Anyone who is thinking of getting their CDL will need to be at least 21 years old. It is possible for someone between the ages of 18 and 20 years old to get a commercial driver’s license for driving within their state but the majority of companies wouldn’t be open to hiring someone that age. The reason is their insurance and the fact that they often need people to drive outside of the state. Here we’ll take a look at the steps to getting your CDL driver’s license.
- Get Your CLP Which Is Your Commercial Learner’s Permit
The first thing you would need in the journey to getting your CDL is the learner’s permit. This means taking an examination but the state which will require you to provide a medical card showing that you have been seen by an approved doctor and have been determined to be in good enough health to qualify for a CDL. You will then need to pass the knowledge base test for your permit.
You can do this on your own or you can either go to a school or sign on with a company that provides training. Typically if you haven’t already gotten your permit before you go to school or before you go to a company that is training you, then that will be the first thing you’ll have to do. You will have to take a medical examination, a drug test, and study and pass the permit test.
- Schedule Your Road Skills Examination
If you’re doing it all on your own then once you have your learner’s permit you will have to wait 2 weeks before you can schedule your road skills examination. Even though that’s the minimum required wait time it might take longer than that depending on your state and the availability of those who test CDL drivers. If you’re going to test on your own it will be necessary for you to have a truck. This will usually mean that you have to rent one and you’ll have to have someone who is a licensed CDL driver take the truck to the testing site.
As part of the road skills test, you will need to demonstrate a pre-trip inspection including testing your air brakes. This takes considerable practice and you’ll want to make sure that you can do it perfectly. You are usually scored and every time you overlook something that you were supposed to cover you will lose points.
- Pay The Necessary Fees To Get Your CDL
As long as you passed everything then the only thing left to do is to pay any remaining fees and get your CDL license. If for any reason you fail part of the test then it will need to be retaken. If that is the case then you’ll have to reschedule it and come and do it again. Usually, the cost of retesting is less than the cost of the original test.
Is It Really That Easy?
Technically, if someone was able to pass both the knowledge base test and the road skills test then they could get their CDL. The problem is that most companies want a driver to have a certain amount of hours of training. This training usually comes from a qualified school or is offered through the company.
Many of the major truck companies either have their own schools or they have approved schools for drivers to attend. They feel that the driver will be better prepared by going through this training. Because of this, even if someone were to successfully get their CDL on their own they may find it difficult to be hired own anywhere. For this reason, it is best to either go through a school or through a company that offers the training.