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Apply for a Tow Operator License
On this page:
Types of Tow Operator Licenses
All tow truck operators (drivers) are required to have one of the following licenses:
- Incident Management License - Required to operate a tow truck with an Incident Management Permit. A driver with an Incident Management License may also operate a tow truck with a Private Property Permit or Consent Tow Permit. A person who holds this license may work at a vehicle storage facility.
- Private Property License - Required to operate a tow truck with a Private Property Permit. A driver with a Private Property License may also operate a truck with a Consent Tow Permit but may not operate a truck with an IM Permit. A person who holds this license may work at a vehicle storage facility.
- Consent Tow License - Required to operate a tow truck that has a Consent Tow Permit. A driver with a CP License may not operate a tow truck that has an Incident Management Permit or Private Property Permit. A person who holds this license may work at a vehicle storage facility.
Before You Apply
Valid Driver’s License
You must hold a valid driver’s license issued by a state in the United States to apply for a tow operator license.
Incident Management and Private Property Towing Operator applicants must be certified by one of the entities listed below before drivers are eligible for a license. Consent Tow Operators do not need to be certified.
- National Drivers Certification Program of the Towing and Recovery Association of America
- AAA Texas
- Towing and Recovery Association of America
- Texas Towing and Storage Association
- Southwest Tow Operators Association
- SW Towing CE
- TOWS (Training of Wrecker Services)
- WreckMaster, Inc.
Currently these programs are the only acceptable certification programs. TDLR does not provide certification classes or certifications.
Application and Fee
Tow operator licenses are valid for a period of one year from the date of issue.
Applicants with Criminal Convictions
If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor (other than a minor traffic violation) or pleaded guilty or no contest (resulting in a deferred adjudication) to any in-state, out-of-state or federal criminal offense, you must provide a completed Criminal History Questionnaire (PDF) along with your application materials.
The department will conduct a criminal history background check on all persons who apply for a license. Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Depending on your criminal history, a review can take from one to six weeks to complete.
Individuals may request TDLR review their criminal background before actually applying for a license. TDLR uses the same process for this pre-application evaluation as the process described below. See the Criminal History Evaluation Letter page for more information.
Please see the Guidelines for License Applicants with Criminal Convictions, which describe the process that TDLR uses to determine whether a criminal conviction renders an applicant an unsuitable candidate for the license, or whether a conviction warrants revocation or suspension of a license previously granted.