So, you want to become a truck driver! Perhaps you’re dreaming about driving across the country and experiencing new places. Maybe you’re excited to escape the standard, humdrum, 9-to-5 office job and hit the open road. Or, perhaps you’re most focused on joining a lease-purchase truck program so that you can become your own boss. Whatever your reasoning, you’re likely eager to get started — but you can’t commence your new career until you’ve secured a commercial driver’s license (CDL). How long does it take to get a CDL? Let’s do a little math . . .
How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL?
So, how long does it take to get a CDL? As you might have guessed, it depends on a few different factors. To get started, ask yourself a few questions:
- Are you at least 21 years old? If you’re younger than 21, you won’t be able to drive commercial vehicles over state lines. You’ll have to wait until your 21st birthday to get started.
- Do you have a current driver’s license? If not, you’ll need to get one before you can begin the process of securing a CDL. Many states require 1-2 years of driving experience as well.
- Do you have proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency? State requirements vary, but these are commonly required to obtain a CDL.
- What type of CDL do you want? There are three classifications to choose from: Class A, Class B, and Class C. The classification you secure will affect which trucks you’re allowed to drive, as they vary in weight and shipment of hazardous materials.
- Do you want additional endorsements? If you wish to drive certain types of commercial vehicles, you’ll need to add an endorsement to your CDL, which will add a little time to the process. For example, if you wish to drive passenger vehicles or tankers, you’ll need specific endorsements.
Next, let’s explore some factors that will influence the overall timeline:
- Enrolling in a CDL program is necessary for you to learn how to drive commercial motor vehicles. You’ll learn the rules of the road, how to inspect your vehicle, how to plan routes, how to secure freight, and more. Typically, these classes are a few weeks long, and you’ll be qualified to take the CDL exam by the end.
- Practicing with a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) will allow you to test out your new skills on the road. You must pass a test to secure a CLP, and you’re required to have a CLP for at least two weeks before you can take the CDL driving test. That’s the minimum, but many people wait a little longer to build up their confidence and skill level.
- Getting a Medical Examiner’s Certificate is essential because it proves that an expert considers you physically capable of safely operating a commercial vehicle. The doctor will check your eyesight, hearing, blood sugar, blood pressure, and more. If your doctor is often booked up, try to schedule this ASAP.
- Passing the written exam and driving test is the last roadblock on your route to a career in professional truck driving. Once you’ve passed, you’ll get that coveted CDL.
So, how long does it take to get a CDL? Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, securing a CDL can take as little as three weeks or as long as six months. Typically, drivers fall somewhere in the middle, in the range of seven to eight weeks.
Hoping to become a truck driver? Contact BLC Transportation today. We have opportunities for both company drivers and lease-purchase drivers. With our lease-purchase program, you can make 90 percent of the line haul while driving new trucks that provide comfort, fuel efficiency, and reliability. Plus, we offer bonuses and incentives, a health insurance subsidy, a friendly passenger/pet policy, assistance with registering for an LLC, and more. Join our team today!