How to get a CDL

If you’re planning on getting your CDL, congratulations! That’s great. Trucking is a great industry to be involved in. The process to get a CDL involves a lot of study and practice. So, you might be wondering how to get your CDL so you can get your start in the trucking world. Here’s a brief look at how to get a commercial drivers license.

How to get your CDL (Commercial Drivers License)

1. Get a copy of the CDL manual.

So, each state has its own process for issuing CDLs. (Side note – the states are in charge of issuing CDLs, not the FMCSA. The FMCSA has a ton of helpful information, but you have to understand your state’s process, requirements, and so on.) Anyways – step one for getting your CDL is getting your hands on a copy of your state’s CDL manual. You can visit a field office to get a copy or you can take to the Internet. (You might be able to download and print a version of your state’s manual.)

2. Know what kind of vehicle or driving you want to do.

You also need to know what sort of truck and trucking you want to do. There are different types of CDL and you have to know what sort of license is right for the type of driving you want to do. (Keep in mind that CDLs and endorsements require passing the skills test and possibly a written test.) Also, remember that there are endorsements that give you qualifications for driving a school bus, tank truck, or tractor trailer. You need to pass all of the required tests and skills or you could get a restriction on your license.

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3. Get a Commercial Learner’s Permit.

Then you need to go get your Commercial Learner’s Permit. The permit basically allows you to drive on public roads with a qualified CDL holder next to you so you can practice. Your driving record from the last ten years will be checked (for all 50 states, plus D.C.) You’ll need to have state-appropriate proof that you’re medically qualified to be a truck driver. You also might need a DOT medical card, which requires a DOT physical. Know that the state might require particular documentation for proof of name and residency. Also, be aware of any applicable fees you’ll have to contend with.

Oh, and we’ll say it again: brush up on your CDL manual.

4. Then you go get the CDL.

You also need to carry the CLP for at least 14 days before the Skills Test, and some states require that you complete CDL training before you take the test. You need to put in some practice before taking your CDL. Be sure to practice the inspection tests and maneuvers in the CDL manual with a qualified person.

Here’s the scoop: you’ve got to pass all sections of the skills test. There are three parts of the Skills Test – the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test. (You might be able to use a “training aid” for the vehicle inspection checklist, so find out about that.)

A tip to keep in mind – when you’ve passed the Skills Test, take the documentation to the counter for processing and figure out whether you’re getting the CDL that day or if you’ll have to wait for it to arrive in the mail. And don’t forget to check all of the information to make sure that all of your details are right. It’ll be much less hassle to get things fixed right away rather than noticing it later, so just take a moment to check over everything.

5. Check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The place to go to find out more about trucking regulations is the FMCSA. They’re the ones with the information you seek. Those regulations are serious stuff, so don’t overlook them. Just thought we’d throw that in there.

So, that’s what the deal is with getting a CDL. You really need to find out what your state’s requirements and procedures are. (They’re the entity that issues CDLs, not the FMCSA.) Getting a CDL can open a lot of doors and give you a lot of opportunities.

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Get truck insurance quotes.

Getting the right truck insurance is also really important. that’s where our team can help. We would be happy to help you get the truck insurance you need. We like to make insurance easy and we like to help people save money. Get started with your truck insurance by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.