Let’s take a look at how to get your Class A CDL license, and some of the specific steps you need to take.
Pick A Program
The first step is to pick a CDL training program that works for you. Some things to consider when deciding which program to choose to include:
The quality of the training is the most important thing you want to look for when weighing options. In fact, it’s even more important than price. Think of it this way: If you aren’t getting your money’s worth out of the program, then you’re not actually saving money by going to the cheaper school. You’re wasting it.
For more on this point, check out this article about how to tell if a truck driver school is quality or not.
Flexible scheduling is crucial for a lot of people looking to train for their CDL, and for good reason. Not everyone can afford to take the time away from work or other obligations to focus solely on training.
If this is a point of concern for you, then be sure to check with the program you’re considering to see if they’re able to work around your schedule.
Roadmaster, for example, has a bunch of options to help our students train around their work schedules. To see what those options are and read about the details, check out this blog post ;about our flexible scheduling.
Along the same lines as flexible scheduling, the length of the program is often a concern among prospective students.
Let’s face it, not everyone has the luxury of spreading their training out over six months or longer. Many people need to start earning money much sooner in order to pay their bills, support their families or handle any number of other responsibilities.So, be sure to find out how long it will take before you start earning money.
A good program will take somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 weeks. Any less than that (say, two weeks) isn’t enough time to properly prepare for the CDL exam. And any longer than that (some programs may take several months!) might be more time than you actually need to spend, especially since many of the reputable trucking companies you’re probably hoping to get a job with will want to train you themselves on some of the more advanced techniques after you get your CDL anyway.
At Roadmaster, many students complete their training within the 3-4 week window. For more information on this, read this article about training program length.
Be sure to consider all of these factors — quality, flexibility and duration — together in order to come up with the best CDL training school for you. If you need more guidance on the process, take a look at this article on the 3 steps for picking a CDL training school.
Once you’ve chosen a CDL training school, it’s time to get down to brass tacks. If you’ve chosen wisely, the quality training program will teach you the skills you’ll need in order to be well-prepared for your CDL exam.
The training should be a mix of classroom learning, training pad practice and in-the-truck experience. From concepts like filling out log books to hands-on experience with coupling/uncoupling, backing, driving and more, your training should cover all the basics and put you in a position to approach the CDL exam with confidence.
As far as what to take with you to your training, it’s a good idea to check with your school beforehand. Each school is different and has certain items they may want or require you to bring that other schools don’t. Even from among Roadmaster Drivers School locations across the country, for example, some schools may have a few items that are uniquely required for that particular location depending on the regional climate, featured equipment and other factors.
For a list of some of the often-overlooked items you may need, take a look at this article on the “Top 5 Things You’re Forgetting to Take to CDL School.”
Take the Exam
So let’s fast forward about 4 weeks or so from now. You’ve already made the decision to invest in your own future by becoming a professional truck driver. You’ve chosen a quality CDL training school and have put in the work necessary to earn your Class A CDL license.
Now, only one thing stands in your way: The CDL exam [DUN DUN dunnn!].
Sounds pretty scary, right? Well it’s not!
If you’ve followed these steps, chosen the right driver training program and paid attention to your trainers, the CDL exam shouldn’t be scary. It’s your moment to shine. You should be looking forward to it because it could be the turning point where you accomplish your goal and achieve a whole new life and career in the exciting, in-demand Professional Trucking Industry!
Want to know more about what to expect after you’ve taken your CDL exam? Be sure to keep checking back with us on the Roadmaster blog over the coming weeks and months, as we’ll be discussing topics including life after your CDL training, industry pay, and benefits, what happens if you need to retake your CDL exam, how to maintain your CDL license and more.
In the meantime, you can start your journey by looking into Roadmaster Drivers School. Our friendly Admissions Representatives are available to help with your questions and to give you the information you’ll need to make the best possible decision for your future.
*wage information provided by Werner Enterprises