Commercial Driver’s License Guide: Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada


If you live in Colorado, New Mexico, or Nevada, learn the guideline for getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) below. If you want to learn about getting a CDL at other states, TheJobNetwork has published a guide on how to get a commercial driver’s license in every state of the country.


Requirements for the CDL Training Permit

You must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Provide identification with your name and address and proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Verify your Social Security number
  • Obtain a certificate showing passage of the Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examination within the last 24 months
  • Pass the basic CDL written test, which will reflect the class and endorsements you will cover in the CDL driving test
  • Pay a $9 permit fee
Obtaining a CDL

After you obtain a temporary permit, you must train for and pass the CDL driving test. The test is not given at driver license offices, but rather is outsourced to private, third-party companies.

The actual test contains three parts:

  • Pre-trip vehicle inspection
  • Basic skills
  • On-road test
The Application

You can then fill out an application at a full-service driver license office. You must bring with you all the proper identification mention above (including a document with your Social Security number) and a Medical Examination Report (Form 649-F). By this point, you must also have passed  all the required written tests for the class and endorsements for which you are applying and the CDL driver tests.

Finally, you will relinquish your regular Colorado driver license, along with the CDL temporary permit, pay the $15.50 license fee, have your photo taken, and sign and fingerprint the license.

New Mexico

You do not have to take a written test to exchange a valid out-of-state CDL for a New Mexico CDL with the same class and endorsements. However, any driver needing a hazardous materials endorsement must take a written test, be fingerprinted, and get a background check.

A driver applicant for a CDL Permit, a first-time Commercial License, or a Commercial License renewal must provide:

  • A state birth certificate, U.S. passport, or other proof of lawful presence in the United States
  • A Social Security Card
  • DOT Medical Certification
  • Two verifiable proofs of physical residency in New Mexico
  • A valid New Mexico driver’s/CDL license
CDL Knowledge Tests

All drivers must pass all required CDL Knowledge Tests for the desired Class and/or type of vehicle. Applicants who fail any one CDL Knowledge Test must wait one week before retesting; applicants may take any one CDL Knowledge Test three times within one-year. After that applicants must wait one year before retesting.

Any applicant found cheating or committing an offense during testing will have their CDL application or CDL license disqualified for one year and will be required to obtain a Class D license if holding a CDL.

Skills Tests

After obtaining a CDL Learner’s Permit, you may inquire where to take the Required Skills Test in your area. The test is comprised of Pre-Trip, Basic Control Skills, and Road Testing. It is administered by a third-party examiner, and will normally take two hours. Applicants who so not pass the skills test must wait one week to retest; you can take the skills test three times within a one-year period.

Each part of the Knowledge and Skills Test is graded independently; a passing score is 80% or higher.

Medical Certifications

Applicants who do not have a current, valid DOT Medical Certificate on record must submit a copy of a medical certificate.


Skills tests are administered by appointment at CDL offices only; most organizations hire third-party examiners to administer the exam. The DMV also licenses private Commercial Driving Schools.

When you apply, you will provide a list all states where you have held any commercial or non-commercial driver’s license in the past 10 years. Your driving history will be checked in each state. All commercial drivers must meet the requirements for a Nevada driver’s license.

Upon request you will likely be asked to submit a Medical Examiner’s Certificate and take a physical exam. If one is required, you must obtain it from a physician listed in the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

School Buses

School bus drivers must have a CDL if  driving a vehicle designed to transport 16+ people.  School bus drivers must have a school bus endorsement (S) in addition to a passenger endorsement (P) on their CDL. To obtain this endorsement, you must pass a knowledge test and a skills test for your class of school bus.

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About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.

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