What is the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program?
When veterans leave the military and return to civilian life, the adjustment can be difficult. Finding a job is often a trying process and veterans may struggle to find ways to use their military experience in a new career.
On the flip side, the truck driving industry is going through a period of unprecedented growth. Trucking companies cannot keep up with hiring demands, even when they are offering sign-on bonuses and other incentives.
The works as a solution to both of these problems. It helps veterans with military driving experience find work after discharge and it supplies the truck driving industry with a new group of skilled, experienced drivers.
How the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Works
The FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver program empowers State Driver Licensing Agencies to waive the skills test requirement for CDL applicants if said applicants have at least two years of military vehicle driving experience.
Veterans who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity can simply fill out the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver and submitted to the licensing agency in their state. Each licensing agency processes their own applications, looking at an applicant’s driving history, driving experience, military history, and military endorsements.
This program was finalized in 2011. In the years since then, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted this program to help veterans transition to civilian life and find meaningful work.
The Benefits of The FMCSA Program
This program comes with many benefits for licensing agencies, veterans, and trucking companies. Licensing agencies save money on testing drivers who have already been evaluated and who have already demonstrated their ability to drive safely. Veterans can use their military experience to begin working as soon as they return home, allowing them to start earning money and adjust to life as quickly as possible. Trucking companies can hire experienced drivers without having to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in training them.
Do You Qualify for This Program?
Since 2011, over 10,000 veterans have used this program to get their CDL and start working in the trucking industry (, 2015). If you are a military veteran, you may be wondering if you can use this program to start driving commercially. You have to meet a number of qualifications and go through an established process to be considered.
When you apply, you must supply proof of the following:
- That you have at least two years of safe driving experience in military vehicles.
- That you have not held more than one license in the last two years.
- That you have not had your state license suspended, revoked, or cancelled in the past.
- That you have not had any motor vehicle convictions that lead to CDL disqualification.
Furthermore, you must provide your licensing agency with proof of your military service and an endorsement from your commanding officer. Once the licensing agency in your state has processed your application and approved it, you can use your CDL to begin working.
The United States has an obligation to its veterans for all that they have done for the country. The FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver program is one way that the country can support its veterans.
Leave your comments below and tell us about your own experience as a veteran and trucker.