The Texas Commercial Driver License (CDL) Third Party Skills Testing (TPST) program was implemented in April 2017. The TPST program authorizes qualified companies certified by the Department to administer the driving skills examination for Class A, B, and C CDL applicants.
Certified CDL Third Party Skills Testing Providers are essential to the CDL program for the state of Texas. A certified TPST provider is a company authorized by the Department to administer CDL skills tests to its students and/or employees. To conduct CDL skills testing, a certified TPST provider must have a Designated Responsible Person and an Examiner certified by the Department. The certified TPST provider is responsible for submitting an application to the Department for both a Designated Responsible Person and an Examiner. All applicants for the CDL TPST Program must comply with the directives set forth by the Department.
Note: A skills test examiner, who is also a skills instructor either as a part of a school, training program or otherwise, is prohibited from administering a skills test to an applicant if they provided training to that applicant.
Who is eligible to become a CDL TPST Provider?
A company that wants to become a CDL TPST Provider must meet the following minimum requirements on the application checklist (CDL-14):
- Maintain one permanent, regularly occupied structure located within the state of Texas with an address recognized by the U.S. Postal Service.
- Evidence of owning or leasing one Class A or B Commercial Motor Vehicle with a current vehicle inspection and registration.
- Evidence of having been in continual operation for at least 365 days immediately preceding the date of application.
- Certification of basic control skills pad and skills test route by the Department.
- Provide a valid and operational publicly listed Company phone number.
- Not owe any delinquent fees to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
- Proof of surety bond in the applicant's name in the amount of $25,000 for each examiner employed (CDL-18).
- Proof of General Business Liability Insurance or surety bond with minimum coverage of at least $1,000,000.00.
- Proof of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance coverage or surety bond on vehicles utilized for testing with the minimum coverage of at least $1,000,000.00.
- Application for a Designated Responsible Person and Examiner (if one is not already on file).
Who is eligible to become a Designated Responsible Person or a CDL TPST Examiner?
A Designated Responsible Person is a person selected by a Third Party Skills Testing Provider and certified by the Department to supervise examiners, and is responsible for all records and submission of reports.
An Examiner is an employee of a Third Party Skills Testing Provider who has been certified by the Department to administer skills tests to drivers applying for a Class A, B or C CDL.
The Designated Responsible Person and all Examiner(s) must have an application submitted to the Department by the CDL TPST provider and meet the following minimum requirements on the application checklist (CDL-16):
- Must be 21 years of age.
- Must have held a CDL for a minimum of three years at the time of application and currently hold a Texas commercial driver license with the appropriate classification and endorsements required for the operation of the CMV that will be used during testing.
Note: This is not required for a Designated Responsible Person application.
- Must be domiciled in Texas.
Note: This is not required for current and active duty military or spouses.
- Have not been employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety within the previous 365 days.
- Must submit a complete certified abstract driver record with the application.
- Must complete a state and federal criminal background check.
- Complete and pass three (3) co-scoring check rides.
- Complete the required examinations for certification.
The potential CDL TPST Provider must submit the following information (click on below link to print form) to start the application process:
- Texas CDL Third Party Skills Testing Provider Application (CDL-13)
- Texas CDL Third Party Examiner Application for each examiner and Designated Responsible Person (CDL-15)
- CDL Third Party Memorandum of Understanding (CDL-21)
After receiving a conditional approval, the Program Review Section will provide informational materials for route establishment guidelines, and notify the Designated Responsible Person to submit the route certification form and required supporting documentation.
Once the CDL TPST Provider has submitted this information, the Driver License Division (DLD) Program Review Section will review all the information for accuracy and provide any feedback for changes, if necessary. The Designated Responsible Person must then make any necessary changes and submit the updated application to Program Review for final approval.
The Designated Responsible Person and any examiners must undergo a federal criminal history background check. Any examiners must also submit a certified abstract driving record. Program Review evaluates the records, and notifies the Designated Responsible Person of approval. Information regarding the background check process may be found on the CDL-15 form.
Upon approval by Program Review, the Designated Responsible Person is notified the examiner(s) must attend a 40 hour examiner training course. The course is scheduled by the Department. All examiners must pass the written and check ride examinations to complete the certification process.
At this time, the Designated Responsible Person is also notified to submit the route certification form for a primary and alternate skills exam route. The routes must be certified by Department personnel.
After receiving approval from Program Review for the examiner(s), Designated Responsible Person, and route certifications, a TPST provider may become certified.
All applications must be sent to the DLD Program Review Section either by email or by mail.
5805 N Lamar
Austin, TX 78752-0300
If you have any compliance concerns about a CDL Third Party Skills Testing (TPST) Provider, you can send an email to TPST_Inquiries@dps.texas.gov. In the body of the email, please provide a concise statement of the nature of the concern or complaint, including all relevant facts.