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How to Get Your CDL in District of Columbia and Hawaii

Written by Sheryl Posnick

This article is useful for anyone who wants to get your CDL in District of Columbia or Hawaii. If you want to learn about earning a CDL at other states, we have put together a comprehensive guide on how to get a commercial driver’s license in every state of the country.

District of Columbia

Before you apply for a CDL, you must possess a noncommercial driver’s license and then get a CDL learner’s permit. A learner’s permit allows you to drive a commercial vehicles if accompanied by someone with a valid CDL for that class.

SEE ALSO: How to Get Your CDL in Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois

Getting Your CDL

Schedule your CDL road test by visiting the online services road test appointment scheduler.

When you take the CDL road test, you must bring along a driver with a valid CDL of at least the same class as the vehicle you’ll be driving. You must also bring the following items to your CDL road test appointment:

  • A valid District of Columbia driver’s license
  • A CDL learner’s permit
  • A valid and stamped U.S. Department of Transportation medical certification card
  • An empty vehicle for testing that is the same type as your chosen CDL class, and a valid registration document
  • A valid driver’s license with a “G” (government) endorsement, if using a government vehicle

After you successfully complete the road test, you may apply to upgrade from your learner’s permit to a CDL.

Taking the Tests

The District of Columbia requires the following to get a CDL:

  • Applicants must correctly answer at least 80% of the questions to pass the knowledge test
  • Applicants must have enough on-road practice to pass the skills test in the commercial vehicle type that they wish to be licensed for


Hawaii is different from all other states in that you must be 21 years old to apply for a CDL.

Here are the steps you must take to apply for a CDL:

1. Provide a passport-type photo. in color.

2. Fill out a CDL application.

3. Provide a current driver’s license, Social Security card, and certified birth certificate.

4. Supply a DOT medical report.

5. Pass an eye exam.

6. Take and pass a written general knowledge test and any of the written endorsement exams.

After completing steps 1-6, you will be given a CDL instruction permit. This allows you to practice driving in the class of vehicle you intend to take your road test in under the supervision of a licensed commercial driver.

7. Finally, you can then schedule and take the skills test, or on-road driving test. The order of the tests is: pre-trip inspection; off-road; and road test.

In Hawaii, a CDL is valid for up to 8 years. After that, you need to renew it. If you’re 72 or older, you need to renew it every 2 years.

About the author

Sheryl Posnick

Sheryl Posnick is an editor and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the founder and president of Red Letter Content, an editorial company with a focus on educational, test preparation, and career readiness materials.