If you want to seek out adventure and change your career you may want to think about obtaining a Commercial Driving License (CDL). Yet if you don’t know much about commercial driving, you might not know how to become a CDL driver.
Thankfully, becoming a CDL driver is not a hugely difficult task.
Keep reading and you’ll learn what it takes to become a CDL driver. Read until the end, and you’ll be ready to abandon your existing career so that you can experience life as a CDL driver.
Do You Meet the Minimum Requirements?
If you’re going to become a commercial driver, you need to make sure you meet the minimum requirements. It’s worth mentioning that these requirements will vary depending on the state you’re in.
For most states, though, you will need to be at least 21 years old. You’ll also need to have a ‘clean’ driving record. This tends to include major things like a DUI or reckless driving offense.
Attending a Truck Driving School
To become a commercial driver you first need to obtain your CDL. Achieving this takes many steps and for many, the first is to attend a ‘truck driving school.’
This school will teach you some of the key things you need to know about being a truck driver. You’ll learn some of the theoretical knowledge needed. This might include certain rules and regulations you need to adhere to as a truck driver.
There will also be a practical element. The practical side of things will help you learn what it takes to actually drive a truck. During this part of the process, you’ll have the ability to practice with an experienced driver. They’ll teach you how to control your truck.
You will generally have to pay to attend a truck driving school. How much it costs to attend such a school varies. If you don’t have a lot of money saved up, you may need a small loan. But only do this if you’re sure you can pay it back.
You’ll find that there are some schools that will provide intensive programs that last for a short period of time. Some, though, will provide courses that stretch out over the course of a year. These courses may generally be a lot more in depth.
Passing the Various Exams
Another part of the process is passing a special exam. This exam is designed to test your knowledge of truck driving. There will be a written exam and also a practical exam.
The written exam will help validate your knowledge of the laws associated with truck driving. You’ll also be tested in relation to the regulations that truck drivers have to be aware of.
The practical exam will make sure you know how to control a truck. This test is done under the supervision of someone who is accredited with monitoring practical truck driving tests.
You may also need to pass an exam known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) exam. This test is designed to cover some of the federal aspects of truck driving.
It can be very helpful to do this if you’re going to be working across a wide range of states. It also includes a medical section. This will help test your hearing and your vision. This test makes sure you’re physically fit. You may have to retake this test in the future. Keeping track of all the exams can be tough. You might want to invest in a personal planner to make the task easier.
If you pass the exams you’ll then be able to go about finding a job in the commercial truck driving industry.
If you’re new to commercial truck driving you may want to think about obtaining some ‘placement jobs.’ These are like entry level positions that’ll help you build up some credibility in the truck driving industry.
These jobs can be tricky to find. Depending on the truck driving school you attend, you may be able to make things easier on yourself.
That’s because truck driving schools tend to have close relationships with trucking companies. These trucking companies will notify the truck driving schools if there are any jobs available for people that have recently become truck drivers.
If you’re unable to find a truck driving job this way, you’ll need to go about contacting trucking companies directly. This can be a tough process as you will be new to the game and some truck companies will shun you as a result.
If this doesn’t work you might want to use a service like CDL recruiter.
When you find work with a trucking company, you’ll probably need to go through their internal training program. This will generally take around a week or maybe even less. This program is designed to make sure you know how to deal with the company protocols. It will also ensure you’re aware of how to drive the trucks provided by the company in question.
During this additional training phase, you may need to pass further exams. You may even need to be tested for drugs as well as undergo a physical examination.
The Benefit of Experience
As you gain more experience in the world of trucking, you should be able to take on more lucrative positions.
Opportunities might not come your way automatically. You will need to keep a close eye on the latest job openings and apply to them when you can. By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time it takes to become a high earning commercial driver.
Ready to Become a CDL Driver?
Becoming a CDL driver can be the start of an incredible adventure. But if you know nothing about the commercial driving industry, you might not know where to begin.
In this post, we’ve reviewed how you can become a CDL driver. You need to make sure you meet the minimum requirements. You also want to ensure you attend a truck driving school that’ll teach you everything you need to know. It’s also important you take all of the necessary exams.
Progression in this industry is possible. But like other industries, you’ll need to push yourself. Provided you apply to challenging roles when they’re made available, you should be able to experience growth and exciting opportunities.
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