Arkansas CDL License Requirements
Arkansas is home to miles of scenic agricultural, rural, and forested lands. Through the farmlands of the Delta, to the rolling Ozarks drivers and passengers are witness to some of America's finest views. The state is also part of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, which follows the Mississippi River through 10 states and 3000 miles. While in past years, the state's "district approach" to roadways made becoming a truck driver in Arkansas a little more challenging than average, today the state is busy adding more interstate highways to streamline and modernize road infrastructure, and connect small communities through the Delta region and in the southern part of the state and through counties like Ashley, Calhoun, and Hempstead.
What CDL Licenses are Available in Arkansas?
Arkansas is part of the nationwide database for CDL operations. Known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the state produces and approves training documents and testing centers to assist drivers who want to take their commercial driver's license and endorsements. By and large, Arkansas follows the rest of the country in their state regulations and enforcement.
CDL Class A
This license class pertains to all combination vehicles that have a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds when the hind portion weighs more than 10,000 pounds. Generally this is the license class held by tractor-trailer drivers. With an A Class license, drivers can also use Class B, C, or D vehicles unless restrictions apply.
CDL Class B
This license class pertains to all single vehicles that have a total weight of 26,000 pounds or more, or all combination vehicles where the hind portion weighs less than 10,000 pounds. Class B drivers often operate cube vans, delivery trucks, and cement trucks. With a B Class license, users can also drive Class C or D vehicles unless restrictions apply.
CDL Class C
The final commercial license class pertains to all vehicles that don't fit the scope of the other two classes, and that transport 15 or more passengers plus driver, and vehicles which transport hazardous waste, a toxin or select agent. Regulations for the latter are explained in 49 USC 5103 or 42 CFR Part 73. Drivers with a Class C CDL can also drive Class D vehicles unless additional restrictions apply.
The vehicle's actual weight will be used to determine the appropriate license classification and if a violation has occurred.
Class D license
A Class D license is issued by the state of Arkansas for personal use and in a non-commercial or agricultural vehicle. In order to become a truck driver in Arkansas, applicants must have a Class D license in good standing.
CDL Eligibility in Arkansas
Since a nationwide overhaul of legislation and practice in the 1980s, there have been important changes in how to get your CDL.
License and Permits
- To get started on your CDL, applicants must show proof that they've held a Class D license for 1 year or more.
- Military personnel and veterans may be eligible to have parts of the process waived. It's best to inquire about the documentation your CDL office requires to support this type of application.
- Intrastate (within Arkansas) CDL truckers may be age 18 or older, whereas interstate (nationwide) CDL truckers must be 21 years of age or older.
Proof of Residence
Proof of domicile is an important part of the CDL application. At every stage of the application you will be required to produce original, legible documentation that supports your address within the state.
CDL Requirements for Arkansas Residents
- Current Class D driver's license in good standing
- Social Security card
- Proof of financial responsibility via insurance
Arkansas CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers
Ensuring that out-of-state residents are processed properly is an important part of the domicile regulations. Applicants may be asked for some of the following documentation to meet transfer regulations:
- State ID card (in lieu of driver's license)
- State Class D license
- U.S. birth certificate
- U.S. passport
Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Arkansas CDL
In order to earn their CDL, non-U.S. citizens must have clear records of permanent domicile in Arkansas. In addition to this set of documents, there must be a clear set of documentation that supports their legal presence in the U.S. Applicants are advised to bring all the supporting documentation that they have available in order to fulfill the requirements at the CDL office. This may include:
- Citizenship documents
- Naturalization documents
- Resident alien documentation
- Birth documentation from country of origin
- Immigration documents
Do I Need a CDL?
Members of the military or military veterans might have slightly different CDL application procedures based on their qualifications. Be sure to provide all documentation that will support your claim for fast-tracking the process.
Medical and Physical CDL Requirements
- All CDL drivers must schedule a physical examination at the start of their application. Successful examination results in a Federal Medical Card.
- After this point, CDL drivers are responsible for completing their Medical Self-Certification Affidavit online or in person at appropriate intervals or risk CDL suspension.
Background Check for CDL Applicants
Every Arkansas CDL driver who is required to transport or who wishes to transport hazardous materials is subject to a TSA background check. Without a valid check, the driver cannot perform this type of work. The TSA background check varies slightly between jurisdictions and therefore candidates should be prepared to inquire through the CDL office.
CDL Testing in Arkansas
CDL applicants have a minimum of one knowledge test and one road-skills test in order to receive their commercial license.
Like other states, Arkansas has many offices and accredited third party CDL trainers and evaluators to manage the influx of applicants in cities like Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fayetteville, and Springdale. When you arrive at the CDL testing site most convenient to you, be sure that you bring appropriate payment, medical certifications and affidavits, and arrive in the type of vehicle you wish to be tested on.
CDL Knowledge Tests
Arkansas CDL drivers are all tested for general knowledge, and may also be tested for the following endorsements (extra skills):
- General Knowledge (for all)
- Passenger Transport test (for bus drivers)
- Air brakes
- Combination vehicles
- Hazardous materials
CDL Skills Tests
Having successfully completed the knowledge test(s), Arkansas candidates are eligible to schedule and complete the road-skills portion of the CDL. Most states' practical tests are comprised of 3 basic parts:
- Vehicle Inspection
- Basic Vehicle Control and Operation
- Road test
Arkansas CDL Office Locations
The following offices offer CDL testing. Please ensure that when you arrive for your scheduled test, you have payment in hand, and that your testing vehicle is ready.
- Arkansas State Police Headquarters, Troop A
#1 State Police Plaza Drive
Little Rock, AR 72209
- Saline County Courthouse Annex
1605 Edison Avenue
Benton, AR 72015
- England City Hall
101 Allis Street
England, AR 72046
- Lonoke Community Center
1355 West Front Street
Lonoke, AR 72086
- Old State Revenue Office
116 North 1st Street
Cabot, AR 72023
- Faulkner County Public Library
1900 Tyler Street
Conway, AR 72032
For more information regarding testing times and date availability please see https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/TroopA.pdf. PLEASE NOTE - All skills tests are via appointment only and can be made by calling 501-618-8257.
- Arkansas State Police Drivers Testing Center
3720 Comet Drive
Newport, AR 72112
- Carmichael Center
801 South Elm Street
Searcy, AR 72143
- Independence County Library
393 East College Street
Batesville, AR 72501
- Claude Dill Center
2319 Highway 110 West
Heber Springs, AR 72543
- Arkansas State Police Drivers Testing Center
1009 West Main Street
Walnut Ridge, AR 72476
- Sharp County Courthouse
716 Ash Flat Drive
Ash Flat, AR 72513
For more information regarding testing times and date availability please see https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/TroopB.pdf. PLEASE NOTE - All skills tests are via appointment only and can be made by calling 870-523-4849.
- Arkansas State Police Headquarters
2700 West Main Street
Clarksville, AR 72830
- Hughes Center
100 East Parkway
Russellville, AR 72801
- Dardanelle City Hall
120 North Front Street
Dardanelle, AR 72834
- Yell County Jail
201 East 5th Street
Danville, AR 72833
- Perryville City Hall
613 North Fourche Avenue
Perryville, AR 72126
- Morrilton Police Department
212 North Moose Street
Morrilton, AR 72110
- Van Buren County Senior Adult Center
311 Yellow Jacket Lane
Clinton, AR 72031
For more information regarding testing times and date availability please see https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/TroopJ.pdf. PLEASE NOTE - All skills tests are via appointment only and can be made by calling 479-754-3096.
- Arkansas State Police Headquarters
2501 North Hazel
Hope, AR 71801
- Arkansas Work Force
Harvey Couch Business Park
104 Harvey Couch Boulevard
Magnolia, AR 7753
- Nashville District Court / Municipal Building
426 North Main Street
Nashville, AR 71852
- Stamps City Hall
207 East Antigo Street
Stamps, AR 71860
- Little River County Courthouse
West Entrance - Small Coutroom
351 North 2nd Street
Ashdown, AR 71822
- Arkansas State Police Texarkana Substation
305 East 6th Street
Texarkana, AR 71854
- Nevada County Revenue Office
145 East 2nd Street North
Prescott, AR 71857
- De Queen City Hall
220 North 2nd Street
De Queen, AR 71832
- CDL Skills Test Site
Highway 278 West @ Highway 32 East
Hope, AR 71801
For more information regarding testing times and date availability please see https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/TroopG.pdf. PLEASE NOTE - All skills tests are via appointment only and can be made by calling 870-777-4641.
- Arkansas State Police Driver Testing Center
912 West 6th Street, Suite C
Pine Bluff, AR 71601
- Stuttgart City Hall
304 South Maple Street
Stuttgart, AR 72160
- McGehee City Hall
901 Holly Street
McGehee, AR 71654
- DeWitt City Hall
120 Court Square
DeWitt, AR 72042
- Southeast Arkansas Law Enforcement Center
603 Highway 65 North
Dumas, AR 71639
- Star City Hall
200 South Jefferson Street
Star City, AR 71667
For more information regarding testing times and date availability please see https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/TroopE.pdf. PLEASE NOTE - All skills tests are via appointment only and can be made by calling 870-534-0220.
Benton / Washington County
- Arkansas State Police Drivers Training Center
5084 Har-Ber Avenue
Springdale, AR 72762
- Eureka Springs Police Department
147 Passion Play Road
Eureka Springs, AR 72632
- Carroll Electric Building (East Door)
5056 Highway 412B
Huntsville, AR 72740
- Gentry Public Library
105 East Main Street
Gentry, AR 72734
For more information regarding testing times and date availability please see https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/TroopL.pdf. PLEASE NOTE - All skills tests are via appointment only and can be made by calling 479-751-1141.
Arkansas CDL Endorsements
Extra qualifications, known as endorsements, show employers that you have the documented skills to operate rigs in special conditions. Extra testing is required if you wish to drive a:
- School Bus
- Hazardous Materials
- Multiple trailers
Arkansas CDL Disqualifications
State and federal agencies are very clear about the list of rules that can result in suspension or revocation of your CDL. Violating any of the following rules while in a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means you'll be without your license from 24 hours to a lifetime. Disqualifications include:
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Committing a felony behind the wheel
- Blood alcohol above 0.04% behind the wheel
- Blood alcohol under 0.04% but under the influence behaviour
- Refusal of roadside alcohol testing
- Under the influence of a controlled substance
- Driving a CMV while under CDL suspension
- Driving a CMV in a negligent manner
- Reckless driving or speeding more than 15 mph
- Driving a CMV without a CDL
- Breaking railroad crossing laws and crossing approach laws (varies on class of vehicle and conditions)
- Are in the U.S. illegally
- Are wanted for a felony crime
- Have criminal convictions that are unresolved
- Failed the TSA's risk screening
- Having traffic violations on Class D vehicles (not including parking tickets)
- Possessing/applying for multiple CDLs
- Failing to wear a safety belt at all times while driving
Please also bear in mind the following:
- As new precedents are set, CDL regulations are subject to updates. Please check with Arkansas' CDL offices directly
- If you are transporting passengers or placarded materials, fines increase
- Fines and suspensions increase with multiple offences
Arkansas CDL Salary and Employment
Throughout the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that the job outlook for truckers is growing faster than national averages. It's a great time to become a truck driver! The BLS data is sorted into heavy, light, and passenger vehicles for clarity:
Arkansas CDL drivers make about $33,000 per year, although senior employees, those with excellent driving records, and those with several endorsements make about $57,000 per year. The heavy trucking industry, which moves cargo, fuel and livestock from state to state, is expected to grow by 10% or faster than national figures.
Earning about $24,000 per year, Arkansas intrastate drivers can earn as much as about $57,000 at the peak of their career. Generally, these individuals drive cube vans, construction delivery vehicles and also make commercial deliveries. The industry is poised to grow by 4% over the next decade, that is, slightly faster than national averages.
In the state of Arkansas, passenger vehicle and school bus drivers make about $18,500 annually. Senior employees with excellent driving records can earn up to $35,000 per year. With a growth rate of 3%, approximately 100 jobs for bus and passenger vehicle drivers will open up annually over the forecasted time period.
Resources for Arkansas CDL Requirements
Learn more about Arkansas trucking schools.
Truck Driver Salary in Arkansas
|Location||25th Percentile||75th Percentile||Annual Salary|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK||$28,090||$38,990||$33,490|
|Hot Springs, AR||$21,440||$29,260||$24,930|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR||$30,670||$45,830||$38,640|
|Pine Bluff, AR||$28,250||$40,330||$33,420|
Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)