Home CDL Requirements

CDL Requirements

FindATruckingJob.com wants to help you find a career in the trucking industry. The first step in starting your career is earning your CDL. This lets employers know that you’re serious about succeeding in the industry – and that you have the skills they need. If you’re not sure about the CDL requirements in your state, use the links below to find the information you’re looking for!

If you already have your CDL, let us help you find opportunities in your state. With our easy application process you can submit your qualifications to several companies without filling out your information multiple times.

Why Earn a CDL in Your State

Getting your Commercial Drivers License is the first step in the process of becoming a truck driver. Most jobs in the trucking industry require you to obtain a CDL before you are considered. The trucking industry is growing rapidly, and people with CDLs and good driving records are in demand. Having a CDL is a great asset even if you don’t drive a truck full time. For example, if you operate a machine for a construction company your employer will appreciate that you can jump into a truck and move it or haul a load when necessary. Most people think of truck drivers as long-haulers, but there are many types of local truck driving jobs too. With a CDL you could drive a tow truck, deliver fuel to gas stations in a tanker truck, haul cars on a trailer or haul groceries in a reefer trailer. Almost everything you buy in a store has been on a truck at some point.

Federal CDL Requirements

The first step to obtaining a CDL is filling out an application and bringing it to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers are only allowed to have a CDL in one state, so you should apply for a CDL in your home state even if you plan to work as a driver in other states. It’s a good idea to pick up a CDL drivers manual when you pick up the application because you will be required to pass a written test before you are given a CDL learners permit. Some states require drivers to pass more than one written test. Eighty-percent is considered passing.

You will also be required to obtain a “Medical Examiner’s Certificate” to prove that you are physically capable of operating a commercial motor vehicle. Some of the requirements are that your vision must be correctable to 20/40, you cannot be an insulin-dependent diabetic, and your blood sugar level must not be more than 200 for a finger test. Other conditions like sleep apnea may also disqualify you from obtaining a CDL.

After you have had your learner’s permit for the amount of time specified by your state, you will need to pass another written test as well as a skills test before you are given your first CDL license. Many DMVs are backed up, so make an appointment for your test as far in advance as possible. You may need to rent or borrow a truck to take your test in if you are not attending a truck driving school.

Many drivers go to a truck driving school before taking the test to get their CDL. Most schools range from three weeks to seven weeks. You will learn about safety and basic requirements of the job as well as the physical aspects of driving a commercial vehicle. A few trucking companies even have their own driving schools where they will educate you about truck driving and help you get your license in exchange for a commitment to work for them for a certain amount of time. Some schools only offer basic license courses, while others have programs to help drivers who want specialized endorsements such as hazardous materials.

Each state has requirements that must be met before an individual can actually receive their CDL. Many of these requirements are nationally mandated, and are found in each and every state. Such mandates include the age requirement for those crossing state lines and those carrying hazardous materials (21).

Some states will require that you list the driver’s licenses that you have held in other states over the last ten years. Others will require you to pass a vision test, and will require you to keep a constant, up-to-date medical report. It is important for all to understand all of the licensing requirements that exist for the state that they will be applying for a commercial driver’s license in.

After You Earn Your CDL

Once you have earned your CDL, it’s time to get a job. If your school was affiliated with a company they will likely get you into a truck on your own as soon as possible. You will continue your learning on the job. Even if your school isn’t affiliated with a company, they are still a great resource when it comes to finding a job. Ask your instructors for recommendations of companies that are willing to hire drivers with little or no experience. It’s also smart to attend job fairs in your area and search online for job postings.

If freedom is one of the things that attracted you to being a truck driver you may find that being an owner-operator is a better fit for you. Starting out as a company driver is smart even if your final goal is to be an owner-operator because truck driving is something that is best learned by practice. Your company may offer an owner-operator program where you can lease your truck to them and not be totally on your own until you have a better understanding of the trucking industry.
Move Ahead With FindATruckingJob.com!

If you have your CDL or meet your state’s requirements for pursuing a trucking career, it’s time to get started. Use our free listings and resources to discover career opportunities in your area today!