Ever wanted to be a truck driver? Maybe you’re not sure and are just reading up on the topic to see if it’s a career for you. Truck driving is one of the largest areas of employment in the United States. There are approximately 3.2 million truck drivers in the US. To become a truck driver you must earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). In this article we will discuss what you need to study and how to get a CDL.
The most common place to earn a CDL is at a community college. Community colleges often offer a complete truck driver training course. If you choose this option rest assured that there are adequate staff and resources on hand to help you earn your CDL. The qualifications you earn studying to become a truck driver at college can be used as the foundation of your education to move into more advanced degree if at some time you wish to do this. But community college truck driving courses can be the longest course to take so if your wanting to take a fast route I wouldn’t recommend a community college. But if you want to be a truck driver and there is a community college truck driving course nearby this might be an option to consider. There is financial aid offered to lower earning households to help with the cost of tuition fees and resources, you will not receive this sort of support at other truck driving schools.
There are different classes of CDL’s which are class A, B and C. Class A is the best type of license to have as it will allow you to drive any of vehicle with a weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds (11,793 kg) given that the vehicle being driven is in excess of 10,000 pounds (4536 kg). A class B license will let you drive any single vehicle with a weight rating of 26,001 pounds just like class A but this vehicle cannot tow an excess of 10,000 pounds, and finally a class C license will let you drive any vehicle or any combination of vehicles that doesn’t meet the definition of class A or class B but is made to carry 15 or more passengers excluding the driver and is placarded for hazardous materials.
During your CDL training you will learn how to read maps, plan trips and manage log books which all help for a better journey. Then for the practical aspect, you will learn how to drive in reverse, turn in tight conditions, and couple and uncouple a trailer. They will teach you shifting, general road driving and they will also teach you how to perform pre-trip inspections. All the basic necessities needed to get by and have safe trips when driving a truck.
The test to earn a CDL does not require any formal training as such. A driver needs to pass a written test of safety when on the highway and then pass a test about different parts of a truck, there are possible 30 or more questions on this test and to pass this test you must answer 80% or more of the questions correctly. The practical side involves performing a set of maneuvers on a track and the test is taken in the vehicle that the driver wishes to operate.