Requirements to get your CDL

What are some National and State level regulations?

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Before you can enroll in Swift Academy – or any CDL training program – there are specific CDL requirements that students and licensed drivers must meet. In addition, there are several disqualifications that would prevent someone from earning their commercial driver's license. 

On the national level, requirements for a CDL include:

  • Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP), which you must have for at least 14 days prior to earning your Class A CDL
  • Valid Department of Transportation medical card (which requires you to pass a DOT physical and urine test)
  • Valid, non-commercial driver’s license and be at least 18 years old – or be 21 years old to drive a commercial motor vehicle across state lines or drive a commercial motor vehicle that contains hazardous materials (At Swift Academy, we require our drivers to be at least 21 years of age)
  • Proof of US citizenship or lawful permanent residency, which may include a birth certificate or green card, a Social Security card or proof of the number
  • The ability to pass all applicable background screens
  • Providing the names of all states where you have been licensed to drive any type of motor vehicle during the previous 10 years
  • Having no active driver’s license suspensions or revocations in any state
  • Certifying that you are not subject to any disqualification under FMCSA 383.51 or any license disqualification under state law. In addition, you must confirm that you do not have a driver’s license from more than one state or jurisdiction
  • Being able to speak, read and write English
  • Receiving a passing score of your written and road tests for your CDL

In addition, CDL license requirements mandate that you must surrender your regular state driver license once you earn a CDL.

Along with the national commercial driver's license requirements put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), every state has their own list of guidelines. To review CDL requirements by state, visit to find your state's Department of Transportation.


CDL Disqualifications

Along with FMCSA's commercial driver's license requirements, the agency also lists several disqualifications that would prevent someone from being allowed to earn their CDL – either for a period of time or a lifetime. Just a few of the disqualifications include being convicted of:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol as prescribed by state law
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance as prescribed by state law
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Speeding excessively, involving any speed of 15mph or more above the regulated or posted speed limit
  • Driving recklessly, as defined by state or local law or regulations

For a complete list of CDL disqualifications, visit and

If you're applying for Swift Academy CDL training and aren't sure if you meet the requirements, call us at 888-871-3537.