You must take the knowledge, skills, and vision tests when applying for an original commercial driver's license (CDL) or upgrading 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 CDL knowledge test at any SCDMV branch.
The CDL knowledge tests can be time consuming. The SCDMV does not allow a customer to test after 4:00 p.m.
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 carry 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
Written material or electronic devices of any kind, are not allowed in the knowledge test area.
CDL Skills Test
If you received your commercial learner's permit after February 7, 2022, you will need to complete an FMCSA approved ELDT training program to be eligible to take a 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 (CLP) was issued before you are eligible to take the skills test.
There are three parts to the CDL skills test. You must successfully complete the test in this order:;
- 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.
You must take the test in a vehicle that represents the type of CDL license you're applying for. The examiner will verify the class of vehicle by checking the manufactures plate. All vehicles used for the CDL skills test must have the manufacture plate to be used for testing. Only you and an SCDMV examiner are allowed in or around the vehicle during the test. If scheduling appointments for multiple individuals in a day and they intend to use the same vehicle, please do not schedule the appointments back-to-back.
Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. If you arrive 10 minutes after your appointment time, it may be cancelled.
Where can I take the CDL skills test?
If you are interested in taking your commercial license skills tests, you must make an appointment at an SCDMV branch able to accommodate this type of test.
If applying for a CDL, you must take your skills test at one of the following nine SCDMV branches, Monday through Friday.
- Columbia - Shop Road
- Greenville - Saluda Dam Road
- Myrtle Beach - Commons
- North Augusta
- Rock Hill
Valid Inspection Sticker
Unless exempt, every commercial motor vehicle (CMV) used in interstate commerce that weighs more than 10,000 pounds must have a valid inspection sticker. If a CMV does not have a valid inspection sticker, it does not meet qualifications, and you cannot take the skills test.
Retaking the Skills Test
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 during the initial issuance of the CLP and as long as the CLP is valid.
If you fail any portion of the skills test, it is $25 for another skills tests.
Once the test starts if you cannot complete any portion of the vehicle inspection or basic skills tests, 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 fail the CDL skills test on the first attempt, you must wait two business days to return. Example: John Doe was unsuccessful on his first attempt on Monday, December 2. He may return after waiting two business days on Thursday, December 5. Business days are defined as Monday-Friday.
If you fail on the second attempt, you must wait seven calendar days to retest.
If you fails on the third or subsequent attempts, you must wait 30 calendar days to retest.
FMCSA regulation 396.17