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How long to Get a CDL (commercial drivers License)?

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Discover How Long It Really Takes To Get A CDL

Thousands of people every year make the decision to get their CDL. Depending on whether they choose to get a Class B or Class A commercial driver’s license they can drive a bus and vehicles that transport several people or they can drive a big rig truck. How long it takes is determined by a couple of factors. The type or class of commercial driver’s license that you are trying to get as well as the school you attend will play a part in the length of time it will take to earn your CDL.

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Earning A Class A CDL

The classification is what will determine what type of vehicle that you can drive and its weight rating. For example, if you want to drive a big truck that weighs more than 26000 pounds then you would need a Class A. This means that you can also tow a vehicle heavier than 10,000 pounds. Class B’s would allow you to drive vehicles that do not exceed 26000 lb and a tow vehicle couldn’t exceed ten thousand pounds.

A Class A CDL is the primary commercial driver’s license. This is the one that truck drivers will go for. If you go to a Community College then those programs will typically take eight weeks. A few may take three to six months. If, on the other hand, you choose to go to a truck company that provides the initial schooling, then you could be done in as little as three weeks.

It may seem amazing to consider that in as little as three weeks you can go from someone who knows nothing about driving a big truck to someone who has their class A CDL license. Even so, there are literally thousands of people across the nation that earn their CDL license this way. Even though once they get their class A CDL they are not expert drivers, they are fully licensed.

This allows them to begin working for a truck company and they are usually assigned a new driver trainer or mentor. This will usually mean that the person will ride and drive together with an experienced driver anywhere from one to three months. How long that part of the process will be is dependent on the company that is chosen.

Going To School Full-Time Versus Part-Time

As would be expected it is possible to finish in the fastest time if you can attend a school full time. As discussed above some schools will complete training in as little as three weeks time. Because most trucking companies require around 120 – 160 hours minimum training then 3 weeks is usually the least amount of time. If the requirement is 160 hours then the minimum time would be four weeks.

Some community colleges do allow for part-time students. This is for students who are working and can’t afford to take time off from work to attend school full-time. In these programs, it can take 6 months or longer to complete the class.

Getting Your Driving Experience

When attending school one of the most important things you’ll need to do in addition to preparing to pass both your written and your driving skills test will be to get enough time behind the wheel. When you are preparing to take the test for your class A CDL you’ll need to practice in an actual truck similar to the one you’ll be driving for a company and you’ll need to drive with a licensed driver. When selecting a school to attend you want to make sure that they provide ample opportunities for you to get behind the wheel and to gain real experience driving the truck in the yard and on the road.

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