Steps Toward Obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License

A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) opens the door to a host of career opportunities. And, while there are federal guidelines for getting your CDL, each state also has its own regulations and application procedures, so the testing process can be a bit confusing…maybe even overwhelming, without some guidance.

While you may be tempted to try the “do-it-yourself” method of obtaining a commercial driver’s license, most people who do find it’s a lot tougher to d rive an 18-wheeler than it seems. The best route to your CDL may well be through a school-based training program.

There are four basic steps to getting a CDL:

1.      Reviewing your state’s CDL manual to determine if you meet all requirements – from minimum age to physical requirements to help ensure the process goes smoothly.

2.      Getting your CDL permit. Much like a regular driver’s license, you’ll need a permit to take the written and driving tests necessary for obtaining a commercial license.

3.      Adding CDL endorsements based upon what you hope to transport. Some endorsements, such as a Hazardous Materials one may also require a background check.

4.      Passing your CDL driving test as part of a three-part exam that also includes a pre-trip inspection and basic control skills test.

School-based CDL programs provide the classroom information you’ll need to pass the written exams, as well as the hands-on training to successfully complete the skills and driving tests. Then, there are the medical and residency requirements that need to be met, according to each state’s specific guidelines.

There are three classes of CDL licenses, with specialized endorsements for driving vehicles such as school buses, tank trucks, tractor trailers, and more. Since each requires its own skills, and potentially, written test, it’s important to know which endorsements you’ll need in order to prepare. Once you pass all your tests, you’ll be ready to discover how rewarding the world of truck driving can be.

If becoming a commercial driver falls within your career plans, Fortis offers programs in Class A CDL and Advanced Tractor Trailer Driving in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Forty Fort, PA, and Cookeville, TN. Graduates are qualified to take the requisite skills and written tests to become tractor trailer drivers in intrastate and interstate commerce. Visit our Commercial Driving program page for more information about Fortis offerings.

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