that we’ve touched on some of the specifics regarding a CDL in Ohio, it’s time to start the process of actually getting your hands on one. 
Let’s assume you’ve got your standard license, are 18 or over, and don’t have any
serious traffic violations
on your record. Some violations that could jeopardize your chance of getting a CDL include:
Just like getting a regular license, getting a commercial driver's license requires you to get a learner’s permit. When you apply to get a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) you will need to provide proof of:
Since you need to have your driver’s license to get a CDL anyway, you won’t need as many documents as you might to get a normal permit. Take your driver’s license and any other necessary documents to your
nearest Ohio BMV office
along with $27 to pay the CPL fee. 
From here, the process of getting your CDL will vary based on your needs. There is a general knowledge test every driver needs to pass, but also knowledge tests that are unique to specific classes and endorsements
You’re also going to need to pass skills testing. The tricky thing about commercial skills tests is that you’ll need to provide the appropriate vehicle for testing. For example, if you’re taking a skills test and seeking the P endorsement, you’ll need a vehicle that can seat at least 16 passengers.
Some testing sites might be willing to rent the vehicle to you, but that’s an additional cost you’ll have to bear in mind. The test itself consists of:
  • Pre-trip inspection
  • Maneuverability testing
  • The road test itself
Should you fail the skills test, you’ll need to wait a week before trying again. If you pass, you can pay the $43.50 fee for four years or the $86 fee for eight years and be on your way!

How long is a CDL valid in Ohio?

Once you get your hands on a CDL in Ohio it will be valid for four or eight years. There may be some endorsements that expire sooner than that, so always double-check your credentials when you first receive the CDL.
Renewing your CDL is a lot like renewing a standard license. As long as you renew it in a timely fashion, the only test you’ll need to take is a vision test. Renewing your CDL will cost $46.25 for four years or $91.40 for eight years
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