Wisconsin CDL License Requirements

To start a career in truck driving in Wisconsin, you must first earn a Wisconsin commercial driver's license (CDL). While classes of CDL licenses can vary slightly from state to state, Wisconsin categorizes commercial vehicles as follows:

  • Class A: Operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds that tow trailers or other vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds
  • Class B: Operate vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds and tow trailers or vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds
  • Class C: Operate vehicles that can transport 16 or more people or vehicles that transport hazardous materials

To obtain a Wisconsin CDL, you must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Wisconsin driver's license, pass a vision exam and obtain a medical certificate. To transport cargo across state lines, federal regulations require truck drivers to be at least 21 years old. The interstate transportation of cargo is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and not by state governments. All CDL applicants then need to pass a general knowledge exam and a skills test, which includes a pre-trip vehicle inspection, a basic control test and an on-road driving exam. For the driving test, applicants must test in the class of vehicle for which they would like to obtain a CDL license.

Additional knowledge and skills tests may be required depending on the endorsements you need. For example, endorsements are needed to drive a truck with air brakes, a tanker or a school bus. They are also needed to transport passengers or to haul hazardous materials. To transport hazardous materials (also referred to as a Hazmat endorsement), a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) background check is required. Truck driving schools will provide the training and education needed to pass the CDL requirements in Wisconsin.

Resources for Wisconsin CDL Requirements

Visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website for more information.

Learn more about Wisconsin trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Wisconsin

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Wisconsin $31,940 $49,160 $39,120
Appleton, WI $29,810 $45,460 $37,180
Eau Claire, WI $31,510 $43,750 $36,690
Fond du Lac, WI $31,610 $47,650 $39,250
Green Bay, WI $32,460 $48,580 $39,630
Janesville, WI $29,950 $41,480 $34,840
La Crosse, WI-MN $33,040 $45,770 $37,530
Madison, WI $35,100 $54,200 $44,750

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