Driving a truck can give you an opportunity to explore the country, meet a variety of people and make a decent living. If you are choosing your career as a truck driver you must be acquainted with the pros and cons of the trucking industry. If you are totally ready to begin, then these pointers which are discussed in the blog will be very helpful for you.
Checklist for starting your trucking career
- Get your Commercial Driver's License.
- Get endorsements for specific loads/truck types if necessary.
- Get your own truck and complete the required insurance/paperwork.
- Or join a trucking company and start taking deliveries.
Getting your Commercial Driver's License
For getting your CDL skills school test, you are required to attend a trucking school. The CDL training is a full-time program and takes about 7 weeks to complete. You are required to dedicate a minimum of 40 hours a week to the training of truck driving.
There are some basic requirements for pursuing your Commercial Driver's License (CDL).
- High School Diploma or a GED
- A qualified and clean driving record
- Carry a Class D license for at least 1 year and in good standing
- To be at least 18 years old for driving in-state
- To be at least 21 years old for driving state-to-state
- Possess a social security card
- A proof of insurance
- Pass a 10-year background check
- Pass TSA screening
- Pass a medical examination
- Pass periodic drug tests
Step 1: Apply for Commercial Learner's Permit
The Commercial Learner's Permit allows you to practice and drive legally on the roads, with the CDL holder accompanying you.
Every state has its own specific requirements which need a 10-year driving record and health check, depending on the rules and regulations of the state.
For more precise information, it is recommended to check the requisite state's CDL manual.
Step 2: Get your Commercial Driver's License
Before taking your skills test, you are required to hold the CLP for 14 days. Some states have criteria in which they require skills tests earlier.
The skills test is divided into 3 parts:
- Vehicle Inspections
- Basic Controls Test
- Road Tests.
After passing your tests, you are a certified commercial driver. The CDL may be given to you on a similar day, or it may be delivered to you in your mail.
The costs of CDL vary from state line to state line.
|CDL Application Fee||$0-$43||When applying for the Commercial Driver's License you will be required to complete the application. The form consists of identification information like name, address, DOB, and social security number. It also consists of questions related to certifications like are you are a resident in the state in which you are applying for your CDL. Do you have any limitations or medical conditions like physical or mental? In addition to these questions, the application enquires about the CDL endorsements which you trying to obtain.|
|CDL endorsement Fee||Varies||It varies depending on the endorsement and state. The six endorsements that can be added are:
|CDL written test Fees||$125||The CDL written test comprises questions that involve several topics:
If the driver is applying for endorsements additional questions are also added. There are additional 20 to 25 questions. Most states do not set a time limit for the applicant for answering the endorsement examination questions.
|CDL skills test Fees||$250||The CDL skills test includes:
|CDL license fee||$120||After passing your CDL exam, you are required to pay for your commercial driver's license, which can cost around $120. You must renew your CDL on a regular basis, depending on the laws of the state. Check the state's requirements to find out more.|
Typically, there are three types of CDL for every state:
Commercial Class A CDL: Legal combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the commercial vehicle being towed is in surplus of 10,000 pounds.
Commercial Class B CDL: Single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds and any such vehicle towing a vehicle, not in excess of 10,000 GVWR, or a 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 pounds.
Commercial Class C CDL: Any Class C commercial vehicle with one or more of the following endorsements:
- Hazardous Materials (HazMat)
- Passenger Vehicle (PV)
- Tank Vehicle (TV)
For a beginner truck driver, the options might be limited but it is recommended that you ensure that the employer provides work/life balance and benefits. Therefore, there are differences when it comes to choosing between a large-scale or a small-scale company. Small companies provide higher pay and close connections with staff, the big companies impart the opportunity to grow within the company and work on different projects. If you do not have training the company will not just allow you to be on the roads with their trucks. The length of the training program varies from company to company.
Once you have become a professional and you have clocked several miles, it may be a good decision to plan the next move. If you are looking to move closer to home or to do more regional work. Maybe you have got all the necessary skills that are needed for switching from truck driver to owner/fleet operator. You need to think about your goals, accomplishments, and ongoing challenges with truck driving and select the correct option.
We hope that this article provides you with an overview of starting your exciting trucking career. Our aim is to make sure that you get the job done in the most efficient and safest way possible.