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There are two ways I will discuss how to obtain a CDL (commercial driver’s license) no matter where you live in the United States. It would help if you did some prerequisites before going after one of the two options of receiving your CDL. There is a lot to discuss when learning how to obtain a CDL, but I will keep it short and spread it between articles. In this article, I will tell you about the two ways people obtain their CDL today.
How To Obtain Your CDL Privately
The first way you can receive your CDL is through a private trucking school. This is how I earned my Class A CDL, and I highly recommend everyone to go this route. I recommend private schools because you can receive your license in a shorter period of time, and there are no contractions with a trucking company (I will discuss this later).
The Cost of Private Trucking School
The cost can vary from free to $6,000. I know free caught your eye. Government Worksource agencies are willing to pay for your schooling with a grant. You need to follow your state’s guidelines. Remember, each state is different as well as the school you choose. Do your research. Do not move fast. Make sure the school you attend is good. You want to get your money’s worth.
What to remember about private school
- Private trucking schools usually last between 3 to 4 weeks. The school could extend your time depending on the student.
- The goal of the trucking school is not to teach you how to become a professional truck driver. The school’s job is to help you become a licensed truck driver.
- To become a licensed truck driver, the school will provide classroom work and hands-on field training in and on the truck according to your state’s guidelines.
- Most schools use the smaller trailers to train with. The standard over the road tractor will pull a 53 foot trailer. Your school will use 28 foot trailer. The smaller trailers are harder to back so it will be easier once you begin backing with a 53 footer.
How To Obtain Your CDL From A Trucking Company
A lot of the mega carriers offer CDL training. You apply to the company, and if you fit their criteria, you can be hired on for training, but you will be under a contract. This training is most cases is free and paid as long as you stay with the company after receiving your class A CDL for a period of time.
I only recommend this option to people who cannot afford to pay for private schooling. I do not recommend this route because of the contract.
The length of training varies depending on the trucking company you choose. The quality of training also varies from company to company.
You will ride with a trainer while you have your Class A CDL Permit. The length of time varies that you will ride with them.
Pay varies from company to company.
What You Need Before Apply For A CDL
Whether you are choosing to get your license through a private school or a trucking company, there are a few things you need to have in place or should have in place.
- DMV Study Guide
- CDL Permit
- Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical
- Good Driving Record
- No Felonies within 5 years
- Agreement with family members/Family Support
This is just a basic outline of how to obtain a CDL. I will break down a lot more in later topics so that you can make good decisions. What you should constantly remember is that you need to do plenty of research. Trucking is a cutthroat industry, and it is far from a normal 9 to 5 job. Trucking is not easy, and it is not for everyone. The hardest part of trucking is being away from home and backing the truck up. You develop your skills not through a trucking school but actually on the job. A school is only going to train you to pass the state test. The company you are with is going to train you to follow their process and policies. Your trainer (if you get a good one) will teach you how to drive a truck properly. Through time you become a successful professional truck driver.