For many people, the open road is where their heart is, making a job as a CDL driver particularly appealing. While it’s easy to assume that getting your start in this exciting career is tricky, securing the necessary credentials is often far simpler than one would expect. If you want to know how to become a CDL driver, here’s a quick overview of the process.
Secure a Regular Driver’s License
Before you can get a CDL endorsement on your license, you need a traditional driver’s license in your state. Along with ensuring you understand the essentials of on-the-road safety, getting your regular driver’s license first could help you qualify for driving positions that don’t require CDLs, allowing you to work while you prepare to earn that endorsement.
How long you need to have your regular license before attempting to get your CDL can vary by state. As a result, you’ll want to check local rules to see the exact timeline.
Choose Your CDL and Endorsements
Knowing which CDL level you want to target and the endorsements you want to secure can help you prepare for what lies ahead. Each type of CDL and endorsement comes with an exam. By knowing which one (or ones) you want to add to your license, you’ll have an easier time knowing what to study.
Get Medical Clearance
There are medical requirements if you want to get your CDL. Usually, states require drivers to both self-certify and complete a formal medical exam. The timing at which those need to occur can vary by state. However, it’s typically necessary for securing your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), so keep that in mind.
Start Your CDL Training
Usually, CDL training is two-fold. First, there’s a focus on knowledge, ensuring you have the right information to drive safely and pass any written exams. Second, training allows you to hone road skills, ensuring you can properly operate the vehicle, navigate traffic, and otherwise cruise down the road safely.
In most cases, aspiring truck drivers go to truck driving schools to handle the initial training. This can include programs at vocational schools or community colleges, as well as separate truck driving instructional institutions, depending on what’s available in your area.
Get Your CDL Endorsement
Once you complete your training, you’ll need to secure your CDL endorsement. In most cases, this is a two-part process involving a written exam and a road test. However, the exact order and timing can vary depending on state standards.
Find Your First CDL Job
After securing your CDL endorsement, it’s time to land your first CDL job. Fortunately, truck drivers are in-demand, making it easier to get your career off of the ground quickly once you have your CDL license.
If you’re ready to learn more about how to become a CDL driver or want to find your first CDL job, the team at GSG Talent Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us to speak with our recruiters and learn more about our available positions today.