While the world may seem like your oyster when you hold a standard Class D driver’s license, an additional plethora of possibilities opens up when you obtain a commercial driver’s license. A CDL, which comprises the Class A, Class B, and Class C varieties of driver’s licenses, not only allows qualified drivers to operate larger rigs, but it may also provide the necessary skill set for many well-paying jobs. So, how do you go about getting a CDL?
Meet the Minimum Qualifications
In most states, you must be at least 18 years old and already have a Class D driver’s license before you can start working toward earning a CDL. A Class D license allows you to operate a vehicle of less than 26,000 pounds, but you can’t drive a vehicle with more than 15 passengers or one that is carrying hazardous materials. In some states, you might not be able to acquire a CDL if you have a criminal record. In fact, if you already have a Class C CDL and are trying to get your Class B or Class A, even having CDL traffic tickets on your record could be an obstacle. But once you meet the age and current minimum licensure qualifications for your state, you can start studying a CDL manual.
Obtain a CLP
To get some practical experience operating a bigger rig, you first need a commercial learner’s permit. This permit allows you to practice driving commercial vehicles in preparation for your driving test. However, to get the permit, you must pass some tests. Typically, the test can include a general knowledge exam, air brakes exam, and combination vehicle exam, but the specifics may differ depending on the state providing the license. For this reason, it is important that you research the CLP and CDL requirements for the state in which you plan to be licensed. If you are trying to get your CDL in order to work for a specific company, that company may also have certain requirements you need to meet before getting your permit or license, and they may also be able to provide you with additional resources to help pass the examinations.
Pass the Tests
After studying and spending any required hours operating a rig with your CLP, you will need to pass the required knowledge examinations and practical driving tests. If you pass these tests, you should earn your CDL.
There are many kinds of jobs you may be able to qualify for with a CDL, including local truck driver, bus driver, and heavy equipment hauler. If operating a big rig has always been a dream of yours, the first step is to earn that CDL.