Recently, we published an article detailing the reasons why military veterans make great professional truck drivers.
But did you know that for some of those veterans who are interested in Trucking, getting your Class A CDL license is a simple process that doesn’t even require taking the skills test?
That’s right. You may be closer to earning your CDL than you even realize!
If you have the proper paperwork — specifically, the veteran CDL skills test waiver — and certain qualifications from your time in the military, you can skip the skills testing phase, which means far fewer hurdles standing between you and your new career earning great pay as a CDL driver.
Let’s look more closely at the veteran CDL skills test waiver and how to qualify for it:
What Is A Veteran CDL Skills Test Waiver?
A veteran CDL skills test waiver is basically a way for former military drivers to prove that they’ve had enough practical skills training in the form of driving comparable vehicles while serving in the military. Those who qualify for the waiver are able to skip the skills testing that many civilians would need to successfully complete before earning a Class A CDL license.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website:
In May 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finalized the Commercial Learner’s Permit rule. Within that rule is a provision that gives State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) the authority to substitute two years of CMV safe driving experience in military equivalents of commercial motor vehicles, for the skills test portion of the commercial driver license skills test. Military drivers must apply within one year of separation from active duty.
So, basically, if you drove certain military vehicles and meet a few other requirements, you can get your Class A CDL license sooner than later. What are those other requirements? Well…
Qualifications For A Veteran CDL Skills Test Waiver
First, you should make sure your state offers the military skills test waiver. You can do that by clicking here and checking the map page on the FMCSA’s website.
The FMCSA’s website also explains:
The regulation, 49 CFR 383.77, provides guidance for SDLAs that requires the applicant to certify:
- His/ her safe driving experience;
- That he or she has not held more than one license (except a military DL) in the past two years;
- Has not had his/her base State issued driver license suspended, revoked or cancelled; and,
- Has not had convictions in any type of motor vehicle for the disqualifying CDL offenses listed elsewhere in the regulations.
There are also other requirements that States must recognize in order to take advantage of this Skills Test Waiver, but the process allows States to assist veterans and active duty personnel in their transition from their military occupation to a civilian career. As more and more of our military troops return home from active duty, the Department of Transportation and FMCSA have joined with the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs to ease this process.
Once you’ve made sure your state offers the waiver and are ready to show that you meet all the necessary requirements, including the above qualifications, the next step is to get the ball rolling by filling out the official application form for the waiver, which you can get by clicking here.
If you have any questions, please be sure to check with your State Driver Licensing Agency.
Do I Still Need Training If I Get The Veteran CDL Skills Test Waiver?
This is the tricky part. See, a lot of former military drivers are more familiar with automatic than with standard transmissions. This can impact those veterans’ ability to get hired because civilian employers generally prefer their employees have standard shift experience.
The best course of action for veterans in this situation is to apply for the waiver for the sake of bypassing some of the testing, while still attending Roadmaster in order to learn how to shift and drive according to various current industry standards, preferences and requirements.
What If I Don’t Qualify For A Veteran CDL Skills Test Waiver?
The good news is that in either case — whether you qualify for the waiver or not — Roadmaster Drivers School can help veterans to achieve their goals.
For example, Roadmaster proudly accepts the Post 9/11 GI Benefit. That means that, for those veterans who qualify, your training could be paid for in recognition of your service.
As for the time it takes to earn your Class A CDL license and begin your new career, Roadmaster also offers you an advantage in that our comprehensive CDL training program takes, on average, just 3-4 weeks.
So whether you qualify for the veteran CDL skills test waiver or not, we recommend you get on the road to success today by signing up for Roadmaster’s accelerated training course.
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises