Starting a New Career as a Truck Driver: Earning Your CDL

October 17, 2022

During the job hunt, you will probably see truck driving positions requiring a “CDL”, or Commercial Drivers License, a type of license that allows you to operate heavy, large, and placarded (hazardous) loads. These are typically required for truck drivers transporting certain size loads or those carrying certain materials. And while you may be interested in this type of position, maybe you don’t know how to go about obtaining a CDL. That’s why we’ve put together the information below offering the best way to obtain your CDL.

The current shortage of truck drivers in the United States stands at around 50,000. That number is expected to grow to 174,000 drivers by 2026.

So what requirements are needed to obtain a CDL?

In conjunction with standard motor vehicle licensing requirements, you must also meet the following criteria to obtain a CDL:

  • Must be 21 years of age or older (some exclusions allow for 18 and older)
  • You must submit your state’s application and pay the appropriate fee
  • Provide proof of identity through your Social Security Number and any other information that your state may require
  • Must provide proof of residency
  • Must pass a vision test
  • Must pass knowledge exam/written test
  • Must have a medical evaluation completed and submit the proper Medical Examination Certificate
  • Upon passing the knowledge test, you must obtain a Commercial Learning Permit (CLP) and wait a minimum of 14 days to schedule your CDL drivers test
  • Pass pre-trip inspection
  • Pass the road skills driving test (typically you must bring your own vehicle)
  • Pay any necessary CDL fees (varies by state)

In addition to the above requirements, some states may require additional information, so be sure to check your state and local CDL requirements before pursuing. You should also check for a full list of documents and forms needed to obtain CDL.

Once a standard CDL is obtained, some positions may require that you have special licensing endorsements to be able to drive certain load types, like hazmat, air brakes, tankers, or passenger vehicles. Each endorsement comes with its own requirements on how to obtain, for example, to obtain a hazmat endorsement you must have completed a written skill test and must have a threat evaluation completed by the Transportation Security Administration.

If you’ve never driven a truck before, but want to learn, you’ll typically be able to find a driving school in your area, the cost of these schools can often run $5,000-$10,000 but, they do often provide you with a vehicle to take the road skills test with as well as providing you with a vehicle to obtain any state or job required training hours. There are also online resources that can assist you with obtaining a CDL and inline practice examinations to practice written versions of the test. Additionally, most states provide a free digital version of their CDL examination book for studying purposes to obtain.

There are many benefits to obtaining a CDL and even if you go to a training school for more experience, your potential to earn in this field is often pretty decent and should allow you to pay back a loan quickly.

If you’re interested in obtaining a CDL and will be looking for a job, or if you’re already certified and are seeking an opportunity visit our job postings to find available positions in your area today!

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