Have you been contemplating a new career in trucking but aren’t exactly sure where to start? As one of the most lucrative careers in America, truck driving isn’t going away anytime soon. However, to get started, you’re going to need to earn your Class A commercial driver’s license—and to get there, you’re going to need to take a few steps. Here’s a breakdown of how to get a CDL.
Step 1: Get Your Commercial Learners Permit
The first thing that will be necessary for you to do is to apply for your commercial learner’s permit. In order to to this:
- You need to be at least 18 years old, already have a driver’s license, and fill out a commercial driver’s license application.
- You should make an appointment at the DMV.
- You will be required to submit a 10 year history record check form in the event that you have been issued a driver’s license in the same or different name to operate a motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous 10 years.
- You will be required to submit a medical examination report form (MCSA 5875) and a medical examiner’s certification (MEC) form (MCSA 5876).
- You will need to provide proof of your social security number (SSN), and it will be verified when you are at the DMV office.
- You will be required to show a proof of residency document. (Some examples of these documents are mortgage bill, home utility bill, insurance document with your address, or IRS document.)
- You will need to pass a vision exam while at the DMV office.
- You will need to pay a non-refundable application fee. The application fee will be good for 12 months and will allow you three attempts to pass the knowledge tests, as well as three attempts to pass the skill tests (vehicle inspection, basic control skills, and the road test).
- You will need to pass the knowledge test while at the DMV office. We have created a sample CDL knowledge test for you to use as study material.
Once you’ve gone through all this, you’ll be rewarded with your CLP! Now it’s time to start practicing your driving so you can take your road test in the next month or two.
Just a reminder: Your CLP is good for 180 days from the date issued. You will need to pass your road test and get your CDL within that time frame, or else you’ll have to renew your CLP.
Step 2: Attend Truck Driving School
Once you’ve received your CPL, it’s time to attend L.A Truck Driving to get you more familiar with the vehicles, as well as driving them.
Our trucking classes can be completed entirely at your own pace. We will teach you how to inspect the outside of a vehicle, how to inspect the cabin, and how to check your air brakes.
We’ll train you to drive on the roads as well as the busy highways so that you will be confident taking your road test.
Step 3: Take The Road Test
The road test at the DMV consists of three parts: a vehicle inspection, basic control skills, and the road test.
At L.A Truck Driving School, we will help you reserve your Class A driving test appointment, and we will also provide you with a truck to take the test. Our trucks are always carefully inspected, so you’ll have no problem passing the vehicle inspection part of your driving test.
The fee that you paid the DMV will provide you with three chances to pass the test. If you use up all three attempts without passing, you’ll be required to pay an additional $35 to the DMV to take the test again. However, we are confident our driving school will provide you with the skills to pass on the first try.
You’ve now earned your CDL, and you’re on your way to a lucrative truck driving career!
From here on, you’ll be able to add various certifications to your license such as the HazMat certification, which will allow you to transport different types of loads. Adding these various certifications can help you earn significantly more money and make you a more desirable truck driver to different companies.
So how do you get your CDL? This is it! Reading this article, you might think it sounds like a lot of work—but it looks more daunting than it really is. There are many forms necessary to get your commercial learner’s permit, but after you’ve completed those, it’s just a matter of spending time in the truck and learning the ins and outs of driving.
Good luck! If you have any questions about earning your CDL, please contact us!