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The commercial driver’s license – how to get it and how much it costs in 2024

>A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a key authorization in the TSL industry, constituting an important element in the fight against the shortage of professional drivers on the market. In this article, we will discuss how much a commercial driver’s license costs and present all the necessary steps and requirements that interested candidates must meet in 2024.

What kind of driver’s license is needed to drive a truck?

In Poland, in order to drive a truck professionally, you need a category C or C+E driver’s license. The main difference between these categories pertains to the weight of the trailer that can be connected to the tractor.

  • Category C allows you to drive trucks weighing more than 3.5 tons combined with a light trailer whose permissible total weight does not exceed 750 kg
  • Category C+E extends these rights to include the authorization to drive a truck and a trailer with a total weight exceeding 750 kg

However, what is more important from a practical point of view, C+E driver’s license holders can drive combinations of vehicles consisting of a tractor unit and a semi-trailer. That is, a standard set used in international transport.

What does the TIR abbreviation mean?

The term TIR comes from the name of the customs convention, whose original French name is Transport International Routier (International Road Transport). In everyday language, however, it is customary to refer to this as a truck set consisting of a tractor and a semi-trailer.

At what age can you apply for a commercial driver’s license?

It is possible to take up training for a category C and C+E driving license after reaching the age of 21. However, people who have completed an initial qualification course can start studying as early as 18 years of age. This is important information for those who plan to start their career in transport early. Reducing the minimum age required to start training allows young people to enter the labour market faster and gain valuable experience, which may contribute to faster professional development in the transport industry.

Commercial driver’s license – requirements

To become a truck driver, you have to meet a number of requirements. These are primarily:

  • reaching the appropriate age
  • holding a category B driver’s license
  • passing medical and psychological exams confirming the lack of contraindications to driving a truck
  • creating a Driver Candidate Profile (PKK) – it will be necessary to submit a colour photo measuring 3.5×4.5 cm
  • obtaining a professional qualification certificate by completing the appropriate exam

Candidates for truck drivers must be aware that renewing medical and psychological tests every 5 years is necessary to maintain the validity of the acquired licenses.

How to obtain a C/C+E driver’s license – step by step

The process of obtaining a CDL begins with signing up for a course at a selected driving school. After completing the theoretical and practical course, candidates take the state examination at the Provincial Road Traffic Centre. Theoretically, you can take a course for category C+E after passing the exam for category C. In practice, it is possible to take a course for both categories. 

This process requires candidates not only to understand road traffic regulations, but also to have knowledge of issues related to safety, operating trucks and basic skills in vehicle mechanics.

Professional Qualification Certificate

In order to obtain the CDL, you have to obtain a Professional Qualification Certificate. This can be done by completing a specialized course and passing a state exam consisting of 30 questions – 20 basic section questions, 10 specialized section questions.

How much does a CDL cost?

The cost of obtaining a CDL may vary and depends on many factors, including the selected driving school and region. Typically, the cost of training for category C+E ranges from PLN 3,000 to PLN 5,000. A combined course for categories C and C+E, will cost you around PLN 6,500. This amount should also include additional fees, such as:

  • cost of obtaining category B licenses
  • medical and psychological tests – approx. PLN 350
  • state exam – PLN 245
  • costs of initial qualification – approx. PLN 2,000 or accelerated initial qualification – approx. PLN 1,500

It may be possible to reduce the costs associated with obtaining a CDL through various types of funding and subsidies that are intended to encourage potential candidates to obtain the qualifications needed to start a career in the transport sector.

Advantages of the CDL

Obtaining a CDL is the path that opens the door to a career in the TSL industry. The process of obtaining appropriate authorizations requires an investment of time and money. However, the real benefits, including stable employment and a competitive salary, are worth it. Especially in the face of the current demand on the labour market in this sector of the economy.