For all of the recent advances in technology, the traditional trucking industry continues to flourish. If anything, online shopping has only increased the demand for truck drivers to deliver materials and goods across the nation.
If you enjoy driving and are looking for a stable career, you might want to consider becoming a professional truck driver. To do this, you'll need a commercial driver's license (CDL). In this post, we'll highlight the steps and criteria that are necessary to obtain a CDL.
1. Age Requirements
You will need to be at least 18 years of age to obtain a CDL. Further, you must be at least 21 years old before you're allowed to drive between states using a CDL.
For that reason, most trucking companies will expect you to be at least 21 before they will hire you.
2. Get a CLP
A commercial learner's permit (CLP) will grant you the capacity to practice behind the wheel. Most truck driving schools will expect you to have a CLP prior to starting their courses, though some may allow you to obtain a CLP as part of your training.
3. Get Training
Many local community colleges offer truck driving courses that include written coursework as well as practical, hands-on training. These programs typically last around six weeks, though a specialized trucking school can offer a training program that runs closer to three weeks.
Many trucking companies offer tuition reimbursement or other incentives to employees, so you may wish to explore your options to ensure you receive the most value from your education.
4. Pass a Knowledge Test
To obtain your CDL, you must pass a knowledge test, as well as a skills test. The knowledge test can be completed online and is based on the information in the CDL manual.
5. Pass the Skills Test
The skills test consists of three portions:
- Vehicle inspection
- Basic controls
- Road test
Applicants must pass both the knowledge and skills tests prior to receiving their CDL.
6. Legal Requirements
In addition to the test, you'll have to satisfy some basic legal requirements to receive a CDL.
Be prepared to show the following:
- A valid, non-commercial driver's license
- Social Security card