If we have thought about starting a career in the trucking and transportation industries, one of our very first steps to take should be obtaining our Commercial Driver’s License, also known as CDL. This will allow us to become eligible candidates during our job interviews, and maybe even get us a bit ahead of the process, as it is not uncommon to come across applicants who are yet to get their CDL. Even when this process might vary from one state to another, we have put together a simple but effective set of steps to follow in order to obtain your CDL in no time.
To begin with, the very first step we need to take is reviewing the requirements for CDL at our state’s DMV office. This way, we will know exactly what we need and apply for the process already knowing that we qualify. Some of the most important requirements we need to keep in mind include a minimum age requirement and a CDL physical requirement. If we meet these requirements, the rest of the process should not be a problem.
Just like it happens when we get our regular driver’s license, we need to make sure we obtain a CDL permit before actually getting such license. In order to obtain a Class A CDL permit, we need to complete a series of written tests, which include a General Knowledge test, an Air Brakes test, and a Combination Vehicles test. If this is the first time you hear of these terms, you shouldn’t worry. You can find a Commercial Driver’s License handbook or manual online, visiting the website of the office that carries out the tests.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that we need to add CDL endorsements to our request, depending on the type of commercial driving we are looking to carry out. Some of the most common types of endorsements include the Passenger Transport Endorsement (P), School Bus Endorsement (S), and the Hazardous Materials Endorsements (HazMat). Each endorsement will come with different requirements, including a written test and even a background check in some cases.
Last but not least, we must not forget that, in order to get a CDL, we need to complete and pass a driving test. For this kind of driver licenses, the driving skills test is divided in 3 parts, including a pre-trip inspection, a basic control skills test, and a driving test. The latter might be taken at a state CDL testing site, or at an approved third-party testing site. After passing these tests, drivers are able to receive their actual CDL license.