As a truck driver, you’ll be able to explore the world and earn a lot of money. Whether you’re hauling crude oil or fruit, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll enjoy the experience. However, it is vital to understand that this job is not suitable for everyone. As a trucker, you’re going to find yourself alone more often than not. Simultaneously, you’ll have to stay away from home for a long duration before returning. With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure you’re suitable for the job before getting started.
Is It For You?
Before trying to obtain a CDL license, you’ll want to make sure that truck driving is a suitable profession for you. As a truck driver, you’ll have the opportunity to travel the world and make a decent income. However, you’ll likely be required to stay away from home for a long time. This can be difficult for truck drivers with families. There are short runs that allow you to return home every day though. Do you have what it takes to become a trucker? Don’t move forward haphazardly. Make sure you have what it takes before moving forward.
Know The Requirements
To become a professional truck driver, you’ll need to acquire a CDL or commercial driver’s license. Before you can qualify, you’ll have to meet a handful of requirements. Those requirements may vary from one state to another. Nevertheless, you most likely need to be 18-years-old or older. In some areas, you have to be 21-years-old. Simultaneously, you have to provide proof of residency for the state you call home. You’ll need to have a valid driver’s license in the jurisdiction where you’re going to be applying.
How Long Does It Take To Obtain A CDL?
Ultimately, your top priority should be to obtain your CDL. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to learn how to avoid getting your first hours of service violation. So, how long will it take for you to obtain a commercial driver’s license? If you’re going to be attending a full-time driver training program, it’ll likely take seven weeks before you get the CDL. There are other ways to obtain a CDL so you’ll want to examine all of your options before making your decision.
Depending on your job, you may need a CDL with a HAZMAT Endorsement. When you’re involved in the long-haul business, there is a good chance that you’re going to be hauling dangerous materials. Those materials may be classified as HAZMATs or hazardous materials. If you’re going to be hauling explosives, gases, or other dangerous chemicals, you’ll need a HAZMAT Endorsement. If you have warrants or have been convicted of robbery or immigration violations, you will not be able to acquire a HAZMAT Endorsement.
You’ll also be required to complete the TSA background check. Either way, you can get paid a lot more for transporting hazardous materials so jumping through the extra hoops will be worth it.
Shadowing A CDL Holder
Remember that most transportation companies will not throw you to the wolves. Instead, they’re going to require you to undergo extensive training. Once you’ve been added to the roster, you can guarantee that you’ll need to shadow a professional. This is an excellent opportunity since it’ll allow you to experience the long-haul industry without taking too many risks. Depending on the job you’re acquiring, you may be required to shadow another driver for a few weeks or months.
Complete CDL Training
If you are planning on driving vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds, you will need to undergo CDL training. Many local vocational schools and colleges offer truck driving courses. During the course, you are required to learn how to operate a commercial vehicle. You will also be required to learn the FMCSA regulations, which pertain to tractor-trailers, semis, livestock carriers, flatbeds, and tanker trucks.
Truck driving courses generally provide information about the proper ways to haul oversized loads and hazardous materials. Students will be required to show the instructors that they know how to properly operate a commercial vehicle on highways, county roads, and interstates, as well as the FMSCA regulations before they are permitted to take the CDL Written Knowledge Test.
Pass CDL Written Knowledge Test
Once you complete the CDL training test, you will be required to pass the CDL Knowledge Test. You will need to determine which CDL classifications you will need before taking the written exam. In some cases, it may be possible to get by with just a Class A license, which covers some Class B and C commercial vehicles as long as the driver has the proper endorsements.
A Class B CDL license covers vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more. It also covers vehicles that weigh 26,001 pounds or more hauling a vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. A Class C CDL license covers all commercial vehicles that are not covered under the Class A and B CDL licenses.
Once you pass the CDL Written Test, you will be permitted to take the CDL Road Skills Test.