What is a CDL License?
To become part of the booming trucking industry, you need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). But what is it? This guide will help you understand the CDL license requirements and how to obtain one for a career in the truck driving field.
Why you need a Commercial Driver’s License?
If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver in the United States, you’ll need to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This type of license differs from the standard driver’s license, which is only for operating passenger vehicles. To obtain a CDL, you’ll need to take a specialized course and pass a CDL exam. Afterward, you’ll be all set to start driving a commercial truck!
What Does a CDL License Allow You To Do?
Getting a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) demonstrates that you have the skills to drive a commercial vehicle, like a bus, tractor-trailer, or dump truck, responsibly and safely. Having a CDL is important when applying for jobs in the trucking industry, as it shows that you can competently operate a vehicle of significant size (weighing more than 50,000 pounds). It is important to be aware that there are different types of CDLs that permit the driving of different commercial vehicles for work as a truck driver.
What Types of CDL Licenses Are Available?
There are three types of Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDLs) that you can study for: Class A, Class B, and Class C. The license you get determines what types of commercial vehicles you are allowed to drive, which will impact the types of truck driving jobs you can apply for.
Class A CDLs give you the greatest level of flexibility as you can drive any vehicle with two or more axles that have a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds and a towed vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds. This means you can drive an extensive variety of vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, tankers, flatbeds, and livestock carriers, as well as have the option of crossing state borders for better job opportunities and wages.
With a Class B CDL, you are eligible to drive non-articulating commercial vehicles with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more and tow vehicles that are below 10,000 pounds. This includes dump trucks, straight trucks, box trucks, and delivery trucks, as well as buses used for travel between cities, schools, or tourist areas.
A Class C license is required if you will be driving a vehicle that is lighter than 26,000 pounds, which can accommodate sixteen or more people or contain hazardous materials. For example, you can use a Class C CDL to drive a tank truck, bus, HazMat vehicle, or triple trailer but will need to receive a Passenger (P) or Hazardous Materials (HME) endorsement, depending on what the vehicle will be used for.
Which Type of CDL Should You Get?
A Class A CDL license offers the most opportunities for driving commercial vehicles, including the heaviest trailers, across state lines. That is why, unless you are planning to only drive an intrastate bus or small truck, getting a Class A license is the best choice to launch your trucking career. By holding this type of CDL, employers will recognize your capability to handle nearly any kind of commercial vehicle on a multi-state basis.
Furthermore, a Class A license can open the door to higher-paying trucking jobs. This is because long-distance transportation across state lines, such as driving a tractor-trailer, tends to pay more than other smaller jobs like driving a bus or a garbage truck. Depending on where you live, the salary for these roles is typically around $62,660* , and is often accompanied by a range of other benefits such as health insurance, 401k contributions, and tuition reimbursement.
If the potential benefits of a CDL license sound appealing, why not start your journey to becoming a truck driver today? Roadmaster Driver’s School is here to help, offering CDL training that covers everything you need to pass your CDL exam. Conta