How to Become a Truck Driver: Steps to Getting Your CDL in the U.S.
A Commercial Driver's License, commonly known as a CDL, is necessary to operate certain
types of heavy, big, or placarded hazardous material vehicles in business settings. These
vehicles include trucks, buses, and trailers.

Nationwide, all businesses and organizations rely on truck drivers to transport commodities.
Although the country is becoming more automated, trained truck drivers are still required to
transport food, manufactured products, and raw materials around the country. Long-distance
trucking allows truckers to tour the United States, work autonomously, and earn a great
livelihood. Nonetheless, they all need a commercial driver's license (CDL). Since piloting a
semi-truck is more complex and demanding than driving a car, specialized training programs
equip drivers for the highway.

This guide will provide prospective truck drivers with the information they require. Here, you
will also discover how to obtain a CDL so you can drive a truck and pursue your dream of
being a truck driver. Prospective truck drivers are certain to discover beneficial information to
aid in their decision-making using the following resources.
A Guide to Become a Truck Driver in the U.S.

To become a licensed truck driver, you must first receive your Commercial Learner's Permit
(CLP), followed by a Commercial Driving License (CDL). Some trucking schools, although
not all, demand General Education Diplomas (GEDs) or high school credentials from their
pupils. Do your study and select an option that considers the abilities necessary for the job.
It would be best if you satisfied the following prerequisites in addition to your GED/high
school diploma:
  • You must be 18 to drive inside state boundaries and at least 21 to travel across states
  • A record free of traffic violations
  • Documentation to verify state residence
  • Obtain a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Insurance documentation
  • Complete routine medical and drug testing(s)
  • Complete a background check
A Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) is mostly required before applying for a CDL. The CLP
is a permit issued by the state in which you live. A CLP enables you to acquire the
necessary abilities for a Class A CDL. You may take the CLP test at your local Department.
of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and online resources are available to help you study for and pass
the exam on your first attempt.

After obtaining your CLP, you must locate a school in your location that provides CDL
instruction. Your trainers will educate you on the proper procedures and assist you in
obtaining your commercial driver's license so that they can demonstrate what a fantastic job
opportunity it may be for someone considering their field.

Generally, the cost of getting your CDL and completing a truck driver training school is
between $3,000 and $10,000. Many companies and truck driving schools provide tuition
reimbursement initiatives to assist future drivers like you earn their CDL certification due to
the increased need for drivers.

The period it takes to complete your CDL requirements varies on the institution you choose
and the kind of commercial driver's license you prefer. Most licensing programs last between
three and seven weeks. However, Class A programs are more rigorous and involve more
in-depth instruction; thus, they often take more time than other license programs.
When trying to pursue your truck driver training and CDL requirements, you also need to
consider the type of license you will need to be eligible for. A, B, or C are the three
classification levels available to students. The job you expect to conduct as a commercial
vehicle operator in the long term will significantly impact the license type you pick.
  • Class A: Professional drivers know that Class A is ideal for heavy-duty trucks. In
  • addition to operating tractors and livestock haulers, you may now operate tankers!
  • Class A permits you to operate various commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers
  • and flatbeds. This license is a complete choice, and many organizations want drivers
  • with Class A certification due to their flexibility.
  • Class B: The people who keep a city running is known as class B operators. They
  • operate public transportation and school buses. A Class B driver may be identified if
  • you've observed trucks delivering supplies to different companies or collecting waste
  • at construction sites throughout town.
  • Class C: This is your choice if you're interested in driving a smaller car. It fits people
  • and luggage in fewer compartments while retaining safety elements such as airbags.
A Class A CDL is an excellent option for becoming a commercial truck driver. A Class A
license not only allows you to drive heavy rigs, but it also allows you to drive Class B and C
cars. While Class B license holders may drive flatbed trucks, they must re-enroll in school to
get a Class A license.

Steps to Getting Your CDL:
  1. You have to be 21 years of age (at least 18 years old to drive intrastate)
  2. You must finish FMCSA-approved driver training to get a Class A or Class B CDL
  3. Pay the appropriate amount and submit your state's CDL application
  4. Verify your identification and Social Security number (state requirements may vary)
  5. Provide state and US residence documentation
  6. Submit a Medical Exam Report and a Medical Examiner's Certificate
  7. Complete a vision examination
  8. Ace the knowledge test
  9. A Commercial Learner's Permit (CLP) will be given to you after you pass
  10. Wait at least 14 days before scheduling your CDL road skills test
  11. Complete a pre-trip inspection
  12. Complete the road test and driving skills evaluation
  13. After passing all requirements, pay the applicable fees for your new CDL. (Optionally, you can submit a 10-year record check if you've held a driver's license in another state or jurisdiction)

According to BLS data, the human resources departments of all transportation, haulage, and
logistics companies are under pressure to recruit and retain skilled truck drivers.
Suppose you want to venture into truck driving but haven’t started your career. You may
want to take it slowly and begin as an employee for one of the major freight firms after
obtaining your Class-A CDL.

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