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Ambulance Driver Certificate


Ambulance Driver Certificate

What do I need to drive an ambulance?

A California Ambulance Driver Certificate (DL 61) is a document issued by DMV authorizing a person to drive an ambulance used to respond to emergency calls.

Ambulance driver certificates are not required for persons driving ambulances:

  • In the line of duty as salaried, regular, full-time police officers, deputy sheriffs, or members of a fire department of a public agency.
  • Into California to provide interstate emergency service only, but based out of state, if the drivers are appropriately licensed or certified by the state of origin.

Note: Volunteers, part-time employees, or members of a department whose duties are primarily clerical or administrative in nature must obtain an ambulance driver certificate to drive an ambulance.

To apply for an Ambulance Driver Certificate, you will need to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Hold a driver license that is valid in California.
  • Visit a DMV office (appointments are recommended).
  • Pay an application fee.
  • $25 for an original certificate.
  • Pass an Ambulance Driver Certification examination.
  • Allow sufficient time for testing, DMV will not administer knowledge tests within 30 minutes of closing. See hours of operation for the field office you are visiting.
  • Submit a completed Medical Examination Report (MER) Form (MCSA 5875) and Medical Examiner’s Certification (MEC) Form (MCSA 5876).
  • Submit a completed Request for Live Scan Service Application (DMV 8016). (Not required on renewal applications.)

Ambulance Driver Certificates are valid for a period not to exceed 5 years and 6 months from the date of issuance.

Note: The Ambulance Driver Handbook (HPH 82.4, Revised January 2015) incorrectly states an applicant for an Ambulance Driver Certificate must hold a valid California driver license. The correct requirement is an applicant for an Ambulance Driver Certificate must hold a driver license that is valid in California. This will be reflected in the next revision of the HPH 82.4. The Ambulance Driver Handbook may be purchased at DMV field offices for $5.

Additional Requirements

When renewing your Ambulance Driver certificate you must possess a valid Emergency Medical Technician I (EMT-1) certificate.

The EMT-1 certificate is not required if you are a California licensed physician, registered nurse, emergency care physician assistant, or a paramedic certified by a County Health Officer.

If you are a volunteer ambulance driver, you may be exempt from holding an EMT-1 certificate if the following requirements are met:

  • The ambulance service is provided in an unincorporated area of a county with a population of less than 125, 000 people.
  • You (the driver) provide a letter on County Board of Supervisors letterhead identifying the name of the volunteer ambulance service.
  • You (the driver) provide a letter on letterhead from one of the following who identifies you by name and the name of the volunteer ambulance service:
    • County Health Office
    • County Medical Care Committee
    • Local emergency medical services agency coordinator

Live Scan Fingerprints

Live Scan fingerprints are required for an Ambulance Driver certificate. A list of Live Scan sites is available from the California Department of Justice/Office of the Attorney General website at

Action(s) Against An Ambulance Driver Certificate

DMV may refuse, revoke, or suspend the Ambulance Driver certificate of any person
who gives any cause, before or after issuance of the certificate, for discretionary refusal of certification (Vehicle Code Section 13372). If there is an immediate risk to safety due to a physical or mental condition, an action under Vehicle Code Section 13953 may be taken.

The department may refuse, revoke, or suspend an Ambulance Driver certificate under the following conditions:

Felony Conviction: The driver has been convicted during the preceding seven years of any offense punishable as a felony or has been convicted during that period of any theft (Vehicle Code Section 13372[b][1]).

Moral Turpitude: The driver has committed any act involving moral turpitude, including fraud or intentional dishonesty for personal gain, within the preceding seven years (Vehicle Code Section 13372[b][2]).

Use of Alcohol: The driver habitually and excessively uses intoxicating beverages
( Vehicle Code Section 13372[b][3]).

Drugs: The driver has been convicted within the preceding seven years of any offense relative to the use, sale, possession, or transportation of narcotics or addictive or dangerous drugs, or of any misdemeanor involving force, violence, threat, or intimidation (Vehicle Code Section 13372[b][4]).

On Probation: The driver is on probation to the department for a cause involving the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle (Vehicle Code Section 13372[b][5]).

Sanction for Unsafe Driving: Within the three years immediately preceding the application, the driver has had his/her driver's license suspended or revoked by the department for a cause involving the unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, or, within the same period, has been convicted of any of the following: (Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][6]).

  • Failing to stop and render aid in an accident involving injury or death.
  • Driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, or under the
    combined influence of intoxicating liquor and any drug.
  • Reckless driving, or reckless driving involving bodily injury.

Fraudulent Application: The driver has knowingly falsified or failed to disclose a material fact in his/her application. An applicant refused certification under this provision shall not be issued an Ambulance Driver certificate within 12 months of the refusal
( Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][7]).

Accident(s): The driver has been involved as a driver in any motor vehicle accident causing death or bodily injury or in three or more motor vehicle accidents during the preceding one year period (Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][8]).

Medical: The certificate may be refused, suspended or revoked if the driver does not meet the minimum medical standards established by the department in Article 2.1, Sections 28.18 and 28.19, of Title 13, 'California Code of Regulations' (Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][9]).

Irrational Behavior: The driver has demonstrated irrational behavior or incurred a physical disability to the extent that a reasonable and prudent person would have reasonable cause to believe that the ability to perform the duties normally expected of an ambulance driver may be impaired (Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][10]).

Code Violation: The driver has violated any provision of the Vehicle Code or any regulation adopted by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol relating to the operation of emergency ambulances during the preceding one-year period (Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][11]).

Employment Dismissal: The driver has committed any act that warrants dismissal, as provided in Vehicle Code Section 13373 (Vehicle Code Section 13372 [b][12]).


Under Vehicle Code Section 13372(b), reapplication depends on the time period indicated by each of the above subdivisions. Some time periods are indefinite.

Example: Reapplication under Vehicle Code Section 13372(b)(9) or 13372(b)(10) depends on the applicant meeting the medical standards or removal of the cause for irrational behavior or physical disability.

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