How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL Licence in Florida
How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL Licence in Florida?

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL Licence in Florida?

How long does it take to get a CDL licence in Florida? Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in Florida is a process that involves several steps, including passing knowledge and skills tests, and adhering to specific medical and training requirements.

The timeline to acquire a CDL can vary significantly, depending on various factors such as the type of CDL license being pursued (Class A, B, or C), the individual’s readiness for the tests, and the completion of required training programs.

The Process to Obtain a CDL in Florida

  • Preparation and Initial Steps: All applicants must first have an Operator’s License and meet the vision requirements. Knowledge tests are available in multiple languages and cover general knowledge, combination vehicles, air brakes (if applicable), and any desired endorsements. Skills tests include pre-trip vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and an on-road test​​.
  • Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP): Before obtaining a CDL, applicants need to receive a Commercial Driver’s License, which requires passing appropriate general knowledge and endorsement exams, a vision test, and submitting documentation like proof of Social Security number and a DOT medical card. A CLP allows the holder to practice driving under the supervision of a valid CDL holder​​.
  • Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT): As of February 7, 2022, applicants seeking to obtain a Class A or B CDL for the first time, upgrade from Class B to Class A, or obtain certain endorsements, must complete ELDT. This training must be finished before taking the skills test, although Florida allows scheduling of the CDL skills test prior to completing ELDT​​​​.
  • Skills Test: After holding the CLP for at least 14 days and completing ELDT, applicants can schedule their road test, which includes vehicle inspection, basic vehicle controls, and an on-road test covering various traffic scenarios​​.
  • Final Steps: Upon passing the road test, applicants submit the necessary documents, pay the CDL fee, and receive their CDL, allowing them to drive commercial vehicles within the license class​​.
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Timeline Considerations

The timeline to obtain a CDL in Florida can range from about 5.5 months to a year. This variance accounts for the duration the CLP is valid (6 months) and the time needed to complete training and pass the road test​​. Other factors that can affect this timeline include scheduling for tests and courses, personal study and practice time, and any additional requirements for specific endorsements or classes of CDL.

Medical and Disqualification Concerns

Applicants must pass hearing and vision tests and meet specific medical criteria, such as a blood pressure limit of 140/90 and a comprehensive urinalysis. Physical impairments may require a variance, and certain medications could disqualify an applicant. Serious traffic violations, DUI/DWI convictions, or leaving the scene of an accident can also disqualify an individual from obtaining a CDL​​​​.

Military and Out-of-State Licensees

Florida recognizes out-of-state CDLs but requires a hazmat endorsement test for those endorsements. Military personnel can apply for a skills test waiver if they have comparable vehicle operating experience within the military​​.

Conclusion

Earning a CDL in Florida is a detailed process that ensures only qualified individuals are licensed to operate commercial vehicles. By understanding and completing each step carefully, applicants can navigate the process successfully, although the time required can vary widely based on individual circumstances and readiness.

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