Learn About CDL Endorsements

Getting a CDL, or commercial drivers license, requires a senior driver to add CDL endorsements in order to drive specific commercial vehicles. Driving a commercial vehicle is unlike a standard passenger vehicle, and CDL endorsements add extra qualifications to a CDL. You may need to add endorsements to your CDL after you pass the requirements to obtain a CDL in Classes A, B, or C, which will depend on the type of vehicle you plan to operate. Since not all commercial vehicles are operated the same, it is important to make sure that every senior driver is getting the right CDL endorsements information that pertains to the specific vehicle(s) he or she plans to drive. To do so, a senior driver first needs review a CDL endorsement list. Review more information on the types of CDL endorsements in the sections outlined below.

What are CDL endorsements for seniors?

Adding endorsements to your CDL authorizes you to operate vehicles like school buses, tank trucks, tractor trailers and passenger vehicles. When it comes to CDL license endorsement types, the endorsement will vary depending on the commercial vehicle you plan to drive. Not every endorsement is going to require the same testing process, so it is essential to have all of the CDL endorsement information that pertains to the vehicles you plan on operating.

Which CDL endorsements should I get as a senior citizen?

If you are planning to add endorsements to your CDL, it is essential to know which endorsements correlate with the vehicles you intend to drive. A CDL endorsement to operate a tank vehicle is not the same endorsement needed to drive a school bus, nor is an endorsement to operate a double- or triple-trailer the same as a passenger vehicle. There are several types of CDL endorsements, since not every commercial vehicle has the same driving function. Getting a CDL is a great responsibility, and requires several steps, and it is critical for senior drivers to take their time when deciding which endorsements to add to their CDL licenses.

All states must adhere to federal CDL license endorsements requirements, though each state has its own application process. States might also have additional codes for commercial endorsements, or even restrictions on CDLs.

Learn About CDL Endorsement Codes

Getting a CDL license requires choosing a commercial vehicle to drive from three groups: Group A (combination vehicles, like tank trucks and double or triple trailers) Group B (heavy, straight vehicles, like school buses and passenger buses) and Group C (smaller vehicles that carry hazardous materials.) Then, you can move on to finding the correlating CDL endorsement code so that you can accurately identify the right endorsement you need to drive commercially in you state.

The following general CDL endorsement list will tell a senior driver which endorsement can be added to his or her CDL in Class A, B or C:

  • Double- or triple-trailers (T)
  • Passenger (P)
  • Tank vehicles (N)
  • Hazardous materials (HAZMAT); any size (H)
  • Combination of tanks and hazardous materials, or HAZMAT (X)
  • School bus (S)

In some cases, a CDL endorsement roster might tell you that you need to add more than one endorsement to your CDL. For example, senior drivers who plan to add CDL license endorsement code S to their CDL will also need to add endorsement code P.

It is important to note from the above CDL endorsement list that only endorsement codes P, S, and N are allowed on any senior’s commercial learner permit. Restrictions for each of the three CDL endorsements apply, and are separate from each other.

Find Out About Tests for CDL Endorsements

Getting a CDL requires a higher level of experience, skills and knowledge than is needed to drive a non-commercial vehicle, and drivers who operate particular types of commercial vehicles must take additional CDL tests to gauge if they are qualified to operate those vehicles.

After a senior driver has established the types of CDL license endorsements he or she must add to a CDL, it is time to take and pass a knowledge test. But for some types of CDL endorsements, taking a knowledge test is not enough, and drivers will also be required to take a skills test, or, depending on the endorsement type, both.

Once a senior driver has passed the knowledge test to add CDL endorsements, he or she can then move forward and schedule the road skills test, if required. After a senior driver has earned a CDL endorsement by passing the required testing, the letter that represents the endorsement code(s) will be printed on the front of his or her CDL, and an endorsement type will be displayed on the back.

To add CDL endorsements, typically, the subsequent testing is required for each endorsement:

  • Knowledge test only: Endorsements T, N, H and X
  • Knowledge and skills tests: Endorsements P and S