How to Get a CDL in Ohio

Motor vehicles, such as tour buses, school buses, vehicles transporting hazardous materials tanker vehicles, and 18-wheeler trucks are usually operated by CDL holders. In the United States, the laws governing these licenses are regulated by the federal government. While driving commercial motor vehicles is a lucrative career, you will need to first obtain an Ohio commercial driver’s license(CDL). If you are an Ohio resident who wishes to start a commercial driving career, then read for tips on how to complete your CDL application.

Why Getting a CDL in Ohio is a Good Idea

If you were planning to pursue a career as a truck driver, it is important to note that the field has a high demand and that there are also many advantages. That said, here are some of the reasons to get your Ohio CDL today!

Team Truck Driving

Couples and friends can drive shifts in team trucks and make more money. Since switching places is all it takes to keep on trucking, you can accept longer drives and more hours as a partner!

Insurance Benefits

Whatever your line of work, insurance is necessary. You have options such as medical and dental insurance with a truck driving career. Additionally, you are also presented with other affordable options for life insurance.

Job Security

When choosing a career, job security is an important consideration. Truck driving jobs are highly sought after. Nearly 80,000 truck drivers are reportedly in short supply, and according to the ATA, demand will only increase over the next ten years. It also means that you will be paid more than many other jobs because you are in demand.

401K Retirement Savings Plans

A pension was once provided by many jobs but most jobs began switching to 401K plans in the 1980s. This is often offered by most trucking companies. When it’s time to unwind and take advantage of your retirement, you can make sure you have enough money to support yourself.

Excellent Pay

Most people aspire to have a successful career. The competitive pay in the trucking industry guarantees that you’ll not only make a good living but also accomplish much more with your career. An average truck driver makes $61,000 a year, or $1188 per week. Also, for the majority of jobs, compensation is either fixed or hourly but truckers are often compensated per mile.

The Requirements for Getting a CDL in Ohio

  • Driving within state lines(intrastate) has a minimum age requirement of 18 years.
  • To operate a commercial vehicle interstate and transport hazardous materials, you must be at least 21 years old.
  • Proof of your Social Security number.
  • Driving record check.
  • Proof of Ohio residency.
  • Valid Ohio driver’s license.
  • Show evidence of a passing score on the vision test.
  • Provide a valid medical certificate.
  • Prior to taking the CDL test, you must have a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) from Ohio.
  • Complete Entry-Level Driver Training.

A valid passport, Social Security Card, visa, I-94, DS2019, or I-20, are acceptable forms of identification for proving one’s legal presence.

Steps to Getting Your CDL in Ohio

If you need help obtaining a CDL in Ohio the following are a few steps you could follow; 

Select Your Preferred Vehicle Type

Operating large, heavy vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds, vehicles carrying at least 16 people, or vehicles transporting hazardous materials all require a CDL. Unless mandated by state law, a CDL is not needed to operate an agricultural or recreational vehicle. Current CDL classes include:

Class A: For combination vehicles whose gross combined weight rating is over 26,000 pounds and a towed vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more.

Class B: For single vehicles with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds, and a towed vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less.

Class C: Single vehicles that can only carry 16 passengers (including the driver) or hazardous materials that need placards and have a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,000 pounds.

Get the Commercial Learner’s Permit(CLP)

To practice driving a commercial motor vehicle on the road, you will require a commercial learner’s permit(CLP). The state dictates that any CDL applicant should be supervised by another individual who possesses an Ohio CDL in the same class they are applying for. You’ll also be required to pay for your CLP so make sure to confirm that before starting your application.

Obtain a Copy of the Ohio CDL Manual

The manual is a sure way of studying better for your knowledge tests. Many states, including Ohio, offer it either online or in the local office. The DMV might reword or make new questions as a tactic to make the test a little more challenging, so your best bet is to just read.  Alternatively, you can also study by doing practice tests online.

Complete a Written Test

Before sitting for your written knowledge test, you will be required to provide a DOT medical card which is often issued after a physical examination. It is usually mandatory to provide proof of a clean driving history as well as take a drug test before sitting for this test.

Complete a Road Skills Test

If you pass your written knowledge test, then you will be required to take an additional road skills test. At this stage, your commercial learner’s permits will be used. The main purpose of this test is to establish if you can properly operate a commercial motor vehicle.


The Ohio State imposes fees before issuing a CDL to any applicant. Either all fees must be paid at once or certain fees must be paid in installments. You can expect to pay $27 for your commercial learner’s permit. You can also expect to pay $28 for your CDL application fee and $42 to obtain your commercial driver’s license in Ohio.

How to Prepare for Your Test

Use a CDL Drivers Handbook

You have a wide variety of tools at your disposal to ensure your success on the exam for a commercial learner’s permit. A practice CDL exam is one of the best ways for aspiring truck drivers to assess their chances of passing before actually taking the real thing. Additionally, prospective drivers who buy a CDL driving manual might discover that this resource also gives them all the knowledge they require to pass the written test.

Join a CDL Training Program

A full-service commercial driver’s license program is another great idea for aspiring drivers to enroll in. These courses frequently offer free lifetime support from their CDL driving instructors to ensure that students can get their questions answered before sitting for the tests. 

Create Your dedicated Study Guide

Make your own CDL test study schedule that can be adhered to step by step to pass the written exam on your first attempt.

Review What You Are Unsure About

To make sure that you are not overlooking any crucial information, it may be beneficial to schedule additional study sessions if you find that you are struggling with a particular subject on your CDL driving exam.

Ohio CDL Disqualifications

To allow the operation of each category of commercial motor vehicle in Ohio, there are various commercial driver’s license (CDL) classes and endorsements for CMVs. Every license and endorsement has a unique set of conditions and is governed by different laws. CDL disqualification may result from breaking these driving laws. To that end, the following are some of the most common CDL disqualifications in Ohio.

Out-of-service Orders

A police officer has the authority to temporarily forbid operation by issuing an out-of-service order (OSO). A simple misdemeanor, driving in violation of the “out-of-service order” carries a range of punishments depending on the vehicle operated and the number of prior violations.

For the first, second, and third offenses in ten years following an OSO violation, a standard CMV will revoke a license for 180 days, two years, and three years respectively.

A 180-day suspension for a first offense and a three-year suspension for a subsequent offense will follow an OSO violation that takes place in a CMV intended to transport hazardous materials or 16 or more passengers.

Serious Traffic Violations

Multiple “serious traffic violations” within three years could result in the license being revoked for a commercial driver. A 60-day suspension is applied for two violations, and a 120-day suspension is applied for three or more infractions. Serious traffic infractions include exceeding the speed limit by 15 miles per hour or more, reckless driving, texting while driving, any infraction that results in a fatality as well as operating a CMV without the appropriate license and endorsement.

Major Offenses

If you are found guilty of one of the following “major offenses,” your CDL will be suspended for a year: fleeing an accident scene, refusing a chemical test, driving while intoxicated, doing so while operating a commercial motor vehicle, operating a CMV while your license is suspended, or using a vehicle to commit a crime. A three-year suspension applies if the infraction takes place in a vehicle intended for hazardous materials. Using a vehicle to distribute or produce controlled substances will result in a lifetime disqualification for any second or subsequent conviction for the aforementioned offenses.

Railroad Crossings

Before crossing railroad tracks, CMVs must either stop or slow down and make sure there is enough room to do so safely. For a first offense, license revocation is at least 60 days; for a second offense, it’s 120 days; and for a third or subsequent offense in three years, it’s one year.

Individuals Exempt From Ohio CDL

A driver who drives one of these kinds of vehicles would be exempt;

Farm Trucks

A farm truck operator is exempt from having a CDL in Ohio and the following also apply;

  • A tractor-trailer owned and operated by a farmer and is used to transport farm products to or from the farm over a maximum distance of 150 miles.
  • A farmer-controlled and operated truck is used to transport supplies to the farm over a maximum distance of 150 miles. These include tile, fence, and other items used for the farm’s operation.
  • As long as neither a private motor carrier nor a motor transportation company operates using the CMV.

Public Safety Vehicles

A vehicle that is employed to transport or render emergency medical assistance to sick or injured persons.

Vehicles Operated for Military Purposes

These vehicles may be operated by uniformed personnel of the United States armed forces, reserve components, or the Ohio National Guard.

Fire Equipment Transportation Trucks

CDL requirements do not apply to trucks that transport equipment used by fire departments, volunteer or non-volunteer fire companies, fire districts or joint fire districts.

Recreational Vehicles

Just those vehicles that Ohio Revised Code 4501.01 designates as recreational vehicles, and are often used exclusively for business gain.

Public Safety Vehicles

A vehicle that is employed to transport or render emergency medical assistance to sick or injured people.

How to Find a Job Driving Commercial Vehicles in Ohio

Finding a trucking job is not as difficult as many people believe. Nowadays, the internet allows you to easily find jobs that are posted on various boards and other platforms which you can painlessly search for and apply for. That said, below are a few ways to find your dream commercial truck-driving job in Ohio.


There are trucking-related online forums where you can look for jobs. People post jobs and discuss open positions on these boards, so you can look out for any job openings once you join such forums.

Company Sites

To learn more about the various positions that are currently open at a particular company you would like to work for, you can visit that website. You don’t always have to wait for job openings to be posted on job boards, social media platforms, etc. 


Online PPC and other paid advertisements are frequently used for open truck driving positions. You may occasionally find opportunities with companies looking for new workers to fill empty job openings in their organization.

Jobs Boards

If you want to drive interstate, you can find not only local jobs but also national jobs on different job boards. You can find a great job position within a very short amount of time by going to as many job boards as you can.

Search Engines

Another quick way to find locally available jobs in Ohio is by using your search engine. Be sure to use the right keywords if you want to quickly get results for commercial truck driver jobs.

Take Away

Your time and tenacity are the most crucial components in learning how to obtain a CDL license. It doesn’t matter if you want to get a class A, class B, or class C license each one of them comes with its perks. Once you get your CDL, use the above tips to easily find a trucking job in Ohio.