CDL Preparation

It is a great idea to get your CDL licensing prior to the start of your term. CDL testing /requirements vary from state-to-state so check your local DMV for specifics. Having a CDL license is required to graduate from NLC so getting this step out of the way before the start of your term will let you hit the ground running. If you do not know how to drive a vehicle with a standard transmission, that is a good place to start.


Electrical linework often requires the use of large, heavy equipment that must be driven to and from the job site. Because of this, most utility and construction companies require their lineworkers to possess a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL).  For this reason, to graduate from the Electrical Lineworker Program, students must obtain their Class A CDL License (Idaho campus) or CDL Learner’s Permit (California and Texas campuses) prior to graduation.
Rules and regulations for acquiring a Class A commercial driver’s license vary greatly from state to state, resulting in different CDL requirements for students, depending on campus. Please refer to the state requirements below to determine what is required to obtain a CDL or CDL permit in the states where NLC campuses are located.
While all students are required to obtain their Class A CDL license (Idaho campus), or Class A CDL Learner’s Permit (California and Texas campuses), prior to receiving their graduation certificate, students are strongly encouraged to obtain them prior to attending the Electrical Lineworker Program. Doing so helps ensure that there is no delay in obtaining the license or permit, due to lengthy processes in state DMV offices.

The video to the right will help you prepare for the CDL exam.

Below are the current state regulations to obtain a CDL that will apply to you if you wait to obtain your CDL until you get to campus, or if you happen to already be a resident of the state your campus is located in:


At the Idaho Campus, Northwest Lineman College offers on-campus CDL testing on NLC equipment.
For more detailed information on the listed steps, please visit:  

To obtain a Class A CDL with air brakes endorsement in the State of Idaho, one must:

  • Obtain a CDL manual at a DMV or at
  • Obtain a DOT medical card.
  • Visit the County Sheriffs DMV
  • Complete a Self Certification of Driving Category form.
  • Take the required written tests.
  • Obtain a Skills Test Receipt.
  • Obtain a CDL Instruction Permit.
  • Take the Skills Test.


Though this list contains the necessary steps, further detail is available at:

To obtain a Class A CDL Permit in the State of California, one must:

  • Visit a DMV office.
  • Complete a California Commercial Driver License Application (form DL 44C).
  • Complete a 10-Year History Record Check form.
  • Give a thumbprint.
  • Have a picture taken.
  • Provide verification of a Social Security number.
  • Verify birthday and legal presence.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Submit a completed Medical Examination Report (form DL 51).
  • Pass the traffic laws and sign tests for the class of vehicle that will be driven.


Though this list contains the necessary steps, further detail is available at

To obtain a Class A CDL Permit in the State of Texas, one must:

  • Apply in person at a driver license office.
  • Present the appropriate documents to verify identity.
  • Present documents to verify Texas residency.
  • Present evidence of a Social Security number.
  • Meet the self-certification of medical status by completing the Self-Certification Affidavit.
  • If applicable, meet the nonresident commercial requirements.
  • Present proof of Texas vehicle registration and liability insurance on all vehicles registered in the individual’s name.
  • Complete the Supplement Application Texas Commercial Driver License Certifications and Record of CDL Examination.
  • Consent to be photographed, fingerprinted, and provide a signature.
  • Pass the vision test.
  • Pass the knowledge and skills tests for the appropriate driver license, including endorsements.
  • Pay the required fee.
  • Provide a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for the driving test.