In the state of Tennessee, a person needs a Class F endorsement if their primary job is to drive or transport people or property in a Class D vehicle. A Class F endorsement, or “for-hire endorsement,” is an endorsement on a person’s Tennessee driver license.
A Class D vehicle is any vehicle or combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less. This means regular vehicles, such as passenger vehicles like a 4-door sedan, pick-up trucks and vans.
When a For-Hire Endorsement Is Needed
Certain drivers in Tennessee should add the Class F endorsement to their Class D (regular) license.
A Class D driver's license with a Class F endorsement is a bridge between a regular driver’s license needed for private transportation and a commercial driver’s license needed for large trucks and buses.
In some situations, a driver may not be required by law to have the for-hire endorsement, but their employer may require them to get the endorsement for insurance or safety purposes.
D Vehicles and F Endorsement Test
A Class D vehicle must abide by certain rules. It must not be used to:
- Transport hazardous materials that, by law, must be placarded. (In order for a vehicle to transport hazardous materials, the vehicle must have a placard attached to the back stating that the vehicle is transporting hazardous materials.)
- Transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver.
- As a school bus to transport children to and from school for compensation.
Two tests are required to get a Class F endorsement: a vision test and a 25-question multiple choice knowledge test. Tennessee Driver Services are offered by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. A person should take the Class F endorsement vision and knowledge tests at their local Driver Services office.
Eligibility Requirements for Class F Endorsement
To add the Class F endorsement, a driver must:
- Meet the eligibility requirements.
- Pass the appropriate tests.
- Pay a fee of $4.50.
An individual may apply for a Class F endorsement if they meet these eligibility requirements:
- Age. They are at least 18 years old or 16 years of age if the vehicle they are hired to drive is owned by the applicant’s family business to conduct deliveries of goods and products exclusively for the family business.
- Driving Experience. They have two years of unrestricted driving experience. “Unrestricted driving experience” means driving on all types of roads, typically with a Class D (regular) driver license.
- Character. There is no challenge concerning their good character, competency and fitness to be employed driving a Class D vehicle with a for-hire endorsement.
- Vehicle. They will be operating a Class D vehicle.
Required Documents for Class F Endorsement
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship. This could include an official birth certificate issued by a U.S. state or jurisdiction or proof of legal presence in the U.S.
- Name Changes. Proof of any name changes if the individual’s name is different from the name on their proof of U.S. citizenship or legal present. Examples include a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order.
- Tennessee Residency. Two proofs of Tennessee residency showing the individual’s name and resident address. Examples include a current paycheck or pay stub if the individual’s address is included or a current Tennessee voter registration. P.O. boxes are not acceptable. One proof must be dated within the last four months.
- SSN. Proof of the individual’s full Social Security number, such as their Social Security card, IRS form 1099 or W-2 form.
Documents must be originals or certified, not photocopies.
Commercial Driver's License
An individual needs a commercial driver license (CDL) to drive large and complex vehicles such as semitrucks. Such drivers may need a Class A, B or C driver's license depending on the gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating and the goods or substances being transported.
- A/57 License. Some drivers must get an A/57 license. This is for drivers who do not need a Class A license, but who haul 10,001 pounds or more. Drivers who need an A/57 license include those who use a F450 pickup truck to haul a trailer weighing at least 10,001 pounds or an electric department truck hauling a 10,001-pound forklift on a flatbed trailer.
Commercial Motor Vehicles
Tennessee defines a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as any vehicle or combination of vehicles that weigh over 26,000 pounds. A temporary driver's license does not cover driving any type of CMV. A driver also needs a CDL to transport hazardous materials; more than 15 passengers including the driver; or a school bus.
CDL Required Tests
A person who wants to get a CDL must take the CDL general knowledge test. This test is unique from the test for a Class D license and from the vision and knowledge tests required for the Class F endorsement.
The applicant must also take a CDL road skills test. These tests are offered only at CDL road skills test locations, not at ordinary Driver Service offices. CDL skills test centers include the:
- Chattanooga Driver Service Center in Bonny Oaks
- Knoxville Driver Service Center in Strawberry Plains
- Davidson County Driver Service Center on Hart Lane
Medical Card Requirements
A person needs a valid U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card to apply for a CDL. This is in addition to the documents required to apply for a Class F endorsement on a Class D license.
Employees of a government entity such as the U.S. Department of Education must have a current, valid DOT medical card if they apply for a CDL with a HazMat (H), passenger (P) or school bus (S) endorsement.
Tests for Additional Endorsements
Other endorsements available for a CDL include those for a tank vehicle and double/triple trailers. Required tests for endorsements on a CDL license are:
- Double/triple trailers require a knowledge test.
- Passenger requires a knowledge and skills test.
- Tank vehicle requires a knowledge test.
- Hazardous materials requires a knowledge test.
- School bus requires a knowledge and skills test.
- Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security: F Endorsement Criteria
- Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security: Class D License With F for-hire Endorsement
- Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security: Regular Driver License
- Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security: Commercial Driver License
- Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security: Driver Services, Required Documents
- Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security: Locations by Service
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.