12 Most Important Steps In Becoming A Truck Driver
May 1, 2017
If you want to become a truck driver you must do the following 12 steps.
Step 1. Get your commercial drivers license handbook
Your state’s CDL Handbook is the one most correct source of information about getting CDL. You must read the handbook as part of your preparations and planning process. It will show you what level of CDL you need for the jobs that you will be requesting for, and which support you will need.
Step 2. Decide where to go and plan the route
There is more than one way to be a truck driver, and the licensing system indicates different kind of driving jobs which are available. At first you need to look at the types of careers, such as hauling truckloads over the road, regional driving between depots, and many other types.
The CDL classifications of A,B and C show the maximum size and type of vehicle that you will be legally allowed to operate.
- Class A CDL has the least restrictions, it enables you to drive tractor-trailer combinations, vehicles of all sizes and weight over 26.001 pounds
- Class B will allow you to drive single vehicles over 26.001 pounds
- Class C enables you to drive vehicles that do not meet the criteria for Class A or B but either carries unsafe materials or sixteen or more occupants including the driver.
Find out which one you will need and what restrictions will apply.
Then you must find a suitable vehicle to take the driving skills test , that meets your CDL classification requirements.
Step 3. Collect your personal documents
As a proof of identification you will need your state private drivers license and your social security card.
Step 4. Documents held on record
Your state Department of Motor Vehicles will give your ten-year driving history upon request, it’s a copy of your official driving record.
Step 5. DOT medical card
It’s the time to find out if you are suitable enough to become a commercial driver. The certifying doctor may grant your card while you have certain mild conditions, such as hypertension. Ask your physician if you think there might be a condition that will limit your CDL potential. As a trucker you will have to take a physical exam every two years, it is not a complicated process, just the time and effort to find and visit a local health care facility with a medical examiner, certified to sign off on the health records of truck drivers.
Step 6. TSA Background check
If you intend to find a position where you need a CDL support for risky materials the Transportation Security Administration requires a background check before they approve you to do so, for which there is a payment.
Step 7. Prepare for drug testing
Your employer can send you for a drug test when you least expect it, as often as yearly. You will also take a drug test after any accident, no matter it is your fault or not.
Step 8. Learn the Handbook
The written examination will include the general driving test that you took for your private license, the commercial driving written test, the test for the endorsements for which you wish to qualify, and every level or endorsement that you already possess.
Step 9. Take a knowlidge test
In your state’s DMV field office you can apply to take the test the same day or with an appointment. DMW Website provides a set of knowledge test examples on which to practice. When you pass the knowledge tests the DMV will award you a commercial license permit (CLP) to train for the Skills Test under supervision.
Step 10. Apply for a CDL skills test appointment
After you earn your CLP, you can apply to take the driving examination. You can schedule your driving test after a minimum two-week waiting period, but waiting times for appointments in your area may be considerably longer. You may be able to take the knowledge test at your nearest DMV field office, you may find that only a small number of specially designated field offices perform CDL testing.
Step 11. The inspector will conduct the Skills Test in three phases: Vehicle Inspection, Controls Test, and then after you have passed the first two you will head out for a Road Test. See your state CDL Handbook for details.
Step 12. Get your CDL license
If you pass the skills test, you will feel elated as you park the vehicle. Then take your approved documentation to the desk at the field office for final processing. Depending on the department’s workload and your state’s rules, you may get your license on the spot, or they may send it to your home address.
Commercial truck driving can be a rewarding career, especially if you really enjoy driving and don’t mind spending long periods of time away from home. Be safe and follow our suggestions.