Georgia CDL Requirements

Georgia was both the last and the southern-most of the colonies of what was British North America. It's been at the forefront of American history, named after George II, the father of George III under whom the colonists would eventually declare independence. It was also the last of the Confederate states to be readmitted to the USA in 1870. Today, it's a relatively wealthy state and would be the 28th richest country in the world if it was independent. It's surrounded by Florida (to its south), South Carolina (to the north-east - the south-east area of Georgia is coastal), and Tennessee and North Carolina are to the north. There are mountains to the north and coastal plain to the south with everything in between consisting of The Piedmont - a plateau that descends towards the state's southern lowlands. The climate is humid and subtropical with average temperatures varying between the warmer lowlands of the south and the cooler uplands in the north. Surely, the climate and atmosphere make for beautiful scenery for those becoming a truck driver in Georgia.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in Georgia?

To drive a truck in the state of Georgia, applicants must first pass a series of tests for a relevant CDL license. The three classes for the state are as follows; all applicants must pass relevant tests for the granting of a license.

Class A

Class A CDL applies to vehicles with a weight at 26,001lbs or above. With a Class A, you are licensed to pull trailers 10,000lb or above.

Class B

Class B CDL licenses apply to vehicles with a weight at 26,001lbs or above. With a Class B, you may pull a trailer but the weight must be under 10,000lb.

Class C

Class C CDL licenses are for vehicles under 26,001lbs. These are relevant for drivers of hazmat vehicles and those for carrying 16 or more passengers

Class D

In order to apply for a Class A-C license, candidates for a CDL in Georgia are required to have the standard Class D license for no less than two years.

As a Georgia resident, you will be required to pass tests and receive authorization to drive other vehicle types requiring extra endorsement.

CDL Eligibility in Georgia

Federal laws regarding licensing apply in Georgia, but the state government is also permitted to set standards over and above what is federally required. These standards are subject to regular review based on the safety needs of state residents and efficiency of the haulage industry. All CDL applicants are required to submit for examination and a series of medical checks before licensing commences.

License and Permits

  • All applicants must be in possession of a driver's license in good standing for a minimum two-year period for consideration for a CDL license in Georgia
  • All applicants must submit to health checks to ascertain suitability and health levels required for a CDL license in Georgia
  • While applicants are not obligated to partake in any CDL education course, you may be advised to do so in some cases such as where you require special endorsements
  • All applicants are required to pass a driving skills test after passing a written exam for eligibility of a CDL license in Georgia

Age

  • Applicants must be 18 years or over to apply for a CDL in Georgia
  • However, those in the 18-21-year-old age range may only drive in the state of Georgia
  • To drive out of state, applicants must be 21 years or older

Proof of Residence of Georgia

  • Applicants should provide current and valid ID proving both residence and eligibility
  • Applicants should also provide their Social Security Number card

CDL Requirements for Georgia Residents

  • Your driver's license should have been issued in the state of Georgia
  • Your Social Security Number Card
  • You will be required to provide proof of insurance
  • Depending on endorsements, the state of Georgia may subject applicants to TSA and other security for the transportation of hazardous materials

Georgia CDL Requirements for Out-of-State Residents and Transfers

Georgia is permitted to set regulations and parameters for applicants from outside of Georgia. Individuals transferring to Georgia from elsewhere in the US must apply for a Georgia driver's license and surrender their previous state's license:

  • Your out-of-state CDL license must be current and valid. If expired, the period since expiration must not have exceeded two years
  • You may be required to provide proof of US citizenship in the form of a birth certificate or passport
  • You must prove Georgia residency
  • A Social Security Number card and/or W-2 form
  • You will be required to pass a vision exam and provide any existing medical certification or medical waivers where appropriate

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Georgia CDL

Those with a right to reside in the USA but are not citizens require further checks and the presentation of extra documentation in their application. Permanent residents are permitted to apply for a CDL but will require the following:

  • A valid Permanent Resident Card - originals only; it is advisable to bring any official paperwork affirming your right to reside in the USA
  • Valid legal identification over and above immigration documents are also required. Further details are on the Georgia Department of Driver Services website. Details in the resource list below
  • Proof of your address in Georgia and right to reside
  • An international driver's license if you hold one - in many cases, this will be returned. CDL application may require permanent surrender of such licenses
  • Further documentation that could support your application

Do I Need a CDL?

Georgia and many other states offer a fast-track program for honorably discharged military personnel. Known as ‘Troops to Trucks', it waives the driving test section of the CDL application process in the state of Georgia. If your discharge has been processed in the last 90 days or you are about to be discharged you are eligible for the program in Georgia. You will receive a waiver for the driving skills test but must complete the written test. You should have no motoring offences to include DUI for alcohol and drugs. Speeding or leaving the scene of an accident may make you ineligible as will conviction of any felony involving a motor vehicle. Discharged or discharging military personnel who can drive heavy military vehicles and have a minimum period two-years of a safe record may apply for further waivers.

Other waivers may apply:

  • People certified for small volume carrying hazmat vehicles
  • Any person instructed to drive a CMV in an emergency situation by a relevant peace officer
  • Motorhome drivers and others for recreational use
  • Farm vehicle drivers operating farm machinery not more than 150-miles from their farm workplace
  • Plow and other snow-clearing vehicles during an emergency clearing
  • Emergency vehicle operators (military and firefighting equipment)

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Georgia CDL applicants must pass a medical examination determining their fitness
  • Once cleared, you will receive two documents: A Medical Examiner's Certificate and a Medical Examination Report Form
  • You are required to submit these forms to the Georgia DDS. You may do so by mail, fax or by the web form
  • Georgia DDS strongly recommends you keep a copy of the form so web submission and fax are preferred
  • There are two categories - the intrastate (where your cargo remains in state) and interstate (where you will transport out of state)
  • Federal Medical Card (for driving out of state) is issued once the documents are received, authenticated and processed
  • Applicants who fail to pass the medical tests are able to apply for restrictions
  • The employer will pay the medical costs in most cases; enquiries should go through the employer

Background Check for CDL Applicants

The state of Georgia will require applicants to submit to TSA screening. Those seeking a hazmat endorsement on their CDL will undergo further checks such as fingerprint checking at an authorized location. You will also be expected to prove your right to reside in the USA. Only US citizens and permanent residents may drive hazardous material vehicles.

CDL Testing in Georgia

CDL applicants with a few exceptions such as the military waiver discussed above will be required to pass a driver's test and a knowledge test.

CDL Knowledge Test

The road knowledge test section of the CDL process comprises 50 general knowledge questions. If the candidate seeks extra endorsements, he or she will be expected to answer an additional 20 questions relating to their endorsement. Depending on the CDL class you seek, you may find extra questions such as those that test your knowledge of air brakes and passenger vehicle details.

CDL Road Skills Tests

You must pass all sections of the knowledge test before being permitted onto the road.

  • The examiner will ensure the roadworthy status of the vehicle prior to the driving test
  • You will then be expected to demonstrate control of the vehicle and your ability to make control adjustments to mirrors and the seating
  • Then the examiner will begin the road test in which the applicant is graded on genuine road conditions and reactions to them

Georgia CDL Office Locations

Some states license the testing to third parties but some are state operated. Georgia operates a mix. Here is a list of the government test centers:

  • DDS CSC #6
    1010 Aviation Blvd.
    Gainesville, GA 30501
    (678) 413 8400
  • DDS CSC #88
    (All Classes)
    149 Riverview Park Road
    Jackson, GA 30233
    (678) 413-8400
  • DDS CSC #33
    (All Classes)
    200 Carl Vinson Road
    Milledgeville, GA 31061
    (678) 413-8400
  • DDS CSC #40
    (All Classes)
    2062 Newton Road
    Albany, GA 31701
    (678) 413-8400
  • DDS CSC #25
    (All Classes)
    172 Bob Kirk Road
    Thomson, GA 30824
    (678) 413 8400
  • DDS CSC #5
    (All Classes)
    235 Wagner Drive
    Dalton, GA 30720
    (678) 413-8400
  • DDS CSC #23
    (All Classes)
    134 Jack Hartman Blvd.
    Brunswick, GA 31524
    (678) 413-8400
  • DDS CSC #65
    (All Classes)
    1010 Heritage Parkway
    Monroe, GA 30655
    (678) 413-8400
  • DDS CSC #37
    (Class B & Class C only)
    400 Aquatic Circle
    Cumming, GA 30040
    (678) 413-8400

Here is a list of third-party testing centers:

  • Albany Tech
    (Class A-TT, B/C Truck &School Bus)
    2027 Newton Drive Albany, GA 31701
    (229) 430-1732
  • Coastal Pines Technical College
    (Class A-TT, B/C Truck & School Bus)
    1334 Golden Isle West
    Baxley, GA 31515
    (912) 367-1719
  • Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GPTC)
    (Class A/TT, B/ST, & B/C-SB, BB)
    6720 Marbut Road
    Lithonia, GA 30058
    (678) 526-7384
  • Southern Crescent Tech
    (Class A-TT, B/C Truck & School Bus)
    1533 GA Hwy 19 South
    Thomaston, GA 30286
    (706) 646-6272
  • Oconee Fall Line Tech
    (Class A-TT, B/C Truck & B/C School Bus)
    560 Pinehill Rd
    Dublin, GA 31021
    (478) 274-7851
  • Central Georgia Tech
    (All Classes)
    80 Cohen Walker Dr
    Warner Robbins, GA 31088
    (478) 988-6800
  • Southern Regional Tech
    (Class A-TT & B/C Truck)
    52 Tech Dr.
    Tifton, GA 31794
    (229) 391-2600
  • Oconee Fall Line Tech
    (All Classes)
    1678 Kaolin Rd
    Sandersville, GA 31082
    (478) 553-2408
  • Chattahoochee Technical College
    5198 Ross Road
    Acworth, GA 39192
    (770) 529-2357
  • South Georgia Tech
    (All Classes)
    900 South GA Tech Pkwy
    Americus, GA 31709
    (229) 931-2976
  • Wiregrass Technical College
    (Class A-TT, B/C Truck & B/C School Bus)
    4089 Val-Tech Rd
    Valdosta, GA 31601
    (229) 333-2116
  • North Georgia Tech
    (All Classes)
    1500 Hwy. 197N
    Clarkesville, GA 30523
    (706)754-7733
  • Bainbridge College
    (All Classes)
    2500 East Shotwell Street
    Bainbridge, GA 31717
    (229)416-7254
  • Georgia Northwestern Tech
    (A/TT, B/ST)
    265 Bicentennial Trial
    Rock Springs, GA 30739
    (706) 764-3591
  • Wiregrass Technical College
    (All Classes)
    1655 Kellogg Drive
    Douglas, GA 31533
    (912) 383-0339
  • Southern Crescent Tech
    (All Classes)
    1578 Hwy. 16 West
    Jackson, GA 30233
    (770) 229-3218
  • Savannah Tech
    (All Classes)
    2890 Hwy 21 S
    Rincon, GA 31326
    (912) 754-2880

The Georgia Department of Driver Services has further details: https://dds.georgia.gov/

Georgia CDL Endorsements

The state of Georgia provides testing and licensing for the following endorsements:

  • Vehicles for hire (C)
  • Passenger vehicles for 16+ persons (P)
  • Double and triple trailers (T)
  • Tankers and hazmat vehicles unqualified for permits (X)
  • Tankers and hazmat haulage unqualified for permits (H)
  • School buses (S)
  • Tanker vehicles (N)

Holders of any class of CDL license are subject to higher driving standards than other drivers. In many cases, stronger penalties may apply for equivalent offences and infractions to holders of CDL licenses. Some may lead to the driver losing their license temporarily or permanently.

Georgia CDL Disqualifications

Georgia's list of disqualifications is subject to both Federal law and is reviewed regularly in line with updated guidance. Here is a list of offences in Georgia:

  • Blood alcohol level is greater than 0.04% when driving a CMV
  • DUI of any other controlled substance
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test when instructed, regardless of whether you are over the legal limit in the state of Georgia
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Engaging in a felony unrelated to vehicle crime but using the vehicle for that felony
  • Operating a CMV and causing a fatal accident through negligence
  • Driving while your license is suspended or revoked and being in full knowledge

12-month disqualifications apply to first offences although, in the case of hazmat operators, a first offence comes with a 3-year disqualification. A life disqualification applies to any second violation and where the vehicle is used for felonies relating to controlled substances. Where the blood alcohol level is under .04%, you will receive a 24-hour suspension.

The list below is serious traffic violations. You will incur a minimum 60-day disqualification following a second offense from this list. Any subsequent third offence in a 36-month period will result in a 120-day suspension:

  • Excess speed more than 15mph over the limit
  • Driving adjudged to be reckless
  • Improper lane changing and other erratic maneuvers
  • Tailgating (driving too close to vehicles in front of you)
  • Any other relevant violations of Georgia's traffic laws that causes a fatal accident
  • Ignoring Georgia laws on the procedure for a fatal accident
  • Having not passed the relevant license CDL requirements and driving a CMV vehicles
  • Possessing an inadequate CDL for the class of vehicle you drive
  • Possessing insufficient CDL endorsements for the type of vehicle
  • Driving a CMV while not being in possession of your CDL

Out of services orders result in an 180-day to 1-year disqualification in the first instance. Hazardous material out of service violations may be up to two years. Any second offence in a ten-year period will result in a disqualification of up to ten years. Second hazmat offences are 3-10 years. Georgia's laws on railroad violations are as follows.

  • When in a vehicle always required to stop at a railroad junction, failing to do so when approaching an crossing where tracks are not clear
  • When in a vehicle always required to stop at a railroad junction, failing to stop when the tracks are clear
  • When in a vehicle not required to stop at a railroad junction, failing to slow
  • Entering the crossing when there is insufficient space to cross over fully
  • Failing to observe requirements of any and all traffic control devices present at the junction
  • A failure to negotiate a railroad junction due to insufficient undercarriage clearance

First offences incur a 60-day disqualification; second offences inside of three years warrants a 120-day disqualification; third offences inside of three years will result in a one-year disqualification.

Further details for Georgia violations are here: http://www.eregulations.com/georgia/commercial/cdl-disqualifications/

CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

In 2017, BLS released data of the state of the haulage jobs market based on data acquired through 2016. It predicted that driving jobs demand will grow around 5% between 2014 and 2024. This is slightly lower than the average job growth taking into account all roles in the USA. It's widely acknowledged that the transport and haulage industry is still yet to recover fully following the 2008 financial crisis. Technology such as GPS and a diverse transport system have also slowed recovery.

Heavy Trucks

Heavy truck haulage workers can expect a national average salary of is $41,340. Employees on hourly pay contracts can expect an average pay of $19.87. Looking specifically at Georgia's pay rates, employees in the state can expect a slightly lower than the median salary at $40,830. Hourly pay is also slightly lower $19.30 (median) and $19.65 (the mean). Lowest earning employees have a salary of approximately $26,920 or slightly lower whereas the highest 10% earners claim a salary greater than $63,140.

Light Trucks

Light truck haulage drivers can expect a mean average salary at present of $34,790 with an equivalent hourly pay of $16.73. Light truck drivers and delivery personnel in Georgia can expect pay roughly equivalent to the national average. The mean average salary is $34.710; hourly pay is $14.52 (median) and $16.69 (mean average) respectively. BLS analysis believes that the industry will experience a 4% growth up to 2024 - half the national average of all jobs.

Passenger Vehicles

Nationwide, the average bus driver's salary is $31,920 with an average hourly pay of $14.96. As with the other classes, prospective bus drivers in Georgia will observe that the pay is slightly lower than this national average. Salary is $28,190 and the hourly pay rates are $13.28 (median) and $13.55 (mean). Job demand for passenger vehicle drivers should increase 6% 2014-2024. This reflects the average of all jobs.

BLS Source: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm

Resources for Georgia CDL Requirements

Learn more about Georgia trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Georgia

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Georgia $30,500 $49,860 $39,240
Albany, GA $25,800 $43,830 $30,630
Athens-Clarke County, GA $26,460 $51,790 $34,170
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA $33,470 $52,140 $41,970
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC $30,630 $50,040 $37,860
Brunswick, GA $34,280 $68,930 $61,060
Columbus, GA-AL $25,000 $38,620 $28,550
Dalton, GA $31,890 $40,790 $35,700
Gainesville, GA $34,920 $55,310 $48,480
Hinesville-Fort Stewart, GA $26,910 $42,920 $30,370
Macon, GA $27,420 $43,390 $34,980
Rome, GA $25,350 $32,600 $28,300
Savannah, GA $30,930 $46,200 $36,240
Valdosta, GA $26,950 $52,960 $38,750
Warner Robins, GA $21,900 $43,040 $28,690

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm)