A CDL or commercial drivers license is a requirement if you want to drive a truck professionally. If you want to get a CDL, you need to know the class you should look at and the steps to obtain the license. You also need to know about the endorsements you can get.
There are three CDL classes and the one you need will depend on the type of truck you will e driving. Class A is the most common and allows you to drive any vehicle that has a gross vehicle mass of 26,001 pounds or more. The trucks that you can drive with this license will include tractor-trailers and livestock carriers. All professional truck drivers will need to have this class license as a minimum.
Class B allows you to drive large vehicles such as box trucks and dump trucks. With certain endorsements, you will be able to drive some Class C vehicles with this license. Class C vehicles will often be used by bus drivers as it allows you to drive a vehicle that carries 16 or more passengers. This license also allows you to transport hazardous materials.
Endorsements are certifications that confirm you have specialized skills. You do not have to get endorsements, but they can help you in a competitive driver market. If you want to drive a truck, there are certain endorsements that you should focus on.
Endorsement H is the hazardous materials certification. To get this endorsement, you will need to take a written examination. If you want to drive a truck with a tank, you need to N endorsement which also requires a written exam. Endorsement T allows you to drive double or triple trailers and you have to complete an exam for it. The X endorsement should also be considered as this allows you to drive a tank vehicle with hazardous materials.
Getting Your CDL
There are certain steps that you need to complete to obtain your CCDL. The first step is to know the age restrictions of your state. Some states allow drivers to get a CDL when they are 18, but others will need you to be 20. If you are 18, you might have to complete a state-approved driver’s education program before you are able to get your license.
Once you know the age restrictions in your state, you have to prepare for the CLP test. A CLP is a commercial learner’s permit and you have to complete a practical driving test for this. During the test, you need to complete maneuvers and shows skills listed on your CDL manual. This test will give you the chance to practice everything that you need to pass your CDL test.
After obtaining your CLP, you will be able to take the CDL test. Generally, you have to wait 2 weeks after getting the CLP to take your CDL test. At this point, you will usually have to complete both a written test and complete a practical driving test. Some states do require that you submit additional paperwork or complete additional courses before you can get your license.
You will be able to take the tests for endorsements after you have your CDL. It is important to note that you will have to pay additional fees for the endorsements that you want. The fees and the test will vary depending on the endorsement and you should only look at those that will help your truck driving.
If you want to drive a truck for a living, you need to have a CDL. You need to choose the right class depending on what you want and which endorsements you should get.