A commercial driver’s license is a government-authorized legal document that allows you to enter the transportation industry or drive heavy material trucks and other large vehicles. In order to obtain this license, the applicant must pass both knowledge-based and skill-based tests. 

Remember, however, that there are criteria for  determining one’s eligibility that every applicant should consider before applying, including any previous or ongoing legal issues, felonies that the applicant might have committed, medical issues, etc. 

Apart from the eligibility, there are various things one should consider, such as, length of the programs, federal or state grants that help in paying for CDL training, companies that offer job opportunities, etc. 

Here are some points to understand: 

Requirements:

  • Age- The applicant must be 18 and above to apply to driving school. However, the top companies usually only hire individuals over 21.
  • Driver’s License- Applicants must know how to drive a car before applying for CDL training. You can take driving lessons from goanddrive.com
  • DUIs- Applicants must not have any DUIs in the past five years. Any crime involving a motor vehicle will result in you not being able to obtain your commercial driver’s license according to the rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Strict DOT testing requirements will also be administered to ensure drivers are complying to safety regulations.
  • Proof of Citizenship- Applicants must have a document to prove that they are US citizens. 

Research:

  • CDL training programs- Applicants must read through study manuals as they may vary from state to state. They should also research the length of the programs (usually from 9-24weeks), which school offers the best program, and so on.
  • Paying for CDL training- Knowing which grants and scholarships you are eligible for, what documents you may require to apply for them, and how much of the tuition cost it covers are highly significant for this journey.

Attend the Program: 

  • Once you’re done selecting the CDL training program, the next step is to attend the course and gain the prerequisite skills to be a commercial truck driver. 
  • Take the knowledge and skill-based test, which tests your understanding of commercial driving and road experience.   

Physical Exam: 

  • Eyesight- A 20/40 requirement for both eyes without corrective lenses.
  • Hearing- No hearing loss less than 40 decibels at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 2000 Hz, with or without any hearing aid. 
  • Cardiovascular Health- Health report from a doctor stating no history of cardiovascular health issues. 
  • Blood Pressure- Anything more than 140/90 is not accepted.
  • Surgeries- Surgeries or accidents in the past should be mentioned to ensure you’re fit to drive.  
  • Passing Drug Test- The transportation department needs to know that you’re a responsible driver, which includes passing the drug screen test.

Background Check: 

  • Previous employment verification
  • Previous felony charges 
  • Training completed from an authorized and accredited school

Every state may have its own additional requirements. So, it is always better to check the guidelines and requirements for CDL of your respective state to ensure that you’re eligible and have the appropriate documents.  

Final Thoughts: 

Obtaining your commercial driver’s license is the first step to a new journey with a vast scope and great opportunities. From gaining information about the courses offered by various schools to attending the program and receiving your commercial driver’s license, you must strategically plan every step to ensure you achieve your goals.