Are you looking for a career change and always wanted to learn how to drive a truck? Class 1 License Nova Scotia: A Guide, is your one-stop destination to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to be a truck driver in Nova Scotia. 

In this article, we break down exactly what a Class 1 driver’s license in Nova Scotia is, the steps to obtain it, Class 1 training in Nova Scotia and everything in between. We also go over the the Air Brake Endorsement Nova Scotia process.

Let’s show you how to get your Class 1 driver’s license in Nova Scotia in 5 Easy Steps. First, let’s go over the basics.

Class 1 License Nova Scotia: What is it?

With the exception of Ontario, most driver’s licenses in Canada are based on a number system. A Class 1 License in Nova Scotia, like the rest of Canada, is the highest level of driver’s license you can obtain and is often referred to as a professional or commercial driver’s license. 

What kind of vehicles can you drive with a Class 1 License?

With your Class 1 driver’s license you can drive almost any type of motor vehicles. Examples of vehicles you can drive with a Class 1 license in Nova Scotia are:

  • semi-truck trailers
  • large straight body trucks like a flatbed or cube 
  • commercial heavy equipment like mixer trucks and dump trucks
  • ambulances
  • tow trucks
  • taxis or limousines 
  • mobile crane truck
  • buses

A Class 1 License in Nova Scotia is most often obtained by people who are looking to drive your standard big rig semi-trailer or tractor-trailer combinations. Not only can you drive trucks with your Class 1 but any other vehicles in Classes 2-5 and 8 except school buses.

class 1 nova scotia tractor trailer

Interested in getting your Class 3 license instead? You can find out all the different types of vehicles you can drive and what the requirements are with our guide to Getting your Nova Scotia Class 3 License in 5 Easy Steps

Air Brake Endorsement Nova Scotia

The Air Brake Endorsement in Nova Scotia (03) is added to your driver’s license to permit you to operate a vehicle equipped with, you guessed it, air brakes. You will need to get this endorsement in addition to your Class 1 because almost all the vehicles you will drive with your new license will be equipped with air brakes. In order to get this endorsement, you must follow the following steps:

Step 1: Study for the test. You can find the Nova Scotia air brake endorsement manual here. You can also grab one in person at any of the RMV locations.

Step 2: Purchase an Air Brake Knowledge Test Receipt online. Print this out. You can also pay in person at one of the RMV locations.

Step 3: Call Service Nova Scotia at 1-800-898-7668to find out the hours of operation for knowledge testing at the location closest to you or check them out online at Access Nova Scotia. 

Step 4: Write your knowledge test and make sure you get at least 16/20 answers correct. 

You must purchase an upgraded Driver’s Licence within 6 months of successful completion of the knowledge examination so make sure you are prepared to finish the whole Class 1 Licensing process at the same time. 

Air brakes (air to all foundation brakes): 
A vehicle with an air brake system has brakes that are initiated by air pressure from an engine-driven compressor. This sends air pressure through a series of hoses, reservoirs and control valves to all the vehicle’s foundation brakes.

5 Steps to Get your Class 1 License in Nova Scotia

We have broken the whole process down into 6 easy steps so you can get an overview of how you can get your Class 1 License in Nova Scotia:

Step 1: Minimum Requirements

Before you begin the licensing process, you should make sure you meet the rest of the minimum requirements. In order to get your Class 1 licence in Nova Scotia, you must: 

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Have at least 1 year of driving experience with a Class 5

Newly-licensed drivers cannot upgrade to a higher class license while they have newly-licensed status. This means the “N” must be removed from your driver’s license. 

If you meet these requirements, you are ready to being your journey to get a Nova Scotia Class 1 driver’s licence.  

Step 2: Study and write your knowledge tests

There are a couple written knowledge tests you will need to pass to get your Class 1 license in Nova Scotia:

  • The Class 1 License Knowledge Examination 
  • The Air Brake Endorsement Nova Scotia Examination
  • The Vision Test
Class 1 Test

This test is comprised of a signs and rules of the road portion. You must get 16 out of 20 answers correctly for each in order to pass. The cost is $15.50 per attempt. 

In order to study for this test, you need to pick up the Professional Driver’s Manual from an RMV office. Unfortunately, there is no PDF copy available but there is no cost for the manual, you should have to go and get it.

Remember, the Class 1 license in Nova Scotia allows you to drive the other classes of vehicles, except school buses and motorcycles, so the testing will cover all those sections as well. 

Air Brake Endorsement Nova Scotia Test

We already went over this test above but what you should know is that this is a separate test completely and you must pass it before doing your Class 1 Road Test. You should write the air brake endorsement test at the same time or shortly after your Class 1 knowledge test. One you have passed it, you will get the air brake endorsement added to your Nova Scotia driver’s license. 

Vision Test

Of course you must have a good eye sight to drive a truck. The standards are a bit higher than your average driver but if you don’t have any serious impairments that can’t be corrected by glasses or contacts, you should be fine. The vision standards for a Class 1 license in Nova Scotia are:

  • vision in both eyes acuity not less than 20/50 (6/15) in the poorer eye and 20/30 (6/9) in the better eye, with or without correction 
  • no diplopia (double vision) 
  • field of vision not less than 120 degrees in each eye 

This test will be done at the same time as your write your knowledge test and is included in the fee already. 

Step 3: Medical Examination

Now that you have you completed your written knowledge tests and have your air brake endorsement added to your Nova Scotia driver’s license, you need to get a medical examination from your doctor. They will likely charge you a fee for this.

You can pick up the form in person at a RMV office or print one at home. There is a link to the form in our Forms section at the end of the article along with a lot of other helpful resources and contact information. 

You must be in good health to drive a truck. When you get your medical examination they are looking for serious issues that could interfere with your ability to operate the vehicle safely. This includes things like: 

  • epilepsy 
  • certain diseases of the brain 
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Certain heart conditions 
  • multiple sclerosis 
  • certain diabetic conditions 
  • amputations or mobility impairments (such as lack of range of motion of the head), paralysis of any limb, or disabling rheumatism or arthritis
  • poor hearing (you must be able to hear a forced whisper at 1.5 to 2 metres or to engage in a normal conversation at 8 to 10 metres)

Step 4: Class 1 Training Nova Scotia

To start off with, we want you to know that there is no requirement to do any official training, courses or lessons. Class 1 Training in Nova Scotia is optional, however, we recommend you get some experience behind the wheel for a couple of reasons. 

  • So you can pass the road test easily on the first attempt
  • It looks good on the resume when applying for jobs in trucking
  • Last but certainly not least, so you stay safe and keep everyone else safe on the road. 

If you have driven vehicles with air brakes before, have a professional driver’s license from another province or have a Class 2 or 3 license in Nova Scotia, maybe a couple lessons will do the trick so you can get used the vehicle size, coupling and uncoupling, air brakes with a trailer and the general maneuverability of the truck. If you are a new to driving trucks, we recommend you take some professional Class 1 Training in Nova Scotia. 

class 1 license nova scotia course

Class 1 Training Nova Scotia – Standards

If you want to do a full driving program instead of lessons, you will find most programs are quite similar. The Class 1 Training Nova Scotia Standards usually consist of a 12-15 week course that includes a 4 week internship with a company. See the advantage to Class 1 Training in Nova Scotia now? 

This is a unique model that the industry in the province has adopted. Hopefully, this will lead to a job offer right after you get your full license. You usually get all sorts of other credentials too, depending on the school, like:

  • Emergency First Aid / CPR / AED Training and Certification
  • Occupational Health & Safety and WHMIS
  • H2S Alive Training (Energy Safety Canada)
  • Construction Safety Training Systems (CSTS)
  • Oil Sands Safety Association (OSSA)

See our Resources section at the bottom of the page to make sure your instructor and school are approved Class 1 Training professionals in Nova Scotia. 

Challenges with Class 1 Training in Nova Scotia

We have already listed the reasons why we think you should take a professional Class 1 Training program so we should touch on the challenges. 

1. Most programs require you to have a letter of intent from an employer that says they will hire you if you take the training. This is not binding on the employer but you might have a hard time getting someone to give you a letter.

2. You can’t just cut a cheque to the training centre and get started. You usually have to do a pre-screening interview, background check and Workplace Skills testing, often referred to as TOWES, all before you start. 

3. The program is not cheap. You are looking at costs of approximately $10,000 and of course the loss of income you would earn from work while you are enrolled. 

Step 5: Road Test

So you finished practicing and are ready to take the final step. Maybe you practiced with a licensed truck driver, took some lessons or attended a Class 1 Training school in Nova Scotia. However you got here, it is time to test your skills. 

You will need to make an appointment to do your road test first and pay for it. You can buy a road test receipt online for $53.00 and you can call ahead to book a time at (902) 424-5851 or 1-800-898-7668.

You will have to bring your own tractor-trailer to the test. One advantage to taking a Class 1 Training course is they typically arrange to have a truck for you to do the test. 

The test will involve a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle and air brake system as well as an actual driving road test. They want to see how you can maneuver the truck, operate the air brakes, back up properly and generally to ensure you drive the truck safely while following the signs and rules of the road. 

Assuming you passed, go back into the driving office and fill out the paperwork for your shiny new Class 1 Nova Scotia Driver’s with an Air Brake Endorsement. The cost to upgrade your license is only $11.90.

truck-driver-meme

Want to drive a truck but thinking you’re not that interested the tractor-trailer lifestyle or job? Have a look at our guide for “How to Get a Class 3 License in Nova Scotia” for more information. 

Nova Scotia Class 1 Practice Tests

Here are some practice tests you can use to prepare for the air brakes test in Nova Scotia

Contacts

Here are some important contacts that will assist you in getting your Class 1 license in Nova Scotia:

Access Nova Scotia

Phone Number: 1-800-670-4357

E-mail Address: askus@novascotia.ca

Online Form and Complete Contact Information

Service Nova Scotia

Call to find out the hours of operation for each knowledge testing centre. 

Phone Number: 1-800-898-7668

Forms

Drivers Medical Examination Form

Eye Examination Form

Resources

Air Brake Endorsement Manual

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association

Fee Schedule

List of Licensed Driver Training Schools

Verification of Licensed Driving Instructor

Service Nova Scotia: Registry of Motor Vehicles

Driver Examination and Testing Locations

Registry of Motor Vehicles Locations


About The Author: Commercial Driver HQ

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Class 1 License Nova Scotia Guide and Practice Tests
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Class 1 License Nova Scotia Guide and Practice Tests
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The right way to get your Class 1 License in Nova Scotia. Learn about air brakes, medical examinations, and practice tests!
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Commercial Driver HQ
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