How to Get Your Class 1 or Class 3 Drivers License in Newfoundland (NL)

Are you interested in becoming a heavy equipment operator or a Class 1 Driver in Newfoundland? If so, you have come to the right place. 

In this guide we outline the requirements to get your Class 1 and Class 3 license, highlight some trucking companies in Newfoundland and give an overview of some of the types of heavy equipment operator jobs in NL. 

Before we dive into the companies and jobs, let’s outline what the different types of commercial licenses are and the requirements to obtain them.

Looking for another province or state? Check out our Trucking License Guide menu page.

Class 1 License in Newfoundland

This is the highest license type you can get in the province that will allow you to drive most vehicles. It is primarily for licensing tractor-trailer drivers but once you obtain the license you can drive vehicles in Classes 3 and 5 also. So if you want to drive a big rig or any kind of truck, this is the one you need.

The steps to get your Class 1 License in Newfoundland are:

  1. Have your Class 5 license for at least 1 year.
  2. Pick up a medical examination form at a Driver Examination Office or Motor Registration Office and bring it to your family doctor to fill out after assessing you.
  3. Bring the form back to one of the examination of registration offices and be prepared to do the following tests:
    • Written commercial license and sign test
    • Vision test
    • Air brake written knowledge test

To study for your tests, refer to the Road Users Guide and pick up the commercial operators manual and air brake manual from any of the above mentioned offices. You may want to do this when you get your medical examination form so you have time to study.

Step 4: If you pass all your tests you will get a learner’s permit so you can practice. You can take lessons, attend a training program or practice with another fully licensed driver.

Step 5: Once you get some experience behind the wheel, make an appointment at a Driver Examination Office or Motor Registration Office to do your road test. 

Class 1 driver on the highway in Newfoundland

Class 1 Road Test

The road test consists of 4 major parts: 

  • Pre-trip inspection;
  • Reverse 90 degree angle parking;
  • Uncoupling and coupling 
  • A 60 minute road test in traffic

You must be able to successfully demonstrate your ability to do all of them safely and competently. 

Air Brake Endorsement

There are two types of air brake endorsements. One is referred to as 9 which is your standard air brake endorsement that you can get by passing the written test in Step 3. The other is known as a 9a which is meant for air brakes that require manual adjustments. If you need the 9a then you have to perform an adjustment at your road test in addition to writing the knowledge test. We recommend getting the 9a because it expands the number of vehicles you can drive.

Class 3 License Newfoundland

If you aren’t sure whether driving a tractor-trailer is right for you, you may want to consider a Class 3 instead. A Class 3 license in NL allows you to operate heavy equipment and commercial trucks, primarily anything with 3 axles. 

A Class 3 license in NL has almost all the same requirements and steps as getting your Class 1 license. The only differences are that you don’t need an air brake endorsement and you don’t have to do the uncouple/coupling part of the road test because you won’t be towing a trailer.

We recommend getting your air brake endorsement even though it is not required because many large trucks are equipped with them and it will expand your driving options without much extra testing and cost. 

heavy equipment operator with a class 3 drivers license in a quarry

Heavy Equipment Operator Course NL

If you are looking at heavy equipment jobs in NL you will need get a Class 8 endorsement to operate traction engines. There are a number of courses that train you to operate vehicles like an Excavator, Grader, Dozer, Loader, Tandem Dump Truck and Tractor-Loader-Backhoe. 

Some of these vehicles require a Class 3 license which you can often obtain with the school at the end of the heavy equipment operator course. Many of them will also have air brakes so there is another reason to get that air brake endorsement. Don’t worry, the training is included in most heavy equipment operator courses in NL.

A heavy equipment operator is actually an accredited apprentice program according to the Provincial Apprenticeship and Certification Board in Newfoundland and Labrador. This means you may be able to get provincial financial assistance for the course. For more information you can visit their website

Here are a list of the approved apprenticeship providers of a heavy equipment operator course in NL:

Some of these schools also offer Class 1 training in addition to Class 3, Class 8 and Air Brakes. 

Truck Driving and Heavy Equipment Jobs in Newfoundland

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Heavy Equipment Operator Jobs in NL

There are plenty of heavy equipment operator jobs available in NL. In fact, one of the biggest employers is the government. They are in need of many Highway Maintenance Equipment Operators all over NL. The pay is typically $22.23 – $24.61 per hour with benefits and travel allowances. The job is essentially building and maintaining roadways, so you know it will be pretty reliable work. 

Other interesting jobs you can get are positions like working on runways and parking lots, performing snow clearing as well as extraction and resource transportation in quarries. Many people also decide to go to Alberta to work on the oilfields. 

Not all jobs will require a Class 3 license but they will almost always need a Class 8 and 9 or 9a endorsement. Head over to to see some current openings available for heavy equipment operator jobs in NL. 

Trucking Companies in Newfoundland

Now that we have went over a bit about the types of licenses and jobs you can get driving, you should have a good overview of the process to get a license and maybe even what type of vehicle you want to drive or operate. 

A great way to learn more abut the driving industry is to pick up the phone and call (or drop by) a trucking company in Newfoundland and ask some questions. They are often very eager to talk to people who are interested in getting in to the industry.

Trucking companies in Newfoundland are frequently hiring so you may even get a prospective job offer once you get your license if you impress them, so be polite and dress clean if you are going to attend their office in person.

To help you get started, we have included a list of some trucking companies in Newfoundland you can try to reach out to. Some are looking for Class 1 drivers and others are looking for heavy equipment operators. Either way, you can talk to some people and see what the landscape for jobs is out there.

Here are a couple of the trucking companies you can apply to in Newfoundland:

Hopefully you found this guide on trucking and heavy equipment in Newfoundland helpful. Good luck and drive safe!

Class 1 and Class 3 Resources

Air Brake Manual

Apprenticeship Information – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Driver Examination Centre Locations

Driver Licensing – Service NL

Motor Registration Office Locations

Road User Guide

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