Michigan CDL Requirements

Michigan is one of the states with a French origin rather than Native American or English. It's the only state completely divided by a body of water (Straits of Mackinac) - making it two separate peninsula landmasses. It has the interesting honor of being the largest political division (country, state, province or county) with freshwater coastline. Four of the five Great Lakes surround the state and nearly 65,000 lakes lie within its boundary. Its largest city Detroit is world-famous for being the heart of the auto industry, especially for cars. However, Detroit is not the state's capital. That honor falls to Lansing. Cars is not the sole source of economic activity. The north peninsula relies heavily on tourism for its natural beauty and resources while the south is the center of heavy industry and technology. The landscape is heavily forested and more freshwater interior than any other state. The west peninsula is largely mountainous to the west while the south peninsula is largely flat.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in Michigan?

Michigan adheres to all Federal laws on allocation of CDL licensing. Applicants to the classes listed below must successfully complete a number of steps including medical examination, and a series of proficiency tests before permission to drive a CMV:

Class A CDL

Applying to drive vehicles of the heaviest class (26,000lb and above) to pull the heaviest trailer types (10,000lbs and above) requires a Class A CDL

Class B CDL

Applying to drive vehicles of the heaviest class (26,000lb and above) to pull lighter trailer types (below 10,000lbs) requires a Class B CDL

Class C CDL

Applying to drive transport vehicles of lighter weight (beneath 26,000lb), passenger vehicles for 16 or more and hazmat transport requires a Class C CDL

Class D License

If the applicant does not have a standard state-issues driver's license, he or she is not permitted to apply for Class A-C licenses

Your Class D license must be in good standing with no convictions for a minimum period at the time of application. You must also pass all required medical testing and before being permitted to study a knowledge exam and driving proficiency test. Endorsements (listed below) require further testing.

CDL Eligibility in Michigan

The Federal government sets down laws on licensing criteria; the state of Michigan must abide by these regulations but may alter some criteria based on the state's individual needs. Each state will regularly examine these standards in line with emerging technology, safety and relevance. For all applicants, there is a requirement to for mandatory TSA screening to ensure your eligibility on grounds of security, and for relevant medical testing to ensure health eligibility to commercial vehicles.

License and Permits

  • Everyone applying for a CDL regardless of the class must already hold a Class D license. Should you have any motoring convictions, this could void the application
  • All applications must pass health checks such as sufficient eyesight and to check for health conditions that could make driving a CMV dangerous
  • It is strongly recommended that CDL applications learn to drive a CMV through a third-party organization although these are not mandatory
  • Upon completion of health checks and security screening, the CDL application may go ahead


  • For CDL application, you must be aged a minimum of 18 years
  • Those aged 18-20 may only drive within Michigan
  • Those aged 21 and over are able to apply for interstate commercial driving. This means to and through other states
  • 21-year-olds may also apply for Enhanced CDL privileges. Enhanced licenses permit drivers to travel across the Canada-US border, and for hazmat vehicles

Proof of Residence of Michigan

  • All applicants are required to provide proof of their home address; the documentation should be up to date
  • Your ID should be accompanied with an SSN to demonstrate your right to live and to work in the US

CDL Requirements for Michigan Residents

  • CDL applicants should prove evidence of their home address. If this has recently changed, it is legal requirement to update this before 30 days have passed
  • Your SSN proves your right to work in the US. All citizens and Permanent Residents have one
  • You must provide insurance at the application
  • TSA screening is mandatory for all applicants

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

Recent arrivals in Michigan from other states are subject to further checks:

  • Any out of state license you presently hold must be converted to a Michigan-issued license
  • If your license is present or did not expire more than two years prior, it will be only a straight swap
  • You must prove US citizenship
  • As a citizen, you are eligible for Enhanced CDL status in Michigan (one of only four states to offer them) allowing you to travel into Canada using the driver's license as a passport
  • Proof of current Michigan address and SSN card must be presented
  • Any pre-existing medical conditions and associated paperwork that may be relevant to your CDL application should be made available
  • Should you be in possession of exemption paperwork, this should be presented during the application

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Michigan CDL

Resident foreign nationals with Permanent Resident status are able to work in the United States. These individuals are eligible for CDL application:

  • You must show your Permanent Resident Card at the application
  • Should you have any other documentation relevant to your immigration situation such as refugee status, you must present this too. Documents that declare your right to work in the country should be made available
  • Your passport from your home country, Consular Report of Birth Abroad or other official documentation would help your application
  • If you retain your home country's driver's license, you may be requested to surrender it to the state of Michigan permanently
  • Permanent Residents are not permitted to apply for Enhanced CDL privileges in Michigan

Do I Need a CDL?

Only citizens and Permanent residents are eligible to apply for a CDL. Some people that fulfil certain criteria are able to bypass some of the CDL application process. Military personnel expected to retire within 90 days and facing an honorable discharge, and those who retired not more than one year ago, may apply to "Troops to Trucks". Eligible military personnel are not required to complete the driving skills test for Class A and B CDL only. Applicants who take this path must successfully complete the written section of the test and additional sections for required endorsements. Similar schemes are available to retiring public service personnel in firefighting and other such professions.

Some groups do not need a CDL:

  • Drivers eligible to operate small volume hazmat vehicles
  • During temporary operation where a peace officer is authorized to instruct any individual to drive a CMV in an emergency
  • During temporary operation where any authorized person requires any person to drive an appropriate emergency clearing vehicle
  • Drivers of any vehicles qualifying as an RV
  • Farm workers operating agricultural machinery so long as they remain within a radius of 150 miles of their place of employment
  • Ambulance drivers, police drivers and firefighters

In most cases, pending our present driving convictions will void your CDL application. DUI for alcohol and controlled substances, driving at excess speed, and leaving the scene of an accident are included in this. Prior revocation of your license for any reason will mean rejection of your CDL application. Where a felony involved a motor vehicle, this too will nullify CDL application.

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Medical testing is mandatory for all applicants. The examiner will check your eyesight and medical records for potentially dangerous medical conditions such as heart defects and epilepsy. The resource list at the end of this article supplies details of all medically authorized personnel
  • Once passed, the examiner will supply two authorizing documents: Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
  • These must be presented with the CDL application. You must state the nature of your license as intrastate or interstate. You will then receive a Federal Medical Card
  • Should the applicant fail the medical test, they may be eligible for certain restrictions in some circumstances
  • Usually, the employer pays for the CDL application. If this applies to you, direct all queries through the contact in your workplace

Background Check for CDL Applicants

TSA screening is mandatory for all applicants and only US citizens and permanent residents may apply. Fingerprint checking and other deeper checks are required for applicants to drive hazmat vehicles.

CDL Testing in Michigan

TSA screening will only commence once the medical checks are complete. These two stages are necessary before the Knowledge Test and Driving Skills examination can take place.

CDL Knowledge Test

There are 50 multiple choice questions to this part of the test. They will test your road, safety and driving laws knowledge. Should you be seeking endorsements, you must take a further 20 questions per endorsement. These too are multiple choice.

CDL Road Skills Tests

The driving test will only take place once all previous steps are complete.

  • By law, the examiner must check the vehicle for eligibility and safety
  • The CDL applicant will then be required to demonstrates that he or she can adjust the various controls of the vehicle
  • Once complete, the driving test will begin. The CDL applicant is required to show attention to normal road conditions, awareness and driving proficiency

Michigan CDL Office Locations

The Michigan Secretary of State provides the following offices for CDL application. All offices are directed through a single contact number (888) 767-6424:

In Ann Arbor

  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    295 N. Maple Road
    Ann Arbor, MI 48103
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Ypsilanti)
    4675 Washtenaw Avenue
    Ann Arbor, MI 48108
  • PLUS branch office
    164 E. Columbia Ave.
    Belleville, MI 48111
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    1113 S. Main St.
    Chelsea, MI 48118
  • PLUS Branch Office
    8565 N. Lilley Road
    Canton, MI 48187
  • PLUS Branch Office (Westland)
    6090 N. Wayne Road
    Westland, MI 48185

In Detroit

  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    2835 Bagley
    Detroit, MI 48216
  • Super Center Branch Office
    3046 W. Grand Blvd.
    Detroit, MI 48202
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    9001 Joseph Campau St
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
  • Secretary of State Branch Office #1
    14634 Mack Ave.
    Detroit, MI 48215
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    5094 Schaefer Road
    Dearborn, MI 48126
  • Detroit Livernois SOS Office
    17500 Livernois Ave.
    Detroit, MI 48221

In Farmington

  • SUPER!Center Branch Office (Livonia)
    17176 Farmington Road
    Livonia, MI 48152
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Southfield)
    25263 Telegraph Road
    Southfield, MI 48033
  • PLUS Branch Office
    20220 W 7 Mile Rd
    Detroit, MI 48219
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (West Bloomfield)
    4297 Orchard Lake Road
    West Bloomfield, MI 48323
  • PLUS Branch Office (Novi)
    31164 Beck Road
    Novi, MI 48377
  • PLUS Branch Office (Redford)
    25700 Joy Road
    Redford, MI 48239

In Flint

  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    408 S. Saginaw St.
    Flint, MI 48502
  • SUPER!Center Branch Office
    5512 Fenton Rd # G
    Flint, MI 48507
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    300 N. Main St.
    Davison, MI 48423
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    4256 W Vienna Rd.
    Clio, MI 48420
  • PLUS Branch Office (Lapeer)
    301 W. Genesee St.
    Lapeer, MI 48446
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (North Oakland County Plus)
    7090 Sashabaw Road
    Clarkston, MI 48348

In Grand Rapids

  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    1 Division Ave. N.
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Wyoming)
    1056 Rogers Plaza SW
    Wyoming, MI 49509
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    3472 Plainfield Ave NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49525
  • SUPER! Center Branch Office
    3601 28th St SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49512
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Hudsonville)
    5211 Cherry Avenue Plaza
    Hudsonville, MI 49426
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Sparta)
    534 S. State St.
    Sparta, MI 49345

In Kalamazoo

  • PLUS Branch Office (Kalamazoo)
    3298 Stadium Drive
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • PLUS Branch Office (Portage)
    603 Romence Road, Shoppes at Romence Village
    Portage, MI 49024
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Paw Paw)
    32849 Red Arrow Highway
    Paw Paw, MI 49079
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Calhoun County Plus)
    2545 Capital Ave. S.W.
    Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    430 Western Ave.
    Allegan, MI 49010

In Lansing

  • Capital Area Super Center Branch Office
    3315 E. Michigan Ave.
    Lansing, MI 48912
  • PLUS Branch Office (Lansing)
    8158 Executive Court
    Lansing, MI 48917
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Mason)
    806 Hogsback Road
    Mason, MI 48854
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (St. Johns)
    1041 S. U.S. Highway 27
    St Johns, MI 48879
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Owosso)
    1720 E. Main St.
    Owosso, MI 48867
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Ionia)
    603 W. Adams St.
    Ionia, MI 48846

In Muskegon

  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Muskegon)
    1485 E Apple Ave
    Muskegon, MI 49442
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    1110 Robbins Rd.
    Grand Haven, MI 49417
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    7159 W. 48th St.
    Fremont, MI 49412

In Saginaw

  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Saginaw South)
    4212 Dixie Highway
    Saginaw, MI 48601
  • Saginaw County Plus Branch Office
    4404 Bay Road
    Saginaw, MI 48603
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Saint Charles)
    115 S Saginaw St
    Saint Charles, MI 48655
  • Secretary of State Branch Office
    1007 N. Euclid Ave.
    Bay City, MI 48706
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Midland)
    1832 N Saginaw Rd
    Midland, MI 48640

In Sterling Heights

  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Sterling Heights)
    7917 19 Mile Road
    Sterling Heights, MI 48314
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Troy)
    1111 E. Long Lake Road
    Troy, MI 48085
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Warren)
    11533 E. 12 Mile Road
    Warren, MI 48093
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Shelby Township)
    50640 Schoenherr Road
    Shelby Township, MI 48315
  • SUPER! Center Branch Office
    37015 S. Gratiot Ave.
    Clinton Township, MI 48036
  • Secretary of State Branch Office (Rochester Hills)
    2250 Crooks Road
    Rochester Hills, MI 48309

More information on MI branch offices and Mi Driving Skills Testing Organization Locator.

Michigan CDL Endorsements

Michigan Secretary of State permits the following endorsements for CDLs issued in the state:

  • Hazardous material (H)
  • Tank vehicles (N)
  • Passenger vehicles (P)
  • School buses (S)
  • Hazmat tank vehicles (X)
  • Double and triple trailers (T)

Michigan CDL Disqualifications

Holders of CDL driving privileges are held to higher driving standards than other drivers. The following are punishable with a 12-month suspension for any first offense. Subsequent second offences are life suspension. Michigan courts have the privilege to set higher punishments than this. Offenses that take place in a hazmat vehicle is a three-year period of disqualification. Using a CMV to transport or sell controled substances is a life suspension of your CDL.

  • Where are positive test for alcohol registers a level equal to or greater than 0.04% while driving a CMV
  • Where are positive test for alcohol registers a level equal to or greater than 0.08% while driving any other vehicle type
  • Where the driver refuses to give a breath or blood sample to test for alcohol or controlled substances
  • Where failing to report an accident in which the driver is involved
  • Where failing to stop at an accident in which the driver is involved
  • Where the CDL holder uses a CMV in a criminal offence not related to vehicle crime
  • Where the driver causes a fatality through their dangerous driving
  • Where the driver operates any CMV when CDL permissions have been withdrawn through suspended, revoked or canceled license

Where a blood test records alcohol level at lower than.04%, the driver will be subject to a suspension of 24 hours.

The list of offences below highlights those less serious but still incurring penalties. No suspension applies to a first offence, but the driver will incur a minimum 60-day suspension for a second offence. Third offences are 120-day suspensions:

  • Driving at a speed recorded at more than 15mph over the road's designated maximum speed
  • Driving dangerously and recklessly
  • Driving erratically including dangerous and improper changes of lane
  • Driving dangerously close to other road users. This is called "tail gating"
  • Driving and failing to comply with minor driving laws in Michigan
  • Driving a CMV while not qualified to do so
  • Driving a CMV while not sufficiently qualified. Class B license holders are not permitted to drive Class A vehicles
  • Driving a vehicle without the properly required endorsements to drive that type
  • Driving a CMV while not possessing your CDL

Out of Service violations incur specific and separate penalties. This is when the vehicle is deemed not safe to drive. The CDL holder must not drive that vehicle. Doing so is a 90-day disqualification in a first offence. A second OOS violation results in disqualification of ten years. Such offences in a hazmat vehicle is a 3-10 year suspension.

Railroad violations also incur separate penalties. The following list leads to a 60-day suspension of CDL privileges for first offence situations; second offences in a period of 36 months results in a 120-day suspension. Third offences in the same 36 month period is a 12-month ban:

  • Not slowing at junctions where not expected to stop to ensure the tracks are clear of oncoming trains
  • Not stopping to check the tracks and road ahead is clear at a junction where not normally expected to stop
  • Not stopping at any junction where all vehicles are required to stop
  • Failing to allow sufficient space to pass through when going through a junction where not expected to stop
  • Failing to obey the requirements of technology or a present law officer at a junction
  • Failing to get through a railroad junction where the vehicle has insufficient undercarriage

Michigan CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a body of the Federal government responsible for monitoring employment data. Information released in May 2017 showed a 5% growth of commercial driving jobs in the 2014 to 2024 period. This is slightly slower than average for all jobs which is 7%.

Heavy Trucks

Due to long hours and long distance, drivers in the heavy truck industry enjoy higher pay than other delivery driving roles. Nationally, the paid averages for heavy truck driving stands at $41,340 as a salary and $19.87ph for employers contracted for hourly pay. The lowest earning 10% is a salary of $26,920 whereas the highest paid 10% claim a salary of $63,140. Michigan truck Class A and Class B drivers can expect to earn $43,010 as a salary or $19.07 median pay by the hour and $20.68 mean pay by the hour.

Light Trucks

Light truck jobs are essential to local economies and have always been of lower pay. It is presently experiencing a period of low growth due to technology and streamlining of the industry. A growth of 4% is expected between 2014 and 2024. This is about half the national average. Average pay is presently $34,790 for employees on a salary based contract and $16.73 for employees paid by the hour. Michigan residents pay is around the same as the national average, $35,110 for a salary-paid employee and $14.67 mean for hourly paid contracts and $16.88 mean.

Passenger Vehicles

Public transportation driving requires a Class C license and is considered a relatively stable occupation. The projected growth according to BLS between 2014 and 2024 is 6%, reflecting the national picture. Average pay is $31,920 for salary paid employees and $14.96 for hourly paid employees. In Michigan, the pay once again reflects the averages with an average salary of $32,500. Hourly rates are also similar to the national picture at $15.70 median and $15.63 mean.

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

Resources for Michigan CDL Requirements

Learn more about Michigan trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Michigan

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Michigan $30,650 $45,880 $37,490
Ann Arbor, MI $32,660 $47,610 $39,190
Battle Creek, MI $30,890 $45,690 $36,350
Bay City, MI $30,920 $43,390 $35,560
Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Division $31,260 $47,290 $38,160
Flint, MI $26,440 $39,130 $29,950
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI $30,140 $46,150 $37,590
Holland-Grand Haven, MI $26,540 $44,290 $33,390
Jackson, MI $35,470 $48,970 $42,700
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI $32,380 $41,710 $36,080
Lansing-East Lansing, MI $34,220 $46,020 $40,510
Monroe, MI $36,020 $45,590 $41,340
Muskegon-Norton Shores, MI $23,890 $42,370 $34,080
Niles-Benton Harbor, MI $31,790 $42,170 $35,670
Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, MI $32,860 $46,490 $39,460
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan Division $32,140 $45,900 $39,520

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