Getting qualified

To become a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), bus or coach driver you need to:

  • have a full car licence
  • be over 18 - but there are some exceptions
  • get a professional driving qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

You must have the full Driver CPC if you drive an HGV, bus or coach as the main part of your job.

There are 4 tests that make up the full Driver CPC. You might not need to take all 4 tests, for example if you previously qualified as an HGV driver and you want to retrain.

If you’re qualifying for the first time

  1. Apply for a provisional HGV or bus licence.

  2. Pass the 4 tests that make up the Driver CPC to qualify.

  3. Take 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to stay qualified.

You need to renew your bus or HGV licence every 5 years, and every year when you reach 65.

If you’re taking a National Vocational Training (NVT) course

If you’re taking an approved NVT course you can drive professionally for up to 12 months without taking the Driver CPC part 2 and part 4 tests.

If you have qualified as an HGV or bus driver before

If you have previous experience as a qualified HGV or bus driver, you can return without taking all 4 tests for the Driver CPC.

  1. Renew your bus or HGV licence.

  2. Do 35 hours of training or take parts 2 and 4 of the Driver CPC tests.

  3. Take 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years to stay qualified.

Read more about what you need to do to return to HGV or bus driving.

If driving is not the main part of your job or the vehicle is exempt

You might not need the full Driver CPC to drive an HGV or bus, for example if you:

  • want to carry passengers or goods for personal use and not commercially
  • only drive for certain tasks, like taking the vehicle to test centres
  • drive as part of your job, but it is not the main part of your job

You also do not need the full Driver CPC if the vehicle you’re driving is either:

  • limited to 28mph
  • being used by services like the armed forces or the police

Check if you’re exempt from needing the full Driver CPC.