Montana CDL Requirements

Montana CDL Classes

      You must be at least 18 years old to operate a commercial motor vehicle within the state of Montana (intrastate) and at least 21 years of age to drive a commercial motor vehicle across Montana state lines (interstate). You must also be at least 21 years old to transport materials that are deemed hazardous and require a placard. You need a Montana CDL in order to operate either commercial or non-commercial motor vehicles that fall into the following categories:

Class A
      Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight rating of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds.  

Class B
      Any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 26,001 or more pounds, as well as any vehicle towing another vehicle that does not exceed a weight of 10,000 pounds. 

Class C
      Any vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the criteria of either Class A or Class B, but is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or is used in transporting materials classified as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. Each applicant must also have a passenger or hazardous materials endorsement in order to obtain a Class C commercial driver’s license. 

Applying for a Montana Commercial Learner’s Permit

      You must already possess a Montana commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before you can take the CDL Road Test. Before applying for a Montana commercial learner’s permit, you must already possess a valid Montana Class D driver’s license. You will be issued a Montana commercial driver’s license (CDL) when you pass both the written general knowledge test and the CDL Driving Test. 

      In order to obtain a Montana commercial learner’s permit, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old for intrastate driving (within the state of Montana).
  • Be at least 21 years of age for interstate driving (outside the state of Montana).
  • Be at least 21 years of age to transport materials deemed hazardous.
  • Possess a valid Montana Class D driver’s license.
  • Provide proof of identity.
  • Provide proof of your Social Security number (i.e., your Social Security card, payroll check stub, W-2 form, etc.).
  • Prove you are of legal U.S. status by providing the required documents .
  • Provide proof of your current Montana residency that shows your name and address (i.e., a utility bill, vehicle registration, insurance card, etc.).
  • Provide your current D.O.T. Medical Examiner’s Certificate and completed Medical Examination Report (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  • Provide your completed and signed CDL Self-Certification Classification and Medical Documentation Form.
  • Pass the CDL general knowledge written test. 
  • Pay any CDL written test fees (credit cards not accepted).
  • Pay any CDL application fee (credit cards not accepted).
  • Pay any fees due for the commercial learner’s permit (credit cards not accepted).

      If you have any questions about which documents to bring to your nearest Montana MVD Driver Exam Station when you apply for your commercial learner’s permit, you can either call your local Driver Exam Station, or you can call the Customer Service Center toll-free at (866) 450-8034. You can also call the CDL Help Desk at (406) 444-3244 and speak to a customer service representative, or you can send them an email at cdlhelpdesk@mt.gov.

The CDL Written Tests

      All commercial driver’s license applicants must pass the general knowledge written test in order to be eligible to receive a CDL. All CDL knowledge tests are administered in English and in written form. In order to receive a passing score, each applicant is required to answer at least 80% of the questions correctly. All written tests require a score of at least 80% to pass.

      Many of the Driver Exam Stations allow you to schedule an appointment for your written test using the MVD Morpho Trust USA Auto Test Scheduling System. If your nearest exam station does not allow online appointment scheduling, you can take the CDL written tests on a walk-in basis. 

      Driver Exam Stations tend to be busier in the afternoon so, walk-in applicants should plan accordingly. Please factor in what time the exam station closes when scheduling your appointment or arriving at the station on a walk-in basis, as the CDL written tests will take approximately sixty minutes or more to complete, based on the number of tests you plan on taking.

      Once you successfully pass the CDL written tests and pay the required fees, you will be issued a commercial learner’s permit. The commercial learner’s permit will be valid for up to six months from the date it is issued. If you do not successfully pass the CDL Driving Test and obtain your commercial driver’s license before your commercial learner’s permit expires, then you will be forced to repeat the entire process. 

      Be sure to download and study the Montana Commercial Driver License Manual as it contains the information you need to pass the CDL tests, including some sample test questions. For those applicants who are planning to take the School Bus Endorsement test, the Montana Commercial Driver License School Bus Endorsement Supplemental Manual is also available for download and study.

      Our Free CDL Practice Tests will help prepare you for the actual CDL knowledge tests administered by the DMV.

      The CDL written tests are administered at most Montana Driver Exam Stations.

Applying for a Montana Commercial Driver’s License

      In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the state of Montana, you must:

  • Possess a valid Montana commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
  • Possess a valid Montana Class D driver’s license.
  • Possess a current D.O.T. card (cannot be more than 2 years old).
  • Provide proof of vehicle insurance and vehicle registration (must be verified before you can take the test).
  • Provide a test vehicle of the same class as the CDL you are testing for (must display a valid inspection sticker).
  • Provide a passenger with a valid Montana CDL to ride with you in your test vehicle to the test location.
  • Pass the CDL Driving Test.
  • Pay any CDL Driving Test fees (credit cards not accepted).
  • Pay the fee for the commercial driver’s license (The CDL fee varies and is based on the applicant’s age and self-certification. Credit cards are not accepted.).

The CDL Driving Test

      The CDL Driving Test consists of a Pre-trip Inspection, a Basic Vehicle Controls Test, and an On-Road Driving Test, and must be taken in the same class and type of motor vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.  If you take the CDL Driving Test in a commercial motor vehicle that is not equipped with air brakes, then you will have an air brakes restriction attached to your commercial driver’s license. 

  • Pre-trip Inspection: Before you can take the CDL driving tests, you will first be tested on your knowledge of the class of vehicle you plan on driving once you obtain your CDL. The Pre-trip inspection also determines if your commercial vehicle is safe enough to drive on public roads.
  • Basic Controls Test: Before you can take the CDL Road Test, you will first need to prove that you have the skills to operate a commercial motor vehicle on public roads. This test consists of various off-road maneuvers such as backing up your vehicle. 
  • Road Skills Test: Once you pass the first two tests, you will be required to drive your commercial vehicle on public roads in various traffic situations. You will be required to operate the same class of commercial vehicle you plan to drive once you obtain your CDL.

      If you fail the Pre-Trip Inspection phase of the CDL Driving Test, you will still be permitted to move onto the Basic Controls and Road Skills portions of the CDL Driving Test but only if safety is not an issue.

      The Basic Controls Test will include the following maneuvers:

  • 90 degree alley docking
  • Straight line backing
  • Parallel parking

      The Road Skills Test will take at least 60 minutes to finish and will be administered on a route predetermined by the examiner. The test route may include the following:

  • Starting
  • Stopping
  • Braking
  • Turning
  • Observing traffic signs
  • Observing traffic signals
  • Observing other traffic
  • Using vehicle controls
  • Maintaining proper lane positions
  • Downgrades
  • Downgrade stopping
  • Upgrades
  • Upgrade stopping
  • Railroad crossings
  • Bridge clearance
  • Underpass clearance
  • General observance of traffic laws
  • General safe driving practices for trucks or buses

       If you fail the Road Skills phase of the CDL Driving Test, you will be required to wait at least seven days before you can test again. Be sure to download and study the Montana Commercial Driver License Manual as it contains pertinent information that will help you pass the CDL Driving Test. 

       For those applicants who are planning to take the School Bus Endorsement Driving Test, the Montana Commercial Driver License School Bus Endorsement Supplemental Manual is also available for download and study.

Scheduling Your Appointment for the CDL Driving Test

      Before you can schedule an appointment to take your CDL Driving Test, you must first do three things:

  • You must first pass the CDL knowledge tests and obtain your commercial learner’s permit. 
  • If you live in a rural location with driver exam services, you must first visit your nearest Montana County Treasurer Motor Vehicle Office and pay for the CDL license and receive a pre-paid receipt before scheduling an appointment with the Driver Exam Station
  • If you live in a rural county without driver exam services, such as Carter, Garfield, Golden Valley, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Madison, Petroleum, Prairie, Treasure, or Wibaux county, then you do not have to visit the County Treasurer MVO and receive a pre-paid receipt. You can pay for and take your CDL Driving Test at the Driver Exam Station.
  • Before you can schedule your CDL Driving Test at any of the Driver Exam Stations, you must first confirm that the exam station you plan to schedule your appointment with offers the CDL Driving Test for the class of CDL you wish to obtain.

      When you are ready to take your CDL Driving Test, you must first schedule an appointment with a local Driver Exam Station. The following driver exam stations will allow you to schedule your own appointment online (for most services) using the MVD Morpho Trust USA Auto Test Scheduling System:

  • Billings
  • Bozeman
  • Columbus
  • Eureka
  • Glendive
  • Great Falls
  • Hardin
  • Helena
  • Kalispell
  • Miles City
  • Missoula
  • Red Lodge
  • Sidney
  • Superior
  • Townsend

      If your local Driver Exam Station doesn’t allow online appointment scheduling, you can schedule your CDL Driving Test appointment by phone. To schedule a CLass A CDL Driving Test appointment by phone, call the Customer Service Center toll-free at (866) 450-8034. To schedule a Class B or Class C CDL Driving Test by phone, call the nearest Driver Exam Station that offers the CDL Driving Test for either class. Your appointment time must be no later than two hours before the exam station closes. Please be advised, you must arrive on time to your CDL Driving Test appointment.

      If for some reason, you are unable to make it to your CDL Driving Test appointment, you must cancel your appointment at least 24 hours in advance. If you fail to appear for your CDL Road test appointment or if you do not cancel your appointment at least 24 hours in advance, you may be required to pay a reappointment fee of $20 to reschedule a new appointment. 

      On the day of your CDL Driving Test appointment you must:

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Bring your commercial learner’s permit.
  3. Bring your valid D.O.T. medical card.
  4. Bring a passenger qualified to drive a CMV with the same class of CDL or greater than the test vehicle.
  5. Bring a test vehicle that is the same class of license that you are testing for and that has passed inspection.
  6. Bring the revenue needed to pay the necessary fees to obtain your commercial driver’s license.

      Failure to do any of the above will result in an immediate cancellation of your CDL Driving Test appointment! The Montana Motor Vehicles Division advises applicants to schedule their CDL Driving Test appointment a few weeks in advance. The Montana MVD has the right to cancel any CDL Driving Test appointment due to bad weather, under sourced staffing, or any other unforseen circumstances.

      Once you pass the CDL Driving Test and pay the required fees, you will obtain your commercial driver’s license. The commercial driver’s license will be valid for up to one to five years and cost anywhere from $26 to $50.50, based on the applicant’s age and self-certification status (intrastate or interstate) at the time of the transaction.

     Click here to see a map and clickable list of Montana Driver Exam Stations that offer the CDL Driving Test.

Commercial Driver Self-Certification

      In the state of Montana, all commercial driver’s license applicants must self-certify as to what type of driving they will be doing (intrastate or interstate), and if they have met all the FMCSA medical requirements. You can download and print a copy of the self-certification form here.

      The state of Montana has two types of certifications:

  1. Type 1 Certification – The driver is permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce (outside the state of Montana) for a yearly fee of $10 plus a 50-cent fee to cover the cost of mailing the license renewal number.
  2. Type 2 Certification – The driver is permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle in intrastate commerce (within the state of Montana) for a yearly fee of $8.50 plus a 50-cent fee to cover the cot of mailing the license renewal number.

      For more details on how to self-certify in the state of Montana, call the CDL Help Desk at (406) 444-3244 and speak to a customer service representative or send them an email at cdlhelpdesk@mt.gov.  

Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver’s License

      In order to apply for a commercial driver’s license, you must have the Medical Examiner’s Certificate and the Medical Examination Report completed by one of the following:

  • Licensed U.S. doctor of medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O)
  • Licensed physician assistant (P.A.)
  • Advanced practice registered nurse
  • Chiropractor

      The Medical Examiner’s Certificate must be dated within the previous two years and attached to the Medical Examination Report. The Montana Motor Vehicles Division will only accept your medical forms if they have been completed by a qualified physician who has been certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can search for a FMCSA certified physician by using the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

      The FMSCA requires you to have at least 20/40 vision in each eye and a field of vision of at least 140 degrees in order to be certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Under certain conditions, you may be able to be waived from these and other medical requirements.     

      Once you have completed and signed the CDL Self-Certification Classification and Medical Documentation Form, the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, the Medical Examination Report, and any applicable medical waivers, you can submit your documents by doing any of the following:

  • Fax your completed and signed documents to (406) 444-1987.
  • Mail your completed and signed documents to:

                              Motor Vehicle Division
                              Attn: CDL Help Desk
                              P.O. Box 201430
                              Helena MT 59620-1430                     

      Be sure to double check and, if needed, correct your information before you submit your documents. If you have any questions regarding self-certification, you can call the CDL Help Desk at (406) 444-3244 and speak to a customer service representative or send them an email at cdlhelpdesk@mt.gov.             

Hazmat Endorsement

      Any person that is applying for a Hazardous Materials CDL endorsement is required to undergo a federal background check and federal fingerprint check according to guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration. All applicants must also provide the required documents to verify their identification and legal U.S. status. For more information, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s F.A.Q. page.

      You can apply for the security threat assessment on the TSA Hazardous Material Endorsement Enrollment Website. You must begin applying at least 30 days before the expiration of your CDL. You can start the application process on the HTAP Online Application Website. To apply by phone call (855) 347-8371. Use the TSA Enrollment Center Locator to find the nearest TSA approved fingerprint office.

Military Drivers

      In the state of Montana, if you are currently serving in the military or have been honorably discharged within the last 90 days, and you have driven military vehicles that would require a CDL to operate as a civilian with a 2 year safe driving record, then you may qualify for the waiver of the CDL Skills Test and may be exempt from taking the commercial driver skills test. You will still be required to take the written tests. Certain restrictions apply. Download, print, and complete the Application for Military CDL Skills Test Waiver to start the process. 

      If you have any questions about the Military Skills Test Waiver, you can either call your local Driver Exam Station, or you can call the Customer Service Center toll-free at (866) 450-8034. You can also call the CDL Help Desk at (406) 444-3244 and speak to a customer service representative, or you can send them an email at cdlhelpdesk@mt.gov.

Montana CDL Endorsements

      H      Placarded Hazmat      Required to transport hazardous materials under DOT regulations. 

      N      Tank Vehicles      Required to transport liquids in bulk containers of 1,000 gallons or more.

      X      Tanker/Hazardous Materials Combination   Required to transport hazardous materials in tank vehicles   

      T      Double/Triple Trailers      Indicates CDL holder is certified to operate multiple trailer haulers. 

      P     Passengers      Indicates the CDL holder is certified to operate passenger vehicles.

      S     School Bus      Indicates the CDL holder is authorized to operate a school bus. The “P” endorsement is also required.

Important Montana Commercial Driver’s License Resources 

MVD Morpho Trust USA Auto Test Scheduling System
Montana Commercial Driver License Manual
Montana CDL School Bus Endorsement Supplemental Manual
Montana CDL Practice Tests
Mail Renewal Application for Commercial Driver License
Application for Military Skills Test Waiver
Report of Eye Examination Form 3
CDL Self-Certification Classification and Medical Documentation Form
Medical Examination Report Form 649-F
Medical Examiner’s Certificate
National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

 

      Check out our list of truck driving schools in Montana that will provide you with the necessary skills to obtain your commercial driver’s license and start your career in the exciting field of commercial truck driving! You may also want to check out our nationwide list of truck driving schools. 

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Map of Montana County Treasurer Motor Vehicle Offices 

 

Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information.

 

Map of Montana CDL Test Locations

 

**The CDL Skills Test is available at this location.

(PPR) – This Driver Exam Location requires the applicant to provide a pre-paid receipt from the Montana County Treasurer MVO before the CDL Driving Test can be administered.

Some CDL testing locations require you to set up an appointment. CDL testing hours may vary. Please call the testing location for more information.

 

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Montana CDL Requirements
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