You must take the knowledge, skills, and vision tests when you apply for an original commercial driver's license or upgrade to a different class of license.
CDL Knowledge Tests
The type of knowledge tests you must pass depends on the type of commercial vehicle you intend to drive and the cargo you expect to carry. You may take the commercial driver's license (CDL) knowledge test at any SCDMV branch.
- 4 p.m. if you want to take the general knowledge test or up to two endorsement tests
- 3 p.m. if you want to take three knowledge tests (the general knowledge test and up to two endorsement tests)
There are no CDL tests offered on Saturdays.
You will find more information on the CDL knowledge test below:
- General Knowledge - All CDL applicants
- Combination Vehicles - Class A combination vehicles
- Air Brakes - If your vehicle has air brakes. (If you do not take this test, you may only drive vehicles without air brakes and be given a K restriction).
- Passenger Transport - If you operate vehicles designed to carry at least 16 people.
- Hazardous Materials - If you want to haul hazardous materials or waste requiring placarding.
- School Bus - If you want to transport pre-primary, primary, or secondary school students from home to school, from school to home, or to and from school-sponsored events.
- Tanker -If you want to haul liquids or gas within a tank or tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis.
- Doubles/Triples - If you want to pull double or triple trailers
The South Carolina Driver’s Handbook, CDL Manual, or other testing aids cannot be used while taking the knowledge test. You will fail the test if you use a testing aid, use a cell phone, camera, or talk during the test.
CDL Skills Test
You may hear a skills test called a road test.
You must wait 14 days from the date your original commercial learner’s permit was issued before you are eligible to take the road test.
There are three parts to the commercial driver's license (CDL) skills test. You must successfully complete the test in this order:
- Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
- Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test
- On-Road Driving Test
Do not schedule a skills test until you are prepared to pass all three parts. Study the CDL Manual for the test.
Where can I take the commercial driver's license skills test?
If you are applying for a commercial driver's license (CDL) you must take your skills test at one of nine designated SCDMV branches Monday through Friday.
- Columbia – Shop Road
- Greenville – Saluda Dam Road
- Myrtle Beach - Commons
- North Augusta
- Rock Hill
Unless exempt, the SCDMV examiner must verify that every commercial motor vehicle used in interstate commerce that weighs more than 10,000 pounds has a valid inspection sticker. If a commercial vehicle does not have a valid inspection sticker, it does not meet qualifications and you cannot take the test.
Retaking the Skills Test
If you have commercial learner’s permit (CLP), you are not eligible to take the commercial driver's license (CDL) skills test until the 15th day after the initial issuance of their first CLP. You must pass all portions of the CDL skills test in sequential order. You may receive credit (bank scores) for portions of the CDL skills test that are successfully completed.
If you fail any portion of the skills test, it is $25 for another skills tests.
If you cannot complete any portion of the pre-trip or basic skills tests once it starts for reasons beyond your control such as inclement weather, the vehicle fails, or the examiner gets sick, the $25 fee will not be charged when you return.
Return Times if you Fail the Skills Test
If you do not have previous driving experience and you fail a skills test on your first or second attempt, you must wait two weeks to be retested, regardless of your age.
If you have previous driving experience (held a former commercial driver's license) and fail a skills test on your first or second attempt, you must wait one week to be retested, regardless of age. Holding a commercial learner's permit does not count as former driving experience.
If you fail a skills test on the third attempt or after, you must wait 60 days to be retested.
FMCSA regulation 396.17