12 April 2022

Class C Driver’s License: What Is It & What Can You Do with It?


What is a Class C license?

If you’re thinking about driving an airport shuttle or a vehicle that will carry hazardous materials, the Class C CDL is for you. Choosing a license is the first step in this journey.

A Class C commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the type of driver’s license needed to drive commercial motor vehicles or a combination of vehicles that don’t meet the requirements for Class A or Class B licenses, including both intrastate and interstate transportation. Class C vehicles are designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or will transport freight classified as hazardous materials (hazmat). Some recreational vehicles (RVs) also require a CDL.

The Class C CDL is slightly different from the Class A CDL and Class B CDL classifications when it comes to training. For example, you will get a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) in the process like with a Class A or Class B CDL, but the recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) entry level driver training regulation (ELDT) doesn’t apply to Class C CDLs. You’ll also need the applicable CDL endorsements to drive certain types of vehicles like a school bus.

CDL drivers must be 18 years of age or older for intrastate driving and 21 years of age or older for interstate driving. Earning a Class C CDL also requires:

  • Passing a skills test (a.k.a. road test or driving test), vision test, medical examination, and written knowledge test
  • Providing for the skills test a commercial vehicle that can pass the pre-trip inspection
  • Providing proof of residency and identity, such as with a social security card
  • Going to the DMV like you would for a non-commercial driver’s license
  • Paying the applicable fees

What can you drive with a Class C license?

The commercial motor vehicles you can drive and jobs you can get with a Class C license are an interesting mix of vehicles and types of trucking jobsschool buses and tank vehicles are on the list. A Class C CDL authorizes you to drive a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or less, a single vehicle towing a trailer or other vehicle that weighs less than 10,001 pounds, or a passenger vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers including you, the driver.

In order to drive a school bus or hazardous material vehicle, double or triple trailers, a Class C CDL holder needs to also obtain those specific endorsements.

Do you need a Class C license to drive a semi truck?

Becoming a truck driver is an important role that keeps products moving safely. Tractor trailers or semi trucks are some of the most common commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) used for this purpose. A Class A and Class B CDL would be required to drive a semi truck.