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How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL?

Prior to 2022 getting a CDL was relatively short and simple. Today it takes longer, and in some cases much longer, depending on what type of program is used.

It’s Not Like It Used To Be

You have probably heard that the requirements to obtain a CDL changed in 2022. Prior to February 7, 2022 getting a CDL was relatively short and simple. Today it takes longer, and in some cases much longer, depending on what type of program is used.

Due to a new federal requirement, in order to secure a CDL today you must complete Entry Level Driver’s Training (ELDT) prior to taking the skills test and being licensed. ELDT must be completed by a company who is a registered training provider in the FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).

The ELDT program is comprised of two parts: theory instruction and behind-the-wheel (BTW) training. Once you have completed the ELDT theory portion of the training you can take your CDL learner’s permit test at your local DMV. After you complete the ELDT behind-the-wheel training you can take your CDL skills test and obtain your CDL license.

How Long Does It Take?

ELDT Theory Training

The ELDT theory portion of the training takes up to 40 hours to complete.  It can be done in a classroom setting with in-person instruction or via an online course. If taken online it can be completed in less than five days depending on how many hours per day you spend on it and how fast you learn.  You can complete the ELDT theory training from the comfort of your own home on your computer or smart phone by taking our Online CDL Course.

CDL Permit Test

Once you have completed the ELDT theory course you can take your CDL permit test. This can be done in one day because you should not need to study for it because you will have learned everything you need to know to prepare you for it through the theory course.

ELDT Behind-the-Wheel (BTW) Training

After you have completed the ELDT theory training and obtained your learner’s permit, you can schedule your ELDT behind-the-wheel training. This stage is where the time requirement varies widely.

Most CDL training companies offer 4-6 week ELDT BTW training programs, and some take up to 8 weeks or more to complete.  These courses typically offer group training where 4-6 students are taught by one instructor and most of the time is spent watching someone else drive.

Some training providers such as this one offer one-on-one training and can therefore do the same amount of behind-the-wheel training in just one week because nearly 100% of the time is spend driving instead of watching others drive.

CDL Skills Test

Once the BTW training has been completed, you can schedule your CDL skills test at a DMV or a Third Party Examiner after you have had your permit for 15 days. You must wait at least two days after you schedule your test to take it per federal law.

So How Long Does It Take To Get A CDL Start To Finish?

  • ELDT theory training: as little as 5 days or less
  • CDL permit test: 1 day
  • ELDT behind-the-wheel training: as little as 5 days if you take a one-on-one program
  • Waiting period after scheduling CDL skills test: 2 days
  • Waiting period after getting CDL permit before taking skills test: 15 days (ELDT training can be completed during this 15 day period)
  • CDL skills test: 1 day

So, adding it all up, if you are motivated and work hard and can get all the training and tests scheduled without delay, you could obtain a CDL in as little as three to four weeks.


In summary, if you do not currently have your CDL permit, or if you got it after February 7, 2022, you must do the following to obtain a CDL.

  1. Complete the ELDT Theory Curriculum, which you can do online from home on your own schedule here.
  2. Obtain your CDL learner’s permit from your local DMV.
  3. Complete the ELDT Behind-the-Wheel Training (BTW) at an approved training provider (if you need help finding one, contact us and we will find one in your area).
  4. Take your CDL driver’s test at a state licensing center or a Third Party Examiner.

If you have any questions, just contact us, and we can help you through the whole process.

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