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If you are looking at shaking things up and changing careers or just leaving school and are thinking about starting your career in CDL truck driving, but not sure where to start, we’ve got your back. Deciding on a career might be a daunting task, but if you already know that you want to be a truck driver and there is nothing that will change your mind about it, that is fantastic. It also means that you are one step closer to reaching your goal and starting out on your new adventure on the long and open road.
In this article, we’ll give you handy step-by-step tips on how exactly to obtain your CDL license. We’ll walk you through the various processes, starting with how to apply for your license, then obtain your learners, and finally getting your license and your ticket to start your CDL truck driving career. Let’s get started.
How to apply for your license
- Ensure that you are able to apply for a CDL license in your specific state of residence (each state has its own requirements regarding age, medical, and state of residence)
- Decide exactly what type of vehicle you wish to drive (within the CDL license there are different types of classes which you can qualify for and this will determine what license you will apply for and how much it would cost).
- Study your specific state of residence’s CDL manual
- Apply for your license online or get a form at your local Department of Motor Vehicles – make sure you have all the necessary documentation with you before applying and registering for the test.
How to get a learner’s permit
- Make sure you have all the necessary documentation such as medical records, your application form, proof of residence, and identification documents such as your social security card and birth certificate.
- Make sure to bring some cash with to pay for your application and test – you can find out how much money it will cost at your local DMV or online.
- Visit your local DMV to submit your CDL truck driver’s license application form. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation as listed above before handing in your application.
- Take the test and get a passing score. Tests are marked and scored instantaneously, so you can wait at the DMV to hear if you have passed the test. If you have passed, you will get your CDL driver’s permit immediately.
- Those who do not pass the first-time round will be subject to retake the test. Bear in mind that this might cost you some extra money to ensure that you know the CDL manual pretty well before taking the test, in order to avoid spending more money than necessary.
- If you will be transporting hazardous goods, you will need to do a Transportation Security Administration Completing this background check will cost some money and you will need to visit them in order for them to take your fingerprints.
- Take some lessons with a CDL truck driver instructor. By law, you will not be able to drive a truck by yourself and you will need a fully licensed driver next to you. Be sure to get as much practice as possible with a reliable instructor by your side.
- Do any necessary extra training as required by the DMV before completing your CDL skills test. The DMV will inform you of any necessary extra training you should do before obtaining your full CDL truck driver’s license. This will depend on the type of CDL license you are applying for.
Getting your CDL truck driver’s license
- Book an appointment date and time for taking the DMV CDL driving skills test – this is a practical test where you will be tested on your truck driving skills.
- You will be examined on the vehicle you have identified as the one you will be driving by a certified CDL examiner. In order for you to get your CDL truck driver’s license, you need to pass the skills test with flying colors.
- If you do not for some reason pass the skills test, you will be able to retake the test at a given time, depending on the state you live in. In some states, you are able to take the skills test more than three times. Keep in mind that this might cost you more.
- If you pass the skills test, you are the proud owner of an official CDL truck driver’s license – congratulations! In most cases, you should be able to pick it up from your local DMV, or you can get it via snail mail. Whichever way, be sure to check that the information on the license is correct and that there are no errors.
It really is that simple to apply for and get your certified CDL truck driver’s license. And, imagine that, once you have your license, you are good to go and start your career in CDL truck driving. Exciting stuff! We always advise those who wish to get a license to be 100% sure of what type of license they wish to get. Remember, there are a couple of different types of CDL licenses, be sure you know what they are and what exactly the difference is, as this will help you identify exactly which license you should be applying for.
We hope that you found the step-by-step guide with handy tips on how to apply for and obtain your CDL driver’s license insightfully and that you will be able to get your license in no-time. Remember, if you have any queries or if you are unsure at any time, your local DMV is more than likely able to assist with any of your questions. Alternatively, you can browse their site or check their FAQ page to see if you are able to find any answers to your specific question online, this will save you a trip and a wait in a queue.