Requirements for How to Get a CDL

While certification programs will prepare an individual when it comes to how to get a CDL, they will also include several hours of in-class and on the road training, in order to qualify for the CDL exam.

A commercial driver’s license will allow an individual to operate commercial trucks that have a cargo area and an attached cab, with a combined weight that is greater than 27,000 pounds, in addition to trucks that have a detached towed vehicle that weighs less than 8,000 pounds. Vehicles a driver will be qualified to operate will include tow trucks, dump trucks, utility trucks, big rigs and delivery trucks. Drivers of certain special purpose vehicles, such as farm vehicles, commercial buses, school buses and fire engines may be required to take additional tests. Requirements for special purpose vehicles can differ, depending on the state.

The minimum requirements for how to get a CDL have been established by the federal government. State requirements can vary, but will be just as strict as federal regulations. Testing for the commercial driver’s license can be conducted through an accredited training program or school, or by the state.

These training programs are found through community colleges and vocational schools and will provide students with the knowledge and skills that are needed to pass the CDL test. The program length will vary, and will range from one to twelve months. During the first week of training a student will be taught trucking and traffic laws, in addition to federal safety regulations. A student will learn about the laws that apply to cargo and truck transportation and they will also learn how to complete paperwork that’s relevant to transporting freight.

Program instruction will move outdoors, where a student will learn how to perform pre-trip freight and vehicle inspection. There will be a significant amount of time that’s devoted to on the road training. A student enrolled in a CDL program will practice on the road and be accompanied by a CDL certified driver. The skills that are covered will include such topics as docking, parking and backing, vehicle control and gear shifting, defensive driving, unloading and loading and city and highway driving. During the final month of the program a student can choose to complete an internship or an advanced driving course.

Enrollment Requirements for Driving Programs

How to get a CDL will also involve obtaining a learner’s permit, prior to applying for program enrollment. Other program enrollment requirements can also include being at least eighteen years of age, having a valid driver’s license and a clean driving history and passing a drug screening. Most schools will also require an applicant to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

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