Some people, especially non-drivers, may think that it takes only one type of license to drive any vehicle.
However, there are different classes of licenses, each of which determines the type of vehicle the holder can operate.
For example, there are jobs that require you to drive a large truck or a bus, and that calls for a specific type of license.
These classifications are there to properly regulate licenses and ensure road safety.
Now, if you’re from the Bay State, you might be wondering what the license classifications in Massachusetts are.
We’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’re going to give you a complete 2022 guide on the Massachusetts driver’s license classifications, complete with requirements and FAQs.
So buckle up and let’s go!
What are the Driver’s License Types in Massachusetts?
There are five (5) driver’s license classes in the state of Massachusetts, namely:
- Class A (Commercial)
A Class A commercial license permits the holder to drive any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. The vehicle being towed should have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds. Holders of a Class A license can have all endorsements and can operate all vehicles that fall within Classes B, C, and D.
- Class B (Commercial)
A Class B commercial license permits the holder to drive any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is NOT more than 10,000 pounds. Holders of a Class B license can have all endorsements (except for Combination and Doubles/Triples) and can operate all vehicles that fall within Classes C and D.
- Class C (Commercial)
A Class C commercial license permits the holder to drive any single or combination vehicles that do not fall under Classes A or B. For example, vehicles that either carry 16 or more passengers or transport hazardous materials under any federal regulation. Holders of a Class C license can only possess endorsements for HAZMAT, tank, school bus, and passengers and can operate vehicles that fall within Class D.
- Class D (Non-Commercial)
A Class D license permits the holder to drive any single or combination vehicle that does not fall under all other classes. It is the most common type of license that allows you to operate SUVs, family vans, or small trucks. Remember, this license can only be used for personal purposes.
- Class M (Non-Commercial)
Finally, a class M license permits the holder to drive motorcycles. If you possess a Class D license in Massachusetts, you CAN’T opt for a Class M endorsement.
How to Obtain Your Driver’s License in Massachusetts?
Now that you understand the license types, let’s get into the requirements.
How to Get a Class D License
If you are a first-time driver in Massachusetts, you must first secure a learner’s permit. This will allow you to practice driving under supervision while you prepare for the road test.
To obtain a learner’s permit, you need to:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Pass a written exam to test your knowledge of the state’s motor vehicle laws and safe driving practices
In addition, you need to choose between a standard driver’s license/ID or a REAL ID driver’s license/ID.
The primary difference between the two is that the latter is a federally compliant card, which means you can use it to fly within the US or enter federal buildings. To know more about these two types of driver’s licenses/ID in Massachusetts, click here.
Once you have decided, you can start your application online and make an appointment at an RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) service center to submit the required documents.
Once you’re ready, you can then take the Learner’s Permit exam online. The fee is $30.
You will receive your login details, as well as test instructions once your application is processed. For more information, refer to this guide.
Note: applicants under 18 years of age must obtain written consent from their parents or legal guardians.
Once you turn 16 and a half or after you have held a learner’s permit for a minimum of six months, you will receive your Junior Operator License (JOL). This will allow you to drive unsupervised, subject to the following restrictions:
- You cannot use any mobile electronic device except in emergencies.
- You cannot drive with anyone under 18 other than an immediate family member unless you are accompanied by a license holder who is at least 21 years old and has at least one year of driving experience.
- You cannot drive between 12 AM and 5 AM unless supervised by your parents or guardian.
The restrictions will be lifted after six months or when you turn 18 years old, whichever comes earlier.
When you turn 18, you will then be eligible to apply for a full Class D driver’s license. However, you will need to satisfy the following:
- You have completed a driver’s education program from an approved provider.
- You have completed 40 hours of supervised driving. Your parent or guardian should have completed two hours of instruction on the driver’s ed curriculum.
- You have to pass a road test
You can schedule your road test online by clicking here. The road test fee is $35.
On the day of your road test, you need to bring your completed application and learner’s permit. A fully licensed sponsor who is at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience must accompany you on a legally registered vehicle to the road test. Once you pass the test, the examiner will put a stamp on your permit, which will serve as your temporary driver’s license while you wait for your actual license.
How to Get a CDL (Class A, B, C)
To be eligible for a CDL in Massachusetts, you must meet the minimum age requirements – 18 for intrastate and 21 for interstate transport. You also need to secure a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) first.
Below are the requirements for a CLP:
- Valid Class D license
- Proof of citizenship or lawful presence in the US
- Proof of Social Security number
- Proof of residence
On top of that, you must meet the minimum medical requirements, pass the knowledge test, and go through other relevant exams for the license class you are applying for.
You may start your application online, visit an RMV center to submit the requirements, and pay the relevant fees.
The CLP will expire 180 days after the date of issue.
Once you’re ready, you can schedule a road test. After passing, you will need to visit an RMV service center to claim your CDL.
How to Get a Class M License
To qualify for a Class M license in MA, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- You are at least 16 years old and a resident of Massachusetts.
- You must NOT have a driver’s license or learner’s permit, as well as any outstanding obligation in any state.
- You must meet the minimum medical requirements for Classes D and M.
- You can start your application online and visit an RMV service center to submit the required documents.
- You must secure a learner’s permit by passing a knowledge exam.
- After holding a learner’s permit, you need to pass a Class M road test or take the Motorcycle Rider Education program to obtain a motorcycle license.
How long is a Massachusetts driver’s license valid for?
A Massachusetts driver’s license is valid for five years. Your first license, however, will expire on your fifth birthday after the issue date. You can renew it up to one year before its expiration date.
Can I take online driver’s ed in Massachusetts?
The state of Massachusetts unfortunately has not authorized online driver’s ed. You will need to complete classroom education at a public high school or professional driving school. You can still sign up for online driver’s ed, though, either for educational purposes or if you want to qualify for an auto insurance discount.
DriversEd has trained over 13 million drivers across the country, and through the years, it has consistently received high customer ratings and positive reviews. It is also BBB-accredited and has excellent customer service.
What are the driver’s education requirements in Massachusetts?
The state requires all new license applicants to complete 40 hours of classroom education on Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Law, as well as Safe and Proper Operation of a Vehicle. An 18-hour in-vehicle training is also mandatory. It must include 12 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and 6 hours of observation.
How long will it take to receive my Massachusetts driver’s license?
After passing the road test, your permanent adult driver’s license will arrive in the mail within four weeks.
Apart from regulation purposes, driver’s license classifications help to keep roads safe.
Granting different types of licenses is a way of ensuring drivers only drive the vehicles they are qualified to operate.
You wouldn’t want an unqualified driver to operate a school bus that transports your family member to and from school, would you?
So because of that, it’s important to understand the Massachusetts driver’s license qualifications. As well as know what the requirements for each one are.
We hope that this article has been a great help!