Are you looking for a rewarding career that involves driving? Class 3 License Nova Scotia: A Guide is where you will find all the information you need to drive trucks for a living.  

In this guide, we dive into what exactly a Class 3 driver’s license is, discuss the Class 3 training options in Nova Scotia and courses as well as the Access Nova Scotia road test. Basically, we lay out the steps to get you from boring passenger car driver to a professional Class 3 licensed driver in Nova Scotia. 

Class 3 License Nova Scotia: What is it?

A Class 3 License in Nova Scotia is similar to most other Canadian provinces. It is a professional or commercial driver’s license that is obtained for the purpose of driving or operating large industrial vehicles or transport trucks, which the exception of a semi-trailer truck. The exact wording for what you can drive with a a Class 3 License in Nova Scotia is the following:

  • any single vehicle in excess of 14 000 kg (30 864 lbs.)
  • any combination of vehicles – other than semi-trailer or tractor trailer combinations in excess of 14 000 kg (30 864 lbs.) G.V.W. where the towed vehicle in that combination does not exceed a G.V.W. of 4500 kg (10 000 lbs.)
  • vehicles in Classes 4, 5, and 8

What kind of vehicles can you drive with a Class 3 License in Nova Scotia?

With your Class 3 driver’s license you can drive a wide variety of interesting vehicles you may have seen driving down the road or at construction sites. Examples of vehicles you can drive with a Class 3 license in Nova Scotia are:

  • tandem trucks
  • cement or mixer trucks
  • dump trucks
  • fuel or water trucks
  • flatbed trucks
  • straight body trucks
  • vac truck

As discussed above, a Class 3 License in Nova Scotia also allows you to drive vehicles in other classes. This includes:

  • Class 4 vehicles, like buses under 24 passengers, taxis and ambulances
  • Class 5 vehicles, which is basically for your standard passenger car
  • Class 8 vehicles, mainly for farm tractors that weigh 14 000 kg or less
class 3 license nova scotia dump truck

Interested in getting your Class 1 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 1 License in 5 Easy Steps

5 Steps to Get your Class 3 Licence in Nova Scotia

We have broken the whole process down into 5 easy steps so you can get an overview of how you can get your Class 3 License in Nova Scotia:

Step 1: Minimum Requirements

Before you begin the licensing process, you should make sure you are eligible to drive. The minimum requirements to get a Class 3 License in Nova Scotia are:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least 1 year of driving experience with a Class 5 license

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 your Nova Scotia Class 3 driver’s license.  

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 3 Written Knowledge Examination 
  • Vision Test

Written Knowledge Examination

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 the physical copy is free. 

As the Class 3 license in Nova Scotia allows you to drive Classes 4, 5 and 8, you need to be familiar with those sections of the manual too. 

Vision Test

Before you move on to any on the road testing, you will need to have a vision test. The vision standards for a Class 3 license in Nova Scotia are:

  • vision in both eyes 
  • acuity not less than 20/40 (6/12) in at least one eye 
  • no diplopia (double vision) 
  • field of vision not less than 120 degrees with both eyes open and examined together 

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

Air Brake Endorsement 

You may want to consider getting your air brake endorsement as well, depending on the type of vehicles you are interested in driving. This will expand your work opportunities by giving you a larger range of vehicles you are licensed to operate. If you want to learn more about the air brake endorsement, see our Class 1 License guide where we go over it in more detail.

Step 3: Medical Examination

Now that you have you completed your written knowledge tests and maybe even have your air brake endorsement added to your Nova Scotia driver’s license, you need to get a medical examination from your doctor. There may be a small charged by your doctor for this exam. 

You can pick up the form in person at an 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 
  • mobility impairments (such as lack of range of motion of the head), paralysis of any limb, or disabling rheumatism or arthritis and possibly amputees
  • 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 3 Training Nova Scotia

Although there is no requirement for you to do any lessons or training, it looks great on the resume and will give you the confidence to pass the Access Nova Scotia road test hopefully on the first time. It will also teach you valuable skills that will help in your future career and keep you safe on the road.

You can either get driving lessons or attend a full Class 3 training program. If you know someone with a truck or company, you can also practice with a licensed driver. 

class 3 license nova scotia training

Class 3 License Nova Scotia Course

If you decide you want to take a training course, you will get pretty comprehensive training that will consist of in-class and practical driving instruction. 

We discussed above that getting your air brakes endorsement would be an asset to your driving career. Many training programs will give you the experience inspecting, adjusting and operating air brakes to prep you for vehicles that have them equipped. Some schools may require that you already have the air brake endorsement before enrolling so check in with them before signing up. Have a look at our Class 1 Guide for more information.

The typical Class 3 training course in Nova Scotia is about 3 weeks. You will go over pre-inspections, maneuvering, backing skills, professional driver education, load securement and most likely air brakes operation and inspection. 

There are also some more industry specific courses out there that are twice as long but give you a bunch of certifications. Instead of just practicing on a large tandem straight truck you get to practice in a vacuum truck, cement truck, fuel truck or flatbed for example. They often include things CPR/First Aid, WHMIS training and workplace skills. 

Some programs are even geared toward oilfield jobs. This will give you the essentials to get employed in that field with credentials like OSSA Basic Safety Orientation (BSO), H2S Alive (Energy Safety Canada), Swamper Training, Ground Disturbance and more. If you are willing to move, this would be a great option to look into. 

Step 5: Access Nova Scotia Road Test

Now that you have done some Class 3 Training, you are ready to take the Access Nova Scotia Road test.

You will need to make an appointment to do your road test first and pay for it. You can buy an Access Nova Scotia 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 truck to the test. One advantage to taking a Class 3 Training course is they typically arrange to have a truck for you to do the test. Some schools even do the testing themselves if they are certified.

The test will involve a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle and an on-the-road driving skills assessment. Much like when you got your initial driver’s license, the Class 3 road test will be used to evaluate your ability to maneuver the vehicle safely on the roads with traffic and ensure that you are following all rules and signs. For the pre-inspection, you are going to want to make sure that your equipment and load, if applicable, is secure. 

If you passed they will tell you to go back to the driving office, pay the license upgrade fee of $11.90 and fill out the paperwork to get your brand new Class 3 Nova Scotia Driver’s License.

https://youtu.be/ZaHdYDth-5E

Want to learn how to drive a big rig instead? Have a look at our guide for “How to Get a Class 1 License in Nova Scotia” for more information. 

Nova Scotia Air Brakes Practice Test

Contacts

Here are some important contacts that will assist you in getting your Class 3 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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Summary
A Class 3 License Nova Scotia Guide, Training, and Practice Tests
Article Name
A Class 3 License Nova Scotia Guide, Training, and Practice Tests
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Everything you need to know about getting your Class 3 license in Nova Scotia. A step by step guide and break down on training, courses and practice tests
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Commercial Driver HQ
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