Truck drivers are in-demand, providing ample opportunities for those with the proper licensing. Typically, candidates need a current CDL to qualify for these exciting roles, which ensures they know how to operate large trucks correctly and safely.
While getting a CDL isn’t wholly unlike the process you use for a traditional driver’s license, there are a few differences. If you want to become a CDL Driver, here’s what you need to know.
How to Become a CDL Driver
In most cases, the first step you’ll need to take if you want to become a CDL driver is to get your commercial learner’s permit (CPL). A CPL is a provisional license that allows those learning to drive commercial trucks the ability to be on the road in those vehicles under specific conditions.
Typically, you need to be at least 18 years old to get a CPL. You’ll also need to take a written exam covering the road rules for CDL drivers. In many cases, you’ll provide medical documents, too, allowing you to show that you’re in suitable health.
Once you have a CPL, you must attend a truck driver training program. Focus on programs that are approved by your state. After signing up, you’ll participate in classroom instruction to learn various fundamentals and use school-provided vehicles to get experience operating trucks. Many truck driving schools also cover vehicle inspection and maintenance requirements that come with CDL jobs.
While at a truck driving school, your time driving a truck is directly supervised by an instructor. They’ll provide guidance that helps you learn critical techniques, ensuring you can operate the vehicle safely in various situations.
After completing your training, it’s time for the CDL test. In most states, this includes several components, including an inspection, control, and road test, under the supervision of a licensing professional. You might also go through a background check and a brief eye exam to ensure your license eligibility.
When you initially get your CDL, you can add special endorsements, such as a tanker, hazardous material, or double- or triple-trailer endorsement. These include additional tests – both written and road – to ensure you can operate these specialized trucks safely. While these broaden your career horizons, they are optional, as not all CDL jobs require them.
How to Find Your First CDL Job
After you get your CDL, it’s time for your first official truck driving job. There are several ways you can approach your job search. Often, new CDL drivers get online to find opportunities, either by heading to major job boards or checking out the career pages on company websites.
However, you can significantly speed up the process by using another strategy. By partnering with a recruiter, you can learn about lucrative opportunities at companies that are hiring right away. Plus, many of the roles don’t require prior experience as a professional truck driver, making them excellent options for those just starting their careers.
If you’re ready to find your first CDL driver job, GSG Talent Solutions wants to hear from you. Contact us today.