Overview

Class 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 drivers must complete an approved air brake course to get a Q endorsement on their driver’s licence to operate a vehicle equipped with air brakes.

To get a Class 1 driver’s licence, you must first complete the air brake endorsement.

Air brakes work by initiating air pressure at an engine-driven compressor and transmitting the pressure through hoses, reservoirs and control valves to the vehicle’s foundation brakes.

Single-motor farm vehicles

In Alberta, you are not required to hold an air brake endorsement if operating a single-motor vehicle registered as a farm vehicle. However, you do need an air brake endorsement if driving a farm vehicle combination that requires the driver to hold a Class 1 driver’s licence. When applying for a Class 1 driver’s licence, you will need to show proof of your air brake qualifications, even if the vehicle you will be driving is registered as a farm vehicle.

See the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation in the Traffic Safety Act for more information.

Heavy equipment technicians and mechanics

Heavy equipment technicians, heavy duty equipment mechanics, truck and transport mechanics and commercial vehicle inspection technicians who service or inspect air brake systems may be eligible to take the knowledge test and the practical test without attending the classroom session and practical training session. To confirm your eligibility, contact Driver Programs and Licensing Standards.

How it works

Step 1. Complete classroom training

You must participate in a classroom training session delivered by a licensed driver training school.

The classroom session is a minimum of 6.5 hours.

Each student is provided with a copy of the Air Brake Manual: A Guide for Students as a reference and study guide. To order a copy, visit the Alberta Queen's Printer website.

Step 2. Complete practical training

Once you complete the classroom training, you must participate in the practical training session.

The session includes a 15-minute instructor demonstration followed by each student practising the air brake pre-trip inspection twice.

Step 3. Pass practical assessment

The practical assessment is conducted in a one-on-one setting using the Air Brake Practical Test form and must be completed within the 15-minute time limit.

Only one practical re-assessment is allowed before additional training is required.

The re-assessment must be conducted on a different day.

The licensed driver training school and the student will determine additional training requirements.

Once you pass the practical assessment, you will be issued a Notice of Air Brake Program Completion form.

Step 4. Pass knowledge test

Bring the Notice of Air Brake Program Completion forms to any Alberta registry agent to take the driver knowledge test. A government fee and a service charge will apply.

The knowledge test is conducted electronically and is available in English only.

Paper and translated tests are not available.

The knowledge test consists of 30 multiple choice questions. 25 questions must be answered correctly to pass the test. The test will automatically end if 6 questions are answered incorrectly.

There is no time limit on the knowledge test or the number of times it can be taken.

Retests must be conducted on a different day.

If you pass the knowledge test, the registry agent will add the Q endorsement to your driver’s licence. The Q endorsement will appear on your driver’s licence card.

There is no renewal requirement for the Q endorsement.

A practical road test is not required to get the Q endorsement.

You must have a valid Alberta driver’s licence to take the air brake knowledge test. You are not eligible if you have a suspended licence.

Contact

To connect with Driver Programs and Licensing Standards:

Edmonton office

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-8230
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: trans.driver.prog@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Driver Programs and Licensing Standards
Alberta Transportation
1st Floor, Twin Atria Building
4999 98 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T6B 2X3

Calgary office

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-8230
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: trans.driver.prog@gov.ab.ca

Address:
Driver Programs and Licensing Standards
Alberta Transportation
1st Floor, Willowglen Business Park
803 Manning Road NE
Calgary, Alberta  T2E 7M8