Commercial Driver’s License and the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

Commercial Driver’s License and the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners

Many of our doctors have had patients ask them to complete a CDL medical examination, and others have considered adding that option to their suite of services. If DOT medical examinations are a service you are considering, then the following information will be critical for your next steps.

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles must obtain and carry a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and medical certificate at all times during operation of their vehicles.  In order to apply for the CDL, the applicant must undergo a medical examination performed by a health care provider who is certified and listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.  The US Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) approves chiropractic physicians as eligible for certification as Medical Examiners for commercial motor vehicle drivers.


All certified Medical Examiners (MEs) must complete specific training AND pass a certification test through the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Instructions and forms for testing and registration may be found here.

Applicants are required to pay for their own training and testing.


Health care providers who wish to become certified MEs start by registering with the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).  Once the provider has completed training and testing, the DOT will review the provider’s credentials and list qualified providers in a Medical Examiner registry for persons seeking DOT medical evaluations.

A Medical Examiner’s certification will last for 10 years from the date of issue. However, the ME must take additional education after 5 years and take the test again in order to renew the certificate.


The training must be completed by an organization that has been accredited by a nationally-recognized medical profession accrediting organization that provides continuing medical education units. Additionally, the training MUST include all eight of the core components and all other specific requirements in the final rule. According to NRCME, an accredited training program, a provider may take the training at any time, as long as the training has met the requirements within the rule.


Physicians must take approved training as a prerequisite to taking the test.  Testing must be taken only from DOT-approved testing organizations.  Click here for organizations approved to offer the certification tests at this time.  Using these links, you will find the process and contact information necessary for you to contact the testing organization directly to schedule the examination.  The testing organization and the training organization CANNOT be the same entity.


It is important that certified medical examiners complete paperwork fully and appropriately.  Please take an extra moment and verify the following:

  1. Please verify all information on the medical certificate with the driver’s license. This includes eyeglass restrictions. Make sure you are fully aware and document any vision impairment and corrective lens requirements on the certificate. Additionally, the corrective lens box on the medical card ONLY should be checked if the driver must wear eyeglasses while driving (i.e. reading glasses do NOT constitute vision impairment).
  2. Signatures MUST be legible. Make sure the doctor’s printed name is on the medical certificate along with a legible signature. If the physician’s signature is not legible, please include an attestation statement verifying that the signature on the certificate with the physician performing the evaluation. These verifications are important, as some drivers have had their medical certificates denied because of these two problems.

About Author

Marc Abla, CAE

Marc Abla began working at the Illinois Chiropractic Society in 2002 and became the Executive Director in 2008. He brings his extensive financial, administrative and association experience to the ICS. He is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the Certified Leadership Series through the Illinois Society of Association Executives. Additionally, he is a member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives, the American Society of Association Executives, Association Forum, Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, and the American Chiropractic Association.


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