Nevada CDL Requirements

Despite being one of the largest states in terms of area (7th), Nevada is much less densely populated, being only 34th in terms of populations. The name is Spanish in origin meaning "snow covered", which surprises most people as the perception of the topography is one of desert. Nevada is snowy; the Sierra Nevada mountain range is snow-covered through most of the year. Nevada is a mix of mountain and basin, snow and sand. Contrasting is lush upland full of forests and lakes. Its largest county is Clark County which is the center of the world-famous Las Vegas, the premier destination for gamblers. But many travel for the wide open virgin landscapes away from the population centers. It achieved statehood during the Civil War, admitting to the Union in 1864 as the 36th state.

Which CDL Licenses are Available in Nevada?

Nevada complies with all Federal regulations on licensing but sets its own criteria as per state laws. Licensing allocation in Nevada is explained below:

Class A CDL

For all vehicles weighing 26,001lbs or greater that tow trailers weighing 10,000lb or more, this is the required commercial driver's license class

Class B CDL

For all vehicles weighing 26,001lbs or greater that tow trailers weighing 10,000lb or less, this is the required commercial driver's license class

Class C CDL

For all vehicles weighing 26,001lbs or less, passenger carrying-vehicles and hazmat carriers, this is the required commercial driver's license class

Non-Commercial Licenses

Unlike other states, Nevada operates the same weighting system to non-commercial driving. RV and car drivers will need to know the vehicle's weight to apply for the relevant license class. Most cars are between 2,000-3,000lb and RVs in the region of 5,000lb, so will require a Class C non-commercial license in most cases. Always check vehicle weight.

For a commercial license application in Nevada, your noncommercial license must be up to date. Any pending or prior convictions in the last two years may invalidate the CDL application. Medical clearance and a TSA check are required before moving to the testing.

CDL Eligibility in Nevada

Local autonomy applies in some areas of licensing, but for the most part, this is federally regulated. Where industry requirement and road safety are an issue, the state may make some changes.

License and Permits

  • All applicants require a noncommercial driver's license prior to CDL application. Extant motoring convictions for a two-year period may result in refusal
  • One step to determining eligibility is mandatory medical testing. You can expect an eye test and a record check to ascertain whether existing medical conditions may make driving a CMV dangerous
  • CMV driving courses offered by third-party organizations are not mandatory but are highly recommended

Age Restrictions

  • Only applicants 18 years and over are permitted to apply for a CDL
  • Only applicants 21 years and over may apply for interstate driving
  • 18-20-year-olds are limited to commercial driving within Nevada
  • Only applicants 21 years and over may apply for relevant hazmat endorsements
  • CDL holders must be 25 years or older to drive a commercial vehicle 70ft (21.3m) or longer in Nevada

Proof of Residence of Nevada

  • All commercial license applicants will require valid ID. Address should be valid and current
  • All applicants require a Social Security Number

CDL Requirements for Nevada Residents

  • Your ID must be relevant and up to date with your current address. Any change of address is legally required notification within 30 days
  • The applicant is legally required to provide their SSN as proof of right to live and work in Nevada and the US
  • Proof of relevant insurance is required
  • Mandatory TSA screening forms part of the early process of application regardless of required commercial class

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

Those transferring from out of state will require further proof and checks:

  • Any current out of state license you possess will require surrendering to the authorities in Nevada. You will be supplied with a Nevada license as a straight swap if it is not more than two years out of date
  • Proof of US citizenship will be required
  • The applicant is required to supply details of any medical condition that may affect their driving of a commercial vehicle
  • If the applicant possesses exemption paperwork or details on restrictions, this is required

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Nevada CDL

  • Foreign nationals may apply for a CDL on the condition that they already have Permanent Resident status. Your Green Card is required with the application to prove your eligible immigration status
  • Refugees with Permanent Resident status should also bring relevant paperwork determining this
  • All permanent residents must show the passport issues in their country of birth. A Consular Report of Birth Abroad, if you have one, will aid your application
  • Should you still possess a driver's license from your country of birth, Nevada may require its permanent surrender as part of the CDL application process
  • Only citizens may apply for hazmat endorsements. Permanent Residents are ineligible

Do I Need a CDL?

There is a national scheme to aid retiring or recently retired military service personnel to become CMV drivers. If you are retiring within 90 days or left service no more than 1 year ago, you may be eligible for the "Troops to Trucks" scheme. When accepted, you will not be expected to pass take the driving skills part of the examination process. The written test is mandatory for all applicants. Retirees from other areas of public service may also be permitted to bypass the driving skills test.

Should the applicant have any current or pending driving conviction, he or she may have their CDL application refused. Rejection usually occurs where there is a conviction for DUI (alcohol and controlled substances), speeding, or leaving the scene of an accident. Should you have had your license canceled or rejected for any reason in the past, this may mean your CDL application is automatically rejected.

There are other groups not required to apply for or hold a CDL:

  • Individuals who drive small volume hazmat vehicles
  • Where any person is requested to drive a CMV during an emergency by any authorized peace officer
  • Where any person is requested to drive emergency clearing equipment by any authorized person (to clear snow, fallen trees etc)
  • Recreational vehicle drivers do not require a CDL
  • Operators of agricultural machinery only when working inside a 150-mile radius of their workplace
  • Authorized public service vehicle drivers such as those used for firefighting, medical and police driving

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Medical testing and record checks are required of all applicants. This will include an eye test to ensure adequate vision. Your medical records will be checked for medical conditions that may invalidate your license
  • Two reports will then be passed to the applicant which must be passed to the CDL office: A Medical Examination Report Form and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
  • The applicant will need to explain whether their license is for intrastate or interstate. Age restrictions apply (see above)
  • Your Federal Medical Card will be issued at this stage
  • Should any part of the medical testing or checks result in failure, the applicant may still be issued with a CDL but with restrictions
  • For most applicants, the employer is responsible for the CDL application costs. Where this is the case, the applicant should direct queries through the employer

Background Check for CDL Applicants

The CDL application process is open only to US Citizens and foreign nationals who have already attained Permanent Resident status. All applicants must submit for mandatory TSA screening. Only US citizens are eligible for hazmat privilege and they must submit for fingerprint testing. Revocation of your citizenship will mean the loss of previously authorized hazmat privileges.

CDL Testing in Nevada

Before any applicant is permitted to take the CDL exams, all prior steps must be completed and authorized.

CDL Knowledge Test

The applicant must pass this 50-strong list of questions before being permitted onto the road. Subsequent endorsement section is a further 20-strong list of questions. A minimum number of questions must be answered correctly in order to register a pass.

CDL Road Skills Tests

The second and final part of the exam is the Road Skills examination.

  • Before the test begins, the authorized examiner will check the vehicle for both eligibility and safety assurance
  • Secondly, the applicant must demonstrate understanding of interior controls, including adjustable parts such as mirrors and seating
  • Finally, the applicant must demonstrate under normal road conditions that they are able to control the vehicle and obey driving laws

Nevada CDL Office Locations

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) operates from the following offices:

  • 555 Wright Way
    Carson City, NV
    (775) 684-4861
  • 3920 E. Idaho Street
    Elko, NV 89801-4970
    (775) 753-1126
  • 4110 Donovan Way
    North Las Vegas, NV 89030
  • 810 E Greg St.
    Sparks, NV 89431
    (775) 688-2535
  • 3505 Construction Way
    Winnemucca, NV 89445-3155
    (775) 623-6515

Nevada CDL Endorsements

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

  • Hazardous material vehicle (H)
  • Tank vehicle (N)
  • Passenger transport (P)
  • School bus (S)
  • Double/triple (T)
  • Combination Tank Vehicle and Hazardous Materials (X)

Nevada CDL Disqualifications

CDL holders are expected to display a higher standard of driving than standard license holders and will incur higher penalties for equivalent offenses. For a first offense from any of the below listed will result in a driving suspension of 12 months. A second offense from the list is a life suspension. Any offense that occurs while driving a hazmat vehicle is an automatic three-year disqualification. Use of any CMV for the sale, transportation or distribution of controled substances incurs a lifelong suspension of all CDL privileges. Courts in Nevada may apply further penalties.

  • A blood alcohol test revealing a .04% content level while driving a CMV
  • A blood alcohol test revealing a .08% content level while driving a vehicle other than a CMV
  • Refusal to take a breath or blood test
  • Failing to report an accident where the CMV is involved
  • Failing to stop at an accident where the CMV is involved
  • Causing a fatality at an accident through negligent actions or dangerous driving
  • Using any CMV for crimes not related to vehicle crime
  • Driving a CMV while CDL privileges are revoked, canceled or suspended for any reason

A blood alcohol test that reveals content level below.04%, a 24-hour suspension applies.

Below is a list of lesser offenses that incur smaller penalties. Any first offense from below is no penalty. Should a second offence occur inside of three years, a suspension of 60 days applies. Any third offense in the same three-year period, a 120-day suspension is imposed:

  • Speeding where recorded at more than 15mph over the limit
  • Driving adjudged as erratic or dangerous that does not cause an accident
  • Erratic maneuvers such as lane changing that puts other drivers at risk
  • Driving too close to other vehicles, putting road users at risk
  • Any other infraction against Nevada driving laws not specified here
  • Driving a vehicle requiring CDL privileges that the driver does not possess
  • Driving a vehicle requiring CDL privileges that are higher than the driver possesses
  • Driving a CMV requiring specific endorsements that the license holder does not possess
  • Driving a CMV while failing to carry CDL documentation

Out of Service orders are applied to CMVs that are damaged, dangerous or do not pass safety checks. When an OOS is imposed, the driver may not operate the vehicle for service. Doing so leads to a 90-day disqualification penalty for a first infraction. Any second OOS infraction is a disqualification period of ten years. Violation of a hazmat vehicle in a first offense is a 3-10 year ban.

Separate penalties apply to railroad violations. Each first instance is a 60-day suspension. Any subsequent second offense is a 120-day suspension. A third railroad offense is a 12-month ban:

  • Some junctions are designated places where drivers don't always need to stop. However, slowing to check the tracks is required. Failing to do so is an offense
  • Failing to stop at the same junctions where the track or road ahead is not clear
  • Failing to observe any stop sign. All drivers must stop even when the road and tracks are clear ahead
  • Drivers may only proceed through a railroad junction when there is sufficient space to drive through all the way
  • Failing to obey any given instructions by technology or traffic officer
  • Failing to clear through a junction due to insufficient undercarriage clearance

Nevada CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

The Federal government regularly monitors industry statistics through the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The organization publishes new data on job trends, industry growth and pay every few years. The most recent report was released in mid-2017 resulting from data collected and analyzed in 2016. Commercial driving is projected to experience a 5% growth between 2014-2024. The national average of all jobs is 7%, making commercial driving slower than normal.

Heavy Trucks

Heavy truck haulage is the backbone of transport of goods across the country and into Canada and Mexico and beyond. Due to long hours and time away from home, they are traditionally higher paid. Nationally, heavy truck drivers can expect a salary average of $41,340. Hourly paid heavy truck drivers earn $19.87 on average. The lowest 10% salary band is $26,920 and the highest 10% salary band is $63,140. Averages in Nevada are considerably higher than the national figures with a median salary of $49,590. Hourly average rates are $23.55 (median) and $23.84 (mean).

Light Trucks

Light truck jobs transport goods within a town or city or any short distance, making up the bulk of local delivery. Typically, employees work normal office shifts. Nationally, this type of job can expect a 4% growth. Technology and route planning has led to efficiency drives meaning fewer openings. The national pay picture is an average salary of $34,790 and $16.73 hourly. Light truck roles in Nevada is slightly higher than average at $35,660. Hourly pay is $15.52 (median) and $17.14 (mean).

Passenger Vehicles

Public vehicle driving requires a Class C CMV license. Those entering this career can expect stability in their job role. The national growth picture is a 6% increase between 2014 and 2024. Nationally, the average salary stands at $31,920 and the hourly pay is $14.96. In Nevada, these averages are higher than the average picture at $37,180 salary, $18.51 median hourly pay and $17.88 mean average.

BLS Source:

Resources for Nevada CDL Requirements

Learn more about Nevada trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Nevada

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Nevada $35,950 $52,970 $43,680
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV $34,280 $47,280 $40,750
Reno-Sparks, NV $36,850 $54,970 $44,930

Table data taken from 2015 BLS (