Ohio CDL Requirements

Gently rolling, well-maintained roads that wind through the lower Appalachians and Amish farmland to the shore of Lake Erie are a pleasure for those who learn to become a truck driver in Ohio. While winter driving is sometimes a challenge, Ohio highways like Hocking Hills Scenic Byway and Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail win national awards for their beauty and quality. Read on to discover information about CDL requirements in Ohio.

What CDL Licenses are Available in Ohio?

As part of the national Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Ohio works with the organization me train CDL drivers and enforce regulations that meet the minimum standards that are outlined through the agency. In addition, the state ensures that training materials and facilities meet federal criteria and ensure that state additions or enhancements to federal regulations are properly outlined. Generally, however, Ohio's regulations are in line with much of the rest of the country, providing straightforward driving for interstate and intrastate CDL operators. The following license classes are available for those people who are applying to become a trucker:

CDL Class A

Class A licenses are for all vehicles which are in combination with a trailer. Together, the unit must have a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds, and the towed portion alone must weigh more than 10,000 pounds. This is the most common license class for tractor-trailer drivers (also called interstate truckers). Class A licensed drivers can legally operate Class A, B, C, and D vehicles unless other endorsements are required.

CDL Class B

Class B licenses are for all single vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or more, or all combination vehicles where the portion behind towed (the ‘trailer') weighs less than 10,000 pounds. This is the most common class of license for those truckers who drive intrastate or ‘short haul'. Class B licensed drivers can operate Class B, C or D vehicles unless additional endorsements are needed.

CDL Class C

Class C commercial licences are to ensure that all vehicles and roles that don't fall into A and B are covered. Additionally, Class C applies to those vehicles that transport 16 people including the driver, and vehicles that are placarded for hazardous materials, waste, and select agents. These regulations are outlined in 49 USC 5103 or 42 CFR Part 73. Class C licensed drivers can also drive Class D vehicles unless additional restrictions apply.

Regardless of license class, the vehicle's actual weight at the time will be used to ascertain license class and violations.

Personal Use Class D

Any driver of a personal-use vehicle has a Class D license. Ohio drivers are able to use this license for some recreational vehicles, some rental vans, some agricultural vehicles, but not motorcycles or other vehicles. To earn your CDL license in Ohio, candidates must present their D license.

CDL Eligibility in Ohio

In 1986, the United States made a comprehensive effort to collaborate and streamline the CDL process across the nation. Since then, all states including Ohio must meet the minimum CDL eligibility standards in accordance with federal law.

License and Permits

  • Applicants must come prepared with their original Class D driver's license in good standing. This is proof of a foundational understanding of motor vehicle operation and road safety.
  • Persons in the military can appeal to be exempted from the CDL process, depending on their current service role, or documented military qualifications. Military personnel should inquire about the documentation required for this exemption.


  • Ohio-only CDL truckers (called intrastate truckers) can be 18+ years of age, however, state-to-state CDL truckers (called interstate truckers) must be 21+ years of age.

Proof of Residence in Ohio

Domiciliary proof, or proof of residence is an important requirement of the CDL process. Applicants are required to show original documents that substantiate where they live.

CDL Requirements for Ohio Residents

  • Current driver's license
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of insurance

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

In accordance with domiciliary proof, much care is taken in processing the applications of out-of-state residents. Some or all of the following domiciliary information will be required to meet Ohio's CDL transfer regulations:

  • Former state ID card
  • Former state license
  • Original birth certificate
  • United States travel documentation (passport or immigration/naturalization documents)

Non-U.S. Citizen Requirements for Ohio CDL

Non-U.S. citizens who wish to obtain their CDL must clearly show that they are permanent, legal residents both of the U.S. and the state of Ohio. To this end, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles recommends that all applicants bring any and all supporting documentation that supports their application, including documents relating to:

  • Citizenship
  • Naturalization/residence
  • Birth
  • Immigration

Do I Need a CDL?

Current or honorably discharged members of the military may be eligible for slightly different CDL application procedures. All original and legible documentation that supports their application will be required.

Medical and Physical CDL Requirements

  • Each CDL applicant must work with the BMV to schedule a physical examination at the start of their application from a nationally approved list of examiners in the area. Passing the examination nets the new driver a ‘Federal Medical Card'.
  • After obtaining a Federal Medical Card, CDL drivers complete an online affidavit attesting their fitness to continue as a CDL driver at regular intervals.
  • Vision must be 20/40 and with 70 degrees of peripheral vision to qualify without restrictions.

Background Check for CDL Applicants

The TSA background screening is a requirement for each Ohio CDL driver that wishes or is required to transport placarded hazardous materials. Without a positive result from this check, the driver cannot perform this type of work. Background check procedures vary slightly between states and therefore applicants should inquire in person or over the phone to the CDL office.

CDL Testing in Ohio

CDL applicants have both road and knowledge tests to complete before the state will consider issuing a CDL or permit. With several state-run offices, and accredited third-party testing and training facilities, the state of Ohio is well-prepared to manage the demand of new and transfer CDL applicants throughout the state. Major offices are located in cities like

Seville, Euclid, and Jackson. Ensure that you arrive for testing a little early, with the appropriate method of payment on hand. CDL road-skills tastes should have made arrangements to test in the vehicle of the same class as the license they're applying for.

CDL Knowledge Tests

Ohio CDL drivers are all tested for knowledge of their vehicle's operations, best road practices for driving a commercial vehicle and road safety. After the test is complete and passed, CDL drivers may wish to be tested to drive the following types of vehicles/situations:

  • Bus/commercial passenger transport
  • Vehicles with air brakes
  • Combination vehicles
  • Hazardous materials
  • Tankers
  • Double or triple trailers

CDL Skills Tests

Subsequent to a successful knowledge test, candidates can schedule an appointment to complete the CDL road skills testing. Students should arrive in a timely fashion, having made arrangements to be tested in a rig that is of the class they're applying for.

Ohio CDL Skills & Testing Office Locations

State Operated

  • 8210 County Road 140
    Findlay, OH 45840
  • 25 McCarthy Lane
    Jackson, OH 45640
  • 3701 Tytus Ave.
    Middletown, OH 45042
  • 8730 Lake Rd.
    Seville, OH 44273

Public Operated

  • Ameristar CDL
    14056 Moulton New Knoxville Road
    Wapakoneta, OH 45895
  • Atlas Brooklyn CDL Testing
    8800 Clinton Road
    Brooklyn, OH 44144
  • Atlas Massillon CDL Testing
    1211 3rd Street
    Massillon, OH 44647
  • CDL of Northern Ohio
    202 C. Republic Street
    Norwalk, OH 44857
  • CDL Testing Inc
    4060 Perimeter Drive
    Columbus, OH 43228
  • Northeast CDL Center
    23555 Euclid Avenue
    Euclid, OH 44117
  • Northwest CDL Center
    26718 Oregon Road
    Perrysburg, OH 43551
  • Pike Co. Joint Vational School
    175 Beaver Creek Road
    Piketon, OH 45661
  • Rathburn Enterprises
    1688 Pricetown Road
    Lake Milton, OH 44429
  • Commercial Transportation Testing
    1475 Upper Valley Pike #140
    Springfield, OH 45504
  • US America Manufacturing Inc.
    8334 State Route 36
    Gnadenhutten, OH 44683

Find a complete list of BMV Locations for basic driver examinations here - http://bmv.ohio.gov/locations.aspx.

Ohio CDL Endorsements

The endorsement system in place throughout the U.S. shows employers which drivers have the necessary knowledge and skills to drive a CDL in special conditions. Endorsements can be acquired through additional knowledge testing of the following types of commercial vehicles:

  • School Bus (S)
  • Commercial Passenger transport (P)
  • Hazardous Materials (H)
  • Hazardous Materials in a tanker (X)
  • Double or triple trailers (T)

Some of the following restrictions may apply to your Ohio CDL - read carefully and inquire by phone or in person at the nearest CDL office!

  • No Manual Transmission (E)
  • Intrastate Only (K)
  • CMVs without Airbrakes (L)
  • No Class A Passenger Vehicle (M)
  • No Class A and B Passenger Vehicle (N)
  • No Tractor-Trailer Commercial Motor Vehicle (O)
  • Medical Variance (V)
  • Farm Waiver (W)
  • No Full Air-Brake-Equipped Vehicle (Z)

Ohio CDL Disqualifications

Each state clearly sets forth the rules that, if broken, will result in a CDL suspension or cancellation. Disqualifications fall into several categories and include:

Ohio Serious Driving Infractions

  • 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
  • Having traffic violations on Class D vehicles (not including parking tickets)

Careless Driving Infractions

  • 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
  • Failing to wear a safety belt at all times while driving

Railroad Infractions

  • Breaking railroad crossing laws and crossing approach laws (varies on class of vehicle and conditions)

Fraud, Criminal, and Domiciliary Infractions

  • Live illegally in the U.S.
  • Have committed a felony
  • Are wanted for outstanding criminal convictions
  • Are not cleared through the TSA
  • Are found to have/have applied for multiple CDLs

Please also bear the following restrictions in mind the following:

  • Check with Ohio CDL offices for regulation updates
  • Transporting passengers or hazardous materials result in increased penalties
  • Repeat offenses are penalized on an increasing scale

Ohio CDL Salary, Employment, and Prospects

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that all manners of jobs requiring a CDL will continue to grow at a moderate, steady pace. Ohio's truck driving industry is generally set to exceed the national growth projections and forecasts indicate that job outlook for truckers in the state is growing faster than national average. It's a great time to become a truck driver!

Heavy Trucks

The Ohio heavy truck driving profession is projected to grow by 5% over the next decade, which will open about 1,600 jobs per year for qualified interstate truckers that fulfill the role requirements. Entering the field at about $26,500, many truckers earn a median annual salary of almost $40,000, or slightly more than the national average.

Light Trucks

Intrastate trucking in Ohio is forecasted to grow by 2% over the next 10 years (BLS). This projection will provide approximately 600 new positions every year to those drivers that meet the state's regulations. Light truck drivers earn about $28,000 on average, and over time, usually continue adding to their skills and marketability by testing for endorsements.

Passenger Vehicles

Driving a passenger vehicle or school bus in Ohio is a job that requires concentration, dedication and a penchant for safety. With this in mind, the median salary for bus drivers across the state is about $29,000, with the top 10% of drivers earning over $40,000 annually. The BLS projects that the field will grow by 8% or faster than the national growth average, opening about 280 bus transportation jobs per year.

Resources for Ohio CDL Requirements

Learn more about Ohio trucking schools.

Truck Driver Salary in Ohio

Location 25th Percentile 75th Percentile Annual Salary
United States $31,270 $48,330 $38,700
Ohio $30,770 $47,220 $37,720
Akron, OH $32,460 $48,000 $37,470
Canton-Massillon, OH $27,120 $46,480 $35,010
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN $32,420 $49,830 $39,340
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH $32,100 $48,510 $39,530
Columbus, OH $31,490 $47,000 $37,730
Dayton, OH $30,560 $51,080 $39,690
Lima, OH $28,550 $38,820 $33,850
Mansfield, OH $37,810 $53,320 $45,430
Sandusky, OH $32,010 $39,360 $35,700
Springfield, OH $31,040 $45,580 $40,440
Steubenville-Weirton, OH-WV $28,370 $41,710 $34,190
Toledo, OH $33,070 $56,410 $40,290
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA $31,950 $50,920 $41,000

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