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What can I drive with my Class 3?

First of all, in Alberta, you can’t get a class 3 license until you have held your class 7 for one year, then driven with your class 5 GDL (graduated driver license) for 2 years. Then you take an “exit ” exam to clear the GDL off your class 5.   Once you finish doing that, then your Class 5 becomes your learner license in Alberta for all other classes of license, even motorbikes. You can’t upgrade to 4,3,2, or 1 until you clear off the GDL.

The funny diversion is you don’t even need to upgrade from class 5 to make some serious cash driving in the oilfield. There are a number of service jobs, and delivery services that work some crazy hours and miles on a class 5. Class 5 drivers are often driving vehicles capable of grossing out at 17,000 kg in a f450 and a gooseneck trailer. I hope they are careful drivers, because that kind of weight can be difficult to stop with electric brakes on the trailer, and could easily push beyond the braking capability of the truck. That’s why some provinces have the restriction that the trailer weight can’t be too heavy for the truck pulling it. As long as you only have a two axle vehicle pulling a trailer with no air brakes, you will only need a class 5 license in Alberta. If you were a Saskatchewan resident, you would need a class one for pulling the heavy trailers. BC residents need an extra endorsement for pulling heavy trailers or recreational fifth wheels.

A class 4 driver’s license is for commercial people carrying functions, like taxis, limos, small buses (max 24 passenger), driver instruction. It requires a medical examination to apply for a class 4.

A class 3 license is for driving a property carrying truck with 3 axles. Typically they have Air Brakes, so the driver will have to have a Q endorsement to drive these trucks. They may pull a trailer without Air Brakes. Once the trailer involves air brakes, then the driver needs a class one with air brake training and a medical examination. A mechanic might have a class 3 license so he can test drive a bobtail tractor. Every class of license involves a written exam that most of us would fail if we don’t prepare properly for the exam.

Class 2 is for driving the big buses. It requires a medical and air brakes, and is good for for driving the class 3 trucks and the ambulance (class 4), and the big buses and coaches. Fireman often acquire this license so they can operate both ambulances and straight body trucks.

Currently there is no distinction whether you take your class 1 on an automatic or standard shift truck to acquire your Class 1 license. you simply need a tractor or a truck pulling an air brake equipped trailer to qualify  for class 1. You must pass a written exam, a driver’s medical and air brake endorsement before you perform your road test for Class 1.

This is kind of different in North America than in Europe. The highest class of license that can operate just about everything except motorbikes is the class 1, the truck driving license. In Europe it is the Bus/coach driving license that is the higher class. I guess people are more important over there.



72 Responses to What can I drive with my Class 3?

  1. At 65, Capilano helped me complete my goal to learn how to drive a tractor trailer. Garry and Barry were my main instructors and their incredible knowledge and experence coupled with their patience paved the way for my successful completion of the class one road test. The fellas accommodated my need to analyze what I was doing and they explained in detail ” why”. The little money invested in the course will reap huge returns for me. Dale and John run a professional business and should be recognized for their contribution in making trucking a safe industry.

    • Depending on which version of Class 3, I would estimate $2000.00, depending on your ability. Do you have air brake training and endorsement already? our classroom courses average $200 a day, depending on which course. Thank you for considering Capilano Truck Driver Training!

    • I believe you are asking this from the USA. the Alberta Class three is comparable to the Class C in the States. that is to drive Heavy Straight trucks. The Class B AMerican style, would be an Alberta Class 2, which means you can drive Coaches and buses, people carrying vehicles, and Heavy straight trucks as well. does this answer your query?

    • The best we can do at night is from 5 – 7 pm. we teach air brakes on the weekend, and the written test has to be done at the registry, which can be done on Saturdays. what do you think?
      I also have to ask if you can back up a trailer? that is a very important skill that can redue your expense of training.

  2. Hi I’m planing on taking your class 3 or class 1 course in the near future, but I have some questions. I’ve never drove anything bigger than a 3 ton cube van and don’t have much experience backing up a trailer but am confident with my driving skill and think I could learn quickly with the right teacher. I’m only 20 years old, just got into the transportation industry about 6 month ago, loved big rigs my whole life and moved to Alberta to follow a dream.. But my question is do you think I should start out with my class 3 and get more experience driving bigger rigs or jump right in a get my class 1?

    • if you’re confident about backing a trailer, gather $2000-3000 and you will probably be successful in about 2-3 weeks for either your class one or class three. Start by taking the air brake course, a written exam and carry on from there.

  3. Hi,

    You mention above that a class 5 can still be used to make some decent cash in the oilfield. I’m up in Slave Lake and looking at a career change. Could you point me in the direction of some of the better companies? Email would be fine. Eventually I’d like to go for my class 1 but I want to get my feet wet. I’ve got a clean record in all aspects.

  4. I just wondering what is the procedure to get the driver instructor corse? Does it have a road test too? If so can you pls explain it Thx Dale

  5. I was wondering I am a 44 yr old women and would like to get into hauling in water truck and steamer units, what would I have to do. I also just here from Sask, would I have to get alberta license first?

    • Hello Rob,

      You can try Alberta Works, but we do not offer funding here at Capilano. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  6. Hi,I’m from Israel and I want to emigrate to alberta
    I have class c how can I work in Alberta with this license?
    Your answer is very important thanks

    • Hello,
      You would need to switch your license over to an Alberta driver’s license before working here. You would have to contact an Alberta Registry to find out what they would transfer your license to.

  7. Hello ,

    I have had my class 1 UK licence for 6 years and my straight truck licence for 8 years. I am currently driving 40-50 hours a week.

    what sort of price and package would be for me ? I would need the usual certificates to go with the licences.

    what sort of time scale to complete? I have a visa accepted and a work permit which is processing and will be complete in 3-4 weeks time.

    I am looking at dump truck work and vac work.

    thanks for your time


    • Less than 2000 dollars. Bring a letter confirming 2 years driving and you will convert your license to a car (license to a Canadian class 5 ) then study air brakes one day then write knowledge exams for both Air brakes and class 3, then pass a road exam for class three. After you establish residency by proving your living arrangements here. Reference service Alberta Registries for details. They are all little private shops doing government work.

  8. I have my class 5 Alberta Licence and I have been in Canada 3 years and I have been driving a shift stick vehicle since I was 17 and I am now 44.
    I am looking at getting my class 1 and air brakes licence.
    Could you give me some idea of cost and timelines.
    I work fulltime in Edmonton.

    • Hello Mark,

      Our courses are all listed on our website. For booking, just simply call 780-463-9664 for a start date. We’re usually about 2-3 weeks behind.

  9. Hi, I’m wondering. Taking a class one course, if I take it in an automatic, does that mean I’ll have a restriction on my license? I’m from Alberta, I’m a bit weary.

    • Hi Darren,

      Alberta does not have that restriction in place yet, for licensing. If you pass on the Automatic, your license will not reflect that.

    • in alberta there is no restriction on your license. if you move in the near future to another province, they may not transfer it straight across without restriction.

  10. Quick question for you…..I have a Class 1 licence from the UK…my question is how long would it take to get my Class 1 Canadian, I already have my medical done. Any advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    • As soon as you establish residency in Alberta, you will acquire a Class 5 alberta license. then we can proceed with truck training and examination. There are no other shortcuts, it all starts with the Class 5 license

  11. Hi, I’m looking at applying for a firefighter position in the city and one of their prerequisites is a class 3 license with the Q. Would this be the only course for me to take even though I won’t be driving tractor trailers? Also was wondering how the road test for the registry would work. Do they do them through your company?

    • Yes we train for class 3 license. We also train class 2, which would allow you to drive the ambulance. Either would cost you between $1000-$1500 approximately, depending on your ability.

  12. Hey! I’ve been looking for a class 3 hub where jobs exclusive to class 3
    Drivers might be posted.
    So far the class 1 postings have drowned out the class 3.
    Is there a class 3 resource center for class 3 drivers?
    I haven’t found one myself but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist.
    Could you please write an article detailing market analysis for class 3 job types?
    I think water truck, gravel truck, Hydrovac, boom lift truck, and delivery vehicle fall under class 3 but we need a professional center for class 3 apprentices training for class 1 upgrade.

    • The problem with Class 3 jobs is that quite often they are industry specific. the sheer volume of Class 1 jobs is bound to drown out the Class three offerings. the Class 3 is often dedicated to distribution facilities , rather than trucking companies. Lumber yards, dairies, bakeries, concrete mixer , construction, service providers, utilities, road crews, and the oilfield. all of these possibilities hardly hold a candle to flatdecks, tankers, bulkers, dryvan and reefer crowds that roam north america. keep your ears open, im not sure how to answer your request, but you never know.

  13. I have a Valid Alberta Class 5 license with Q endorsement and have about 1 year of experience driving a 5 ton cube van with air brakes. I am interested in getting my Class 3 license and was wondering how much it would cost me for the course.

  14. If i have my class 3Q, can i drive a tri-axel picker truck on my own? Or do i need a fully qualified driver with me at all times ??

    • You’re ok with just the picker alone. if you attach a trailer with air brakes, you will need a class one license, or a class one driver with you.

  15. Hi there,
    We have a truck that is a F-800. It has two axles and doesn’t have air brakes. Its GVW is 17900. Do I need a class 3 to operate it, or can I operate it with a class 5.

    • Hi Sara, you’re fine with your class 5. But its a good thing you live in BC or SK cause you would have to upgrade your license in those provinces to operate such a vehicle. in fact, it is often the short cut drivers use to acquire their Class One.

      If you were to add and axle to your truck you would need a Class Three. if you ever pull an air brake trailer, then you need a Class One .

    • You can drive a bus with a Class one. If it is a school bus, you need to acquire a “S” endorsement for your license in the first year of employment as a school bus driver

  16. I just got my NS drivers license changed to an Alberta license. I have a class 3 KQ. My first question is is there a fine for driving a standard class 3 with air? Second question how much would it cost to get training to have the K removed? Thanks for your response.


  17. I do not have much experience driving a standard truck the last time I tried I embarrassed myself I did learn how to drive a standard when I first learned how to drive a vehicle but that is been a while now and I was wondering if your instructors are willing to train a rather novice individual on a standard truck in a proximately how long would it take?

    • That’s what we do. Usually the training takes about a month, 2 hours per day.you have to pass a couple of written exams as well as the driving exam. Let us know when you would like to start.

    • I think you better do some investigation with the European union. I could not drive a commercial vehicle with my Alberta license and the international license in Europe. I am not sure how that translates for a recereational vehicle. i am certain you will be able to rent an RV there, and drive it without upgrading your class 5. It is more likey you will have to be veerified by the local (european) government to have any sort of permission to drive a larger vehicle as a non resident.

  18. Hi there! I’m temporarily in Alberta from Toronto. I have a class g with the z endorsement (passenger car plus air brakes) I was wondering would it be possible to take a course and then test for class one licence using my Ontario licence? I wanna avoid all that time consuming licence exchange process as I’m going back to Toronto eventually.

    • The deal is in any province (and i suspect US state) you have to be a resident to perform most motor vehicle transactions. so if you want to maintain or upgrade your Ontario license, you will have to upgrade it in Ontario.

  19. I hold a class two hear in Alberta and every time I even attempt at a dump truck job I get laughed at and told to come back with the proper licence ! I even hold my air ticket doesn’t a two trump a class three??

    • sounds like the human relations department needs a little education. you will need to remind them, you can not only drive a truck, but you can ALSO drive a bus, taxi and ambulance!!!

  20. Hello Dale,
    When does the class 1 transmission restrictions start if they have not already for alberta.
    I can not seem to find the info online.

    • It will not likely ever happen. Automated transmissions are becoming so common, and there is little desire by the public for the restriction to be placed on the Driver’s license. It is industry’s responsibility to “test” the competency of its workers. The government is bound to protect the Public Safety, so as long as you can signal, stop for traffic control devices, and parallel park, we will not likely ever see a restriction. This is what happened to the class 5 restriction more than a generation ago. Remember, your parent or grandparent bought their license, no driving test required.

  21. I have tried both and manual felt much more controlled and keeps you focused better.but yes, the only person I know with a standard is an owner operator. My company is all autos.
    Thanks very much for the quick reply and you have a great day. 🙂

  22. Hey, You mentioned there some serious money to be made with just a class 5 license? I have my class 5 (no airbrake endoresment)and am looking to break into the truck driving field (done some delivery driver jobs) but Ive no idea where to go or look. Could you give me some pointers?

    • Well now that the economy has dropped like poop from a goose, it might not be so easy. Look around the Construction industry, and construction suppliers. Some guys actually turn decent coin in the Courier business.

  23. Hi,
    I have a work now at olymel, but i want to get a drivers license class 1. Do you have a class on saturdays? I work before in saudi arabia as a trailer driver for 6 years. Hiw much i pay for the training?

  24. Hello,
    I dont know which licence training I should take between class 2 and class 3. Do they cost the same if I only hold a class 5 licence? Would class 2 be able to drive everything that class 3 can, but not the otherway around? I drive a van and a pick-up truck. How much it will cost me, how long before I can do road test, when can i start?

  25. If I obtain a Class 3 licence in Alberta can I seek employment in another province? Or is the licence only valid for employment in Alberta?

  26. does Alberta have no restriction in their Class 1 license if you took a roadtest on automatic trucks?? here in Saskatchewan we do have a restriction “N” to only drive automatics and drive standard as a learner, and can limit you from looking for a job if you cant operate a stick shift with splitters

  27. I have a class 3 with air endorsement I’m looking at upgrading to a class 2 is it a simple transition or do I need to redo the driving and pretrip testing to make the change. I also live in Bc if that makes a difference. Or should I just upgrade to a full class 1 and be covered in all driving categories?

    • Upgrading from 3 to 2 is not difficult. Yes you have to redo pretrip and air brake practicals. If you have a BC license you must test in BC. If you have an Alberta license you must test in Albert

  28. Do I have to take a class 3 course in Alberta before obtaining a road test permit? If so, I have air brake endorsement already, how would that affect the time and pricing of any of the courses listed for class 3?
    Thank you,

    • Training costs about $1500 and would be reduced $200 if your air brakes are complete. No you do not Require training in Alberta. Every examination costs $150 plus truck rental.

  29. I was wondering I am a 44 yr old women and would like to start a delivery and/or Hot shot service, possibly passengers. what Albertan class licence would you recommend?

    • Class 5 to drive a two axle truck, Class 4 to carry passengers for pay, Class 3 for more than 2 axles, Class 2 for passenger carrying more than 24 people including the driver, Class 1 to pull a trailer with air brakes. So if you carry people for pay in a trauck with three axles, you need a class 34. if you are also going to ride a motorbike, Classes 3,4&6. you need a Q endorsement to driver vehicles with air brakes, including motorhomes with air brakes.

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