How to Get a Commercial Driver’s License
How hard is it to get a Commercial Driver’s License?
Actually, not that hard.
It’s pretty similar to getting a regular driver license, with a more involved process of requirements, studying, permits, and testing. While the requirements to get a CDL are slightly different from state to state, here is a basic guideline on what you can expect:
1. Review CDL Requirements
First, review the specific CDL Requirements to see if you actually qualify for a Commercial Driver’s License. Make sure you meet the minimum age requirement and physical requirements. By doing so, you will ensure that the process to getting your CDL will go much smoother.
In addition, make sure that you have the state-specific forms on hand in order to get your CDL. This includes your current driver’s license, a 10-year driving record, and a medical examination certificate.
2. Get a CDL Permit
Similar to getting a regular driver’s license, a permit is necessary to obtain a CDL. You can get this by passing a series of written exams that include:
- General Knowledge
- Air Brakes
- Combination Vehicles
A CDL handbook to help you study and prepare yourself for these exams can be found at the testing site in each state or online. Make sure that you also pay the associated fees for your permit, which vary by state as well.
3. Add CDL Endorsements
Next, you will have to pass a written CDL endorsement test based on the type that you wish to obtain. Some endorsements, like Hazardous Materials for example, may also need a background check. These extra endorsements help drivers broaden their employment opportunities, but they aren’t cheap.
Check the endorsements section of your CDL handbook to learn more.
4. Take a CDL Skills Test
The last step to get your CDL is to pass a CDL driving test. This is a three-part exam that includes a pre-trip inspection test, basic control skills test, and a driving test at a pre-approved test site.
Once you’ve passed, you can officially receive a CDL license from your state.
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