Home Trucking FAQs What is the process to obtain a CDL?

What is the process to obtain a CDL?

A CDL License is necessary to be able to work as a truck driver for any trucking company, large or small.

Obtaining your CDL requires study and practice.  You will have to pass both a written test and a driving test to fulfill your CDL Requirements and be eligible for trucking jobs.  The written test covers driving basics and the rules for your state.  The driving test covers pre-trip inspection, driving your vehicle in a variety of conditions, and backing maneuvers.

When properly prepared, these items are relatively easy to pass for most truck drivers. Truck driving schools are a great way to obtain both the knowledge and practical experience you need to meet your CDL Requirements.

Truck driving schools will teach you rules and regulations you need to operate a commercial vehicle properly.  Schools also give you practical experience in a controlled environment to gain confidence and ability in handling a large truck.  Some trucking companies run driving schools, and they will also teach you information specific to their company.

The process includes 3 main steps, although your state may differ in requirements. 

Step 1: Pass the written test to get your CDL learner’s permit.  Your CDL learner’s permit will allow you to drive a truck as long as you have a licensed CDL driver riding with you.  Getting your permit usually involves a written test and a fee.

Step 2: Obtain a CDL physical form a physician.  Federal law requires you carry a medical card from a physician that certifies you are in good enough physical condition to drive a truck.  Check with your family doctor to see if he or she performs CDL physicals.  If not, you may obtain one from another physician in your area.

Step 3: Pass your driving test.  Your driving test will assess your ability to operate your vehicle.  The test includes: pre-trip inspection, maneuvering and backing, and driving in traffic.  You must sufficiently demonstrate proficiency in all areas in order to pass.

There are additional written tests and/or background checks based on any endorsements you may want to add to your license, such as hazmat.  The department of motor vehicles in your will be able to provide specific details.

Once you have your CDL License, you are ready to apply for Trucking Jobs.