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In Texas, the driver’s license classifications can be a bit confusing. 

This is because there are two sets with the same name. For example, you can either get a Non-commercial Class A or a commercial Class A license. 

What’s the difference between the two?

With our Texas driver’s license classifications guide, you will understand the different types of classes, what each type is allowed to drive, and the requirements for each class. 

Plus, we’ll include an FAQ section at the end. 

This way, you’ll be familiar with the classifications and won’t get confused on which one you should get. 

So let’s get started!

What are the License Classes in Texas?

Below is a list and a short description of each of the license classes issued in Texas:

Commercial Licenses

  • Class A

A Class A commercial license permits the holder to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, provided the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the trailer or any towed vehicle is more than 10,000 pounds.  

  • Class B

A Class B commercial license allows the holder to operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more and tow any vehicle with a GVWR not exceeding 10,000 pounds. Also, Class B commercial license holders can drive a vehicle that transports 24 passengers, including the driver. 

  • Class C

A Class C commercial license permits the holder to operate any single or combination of vehicles that do not fall under the definition of Classes A and B. It is mostly used to transport 16 to 23 passengers, including the driver, or carry hazardous materials. 

Non-Commercial Licenses

  • Class A

A Class A license allows the operator to drive vehicles with descriptions similar to that of a Class A commercial license, except that the vehicles should not be used for commercial purposes.   

  • Class B

A Class B license authorizes the holder to operate any of the following in a non-commercial way:

  1. A vehicle with a GVWR equal to or more than 26,001 pounds
  2. A vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more towing a vehicle or a farm trailer whose GVWR does not exceed 10,000 pounds or 20,000 pounds, respectively
  3. A bus designed to transport 24 or more passengers, including the driver  
  • Class C

Class C is the most common license. It authorizes the holder to operate any of the following in a non-commercial way:

  1. Single or combination of vehicles that do not fall under the definition of Class A or B 
  2. A vehicle with a GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds towing a vehicle or trailer with a GVWR under 20,000 pounds
  3. A vehicle that transports less than 24 passengers, including the driver
  4. An autocycle
  • Class M

A Class M license permits the holder to operate a motorcycle.

What are the Requirements for a Non-Commercial License in Texas?

To apply for a non-commercial driver’s license in Texas, you will need to pay a visit to the Driver License Office. 

To save time, the state’s Department of Public Safety encourages you to use the online application checklist to help you determine what documents to bring. 

Upon completing the required documents, proceed with the following steps:

  • Application form
  • Proof of US citizenship or legal presence
  • Proof of residency in Texas
  • Proof of identity
  • Social Security number
  • Pay the application fee. ($16 for applicants under 18, $33 for applicants aged 18-84). 
  • Complete the thumbprint requirement.
  • Have your photo taken. 
  • Pass the vision test.
  • Pass the knowledge and driving skills test. 

Texas Teen Graduated Driver License Program

For teens aged 15-17, they first need to pass the two phases of the Texas Graduated License Program to be fully licensed. 

Phase one is the learner’s license, which allows teens to practice driving with a licensed adult. 

Below are the requirements to apply for a learner’s license:

  • Complete a driver’s education program from an approved provider. 
  • Schedule an appointment.
  • Visit a driver license office and submit the following documents:
  • Application form
  • Proof of US citizenship or lawful presence
  • Proof of residency in Texas
  • Proof of identity
  • Social Security number
  • Texas Vehicle Registration
  • Driver’s Ed completion certificate
  • Verification of Enrollment and Attendance, high school diploma or GED
  • Provide your signature and thumbprints.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay the $16 application fee. 
  • Pass the vision test. 

Phase two is the provisional driver’s license, which you will earn upon holding your learner’s license for at least six months. 

To apply for a provisional driver’s license, you must satisfy the following qualifications:

  • You must be 16 to 17 years old. 
  • You have completed the mandatory behind-the-wheel training, which is 14 hours of in-car observation and learning with an instructor, and 30 hours of driving practice with a licensed adult. 
  • You have completed the Impact Texas Teen Driver Program at least 90 days before your skills test. 
  • You must pass your driving skills test. 

The application process for a provisional driver’s license is similar to that of a learner’s license except for additional required documents. 

Your provisional driver’s license will expire on your 18th birthday. You will need to renew it 30 days before its expiry date. You will then receive a driver’s license for individuals under the age of 21, which is already an unrestricted license.  

What are the Requirements for a Commercial License in Texas?

To be eligible for a Texas CDL, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • You have a valid Class C driver’s license (non-commercial)
  • You have held a Commercial Learner’s Permit for at least 14 days. 

Similar to the above application procedures, you will also need to book an appointment at a driver’s license office and submit your commercial license application form, along with the required documents. 

Upon passing the knowledge test, you can schedule your driving skills test at any testing location. Remember, you must have held your CLP for 14 days before you can take this test which consists of a vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control, and road tests. 

Texas Driver’s License Classification FAQs

Is driver’s ed required in Texas?

Yes, it is mandatory for license applicants who are between 14 and 25 years old. 

Can I take online driver’s ed in Texas?

Yes. The state of Texas authorizes online driver’s education courses. 

Below are some online driver’s ed schools we highly recommend:

DriversEd.com remains the number one online driving school in the US. It boasts a 99% pass rate and has over 8,000 satisfied customer reviews on Trustpilot. Despite its high-quality program offerings, its course fees are affordable and cost only around $60.

Aceable.com is the rookie in the online driver’s ed market.

Texas Driver's License Classifications Aceable

What Aceable lacks in experience, though, it makes up for through its innovative courses. Its online Texas parent-taught driver’s ed costs only about $60 and already includes access to its official mobile app, which makes it possible for you to learn on the go. 

iDriveSafely.com is yet another highly trusted online driving school in the country. It is best known for its straightforward courses that are fast and easy. Its parent-taught driver’s ed also costs around $60 and includes some of the best resources for one-on-one parent-teen guidance.

What vehicles do not require CDL in Texas?

Drivers who operate the following vehicles are exempt from applying for a CDL in Texas:

  • Recreational vehicles that are driven for personal use
  • Cotton-seed modules or cotton burrs
  • Fire-fighting or emergency vehicle
  • Military vehicle
  • Vehicles controlled, leased, or owned by air carriers

How long are driver’s licenses valid in Texas?

A Texas driver’s license is valid for up to eight years for holders aged 18 and above.

Conclusion

In Texas, the type of vehicle, its gross weight vehicle rating, and the purpose of the vehicle dictates the license class.  

Now that you understand the Texas driver’s license classifications, it will be less confusing for you when you apply for your license. 

So we hope that this article has been a great help!

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