How to Get Your Class A CDL License
Prepare to receive a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to launch your career as a professional truck driver. If you want to get behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer, then you need to hold a CDL. Learn how to get your CDL license by starting your training, taking the exam, and officially becoming a professional truck driver with this guide.
Steps to Earn a CDL in Your State
States can issue you a CDL driver’s license only after successful training and written and driving tests have been completed. There are multiple classes of CDL, but Class A is required to operate a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating over 26,000 pounds. Prepare for your career by obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit, preparing for the CDL exam, and completing it after training at a highly-rated CDL school.
Obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit
A Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) allows you to drive on the road with a CDL holder, which is a crucial step in your training. You must pass a Department of Transportation physical examination, a driving record check, and hold your CLP for at least 14 days before taking the CDL exam and completing mandated training. Use this opportunity to practice behind the wheel with a highly trained team of instructors.
Prepare for the Exam
Study for the knowledge and skills tests of the CDL exam by enrolling in a reputable CDL training school.
Truck driving schools, like Roadmaster, teach you what you need to know to get your commercial driver’s license in about a month. Once you have your Class A driver’s license, you are ready to head to your new employer for additional training.
Pass the Exam
Wait until you feel confident, then schedule your CDL exam and prepare to earn this essential license. The specific questions and road skills required for the test vary by state. You’ll need to demonstrate pre-trip inspection skills, basic control skills, driving skills, and knowledge of laws and regulations.
Required Documents to Earn Your CDL
A CDL license is regulated by your state and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In order to receive this license, you’ll need to have the following valid documents:
- Identification: You will be asked to provide proof that you are either a U.S. citizen or else have a lawful presence. Your identification must have your full name (including first, middle, and last) and must state your age.
- Proof of state residency: In order to get your Class A CDL, you’ll need to show proof of where you live. The CDL exam is a state-level exam, and licenses are also issued through the state.
- Evidence of a Social Security number: You will be asked to provide proof of a Social Security number (SSN) by presenting official documents stating it. All SSN documents must be originals, and copies will not be accepted.
- Medical certificate: FMCSA requires you to pass specific health qualifications before safely operating a commercial vehicle.
Reach out to a representative at Roadmaster Drivers School if you’re concerned about one or more of these documents. Find a driving school in your state for convenient training and exam preparation.
Tips for Getting and Maintaining Your Class A CDL
The amount of time your CDL is valid depends on your state. Typically, your license will need to be renewed after four to eight years. Here are some tips to help you not only earn your license but also maintain and renew it:
- Stay healthy: Driving long distances requires focus and good health. The trucking lifestyle can be demanding, so you must be in shape enough to meet the role’s responsibilities. Physical examinations are mandatory for most CDL seekers.
- Don’t do drugs: Obtaining a CDL requires completing a five-stage drug test at the school level. Random drug tests are possible for all drivers so long as they hold their CDL. Many carriers are transitioning to hair follicle testing that looks back up to 90 days for drug usage. Testing positive for drug usage at any point will result in a driver losing their CDL and unable to work in the industry.
- Keep a clean driving record: CDL training schools and trucking carriers look for drivers who have proven to be skilled and safe on the road. Speeding tickets, DUIs, and other traffic violations are important factors when getting a CDL but don’t automatically mean you’re disqualified.
- Be of age: Drivers must be at least 21 to drive across state lines.
- Sign up for training at an approved training school: Best-in-industry schools like Roadmaster are a great way to get your foot in the door. Virtually all carriers recognize the value of a Roadmaster-trained driver.
Work with a Roadmaster professional to learn more about these. It’s possible to earn a CDL even if you have a driving record or other issues. Be honest about your situation with the Roadmaster team to see what steps you can take.
How to Get Your CDL License With Roadmaster Drivers School
Discover how to get your CDL license and take the next step in your career journey with Roadmaster Drivers School. Requirements change over time, so reach out to a Roadmaster team member to learn more about requirements specific to your state and personal situation. Apply today to see how you can begin your career as a truck driver by training with Roadmaster Drivers School.