It’s that time in your life where you want to explore changing careers, and the siren call of the road has become hard to resist. It could be you simply find the idea of life on the road appealing, or that you want a good-paying career without spending years in college. For whatever reason you wish to become a trucker, it’s an extraordinary calling. Before you start switching gears and hitting the road, you’ll need to get your CDL license first. You’ll also need a paid training program to get your new license.
What is Essential to Getting My CDL License:
Hauling a 75 ft long and 80,000 pounds rig takes a lot of responsibility. That’s why having a clean driving record is crucial to the industry and everyone’s safety on the road, including yours. These are the essential minimums needed before you can get into a paid CDL training program:
- Your driving record should be relatively clean. A parking ticket from five years ago probably won’t disqualify you (it may), but a DUI will.
- How good is your criminal record? This has got to be reasonably clean as well.
- Clean history from drugs and alcohol.
- Are you in good health? You’ll need a healthy medical record.
- Your work history must be verified and recent.
It’s vital you answer honestly on your application as these will be checked. Some training companies are more lenient than others.
What Should I Expect and Consider?
There are different types of training, so it best to pick which school will work best for you and your objectives. Consider the following when looking into getting your CDL:
- The school should be accredited and has the Department of Education’s approval stamp on the program.
- Please make sure the school is certified, and the Department of Transportation has approved it.
- Look for the school’s licensing. This means it fits the minimum requirements for instructors, facilities, and curriculum in its state. Make sure the instructors are licensed, as well and professionals in the industry.
- Check the Better Business Bureau for ratings. Are there any complaints or other issues you need to be aware of?
- Are there any guarantees offered by the school? Consider job-placement. Will you be given the right amount of training to pass the CDL exam? Will you get additional training if needed? Some schools offer many of these which can help launch your career faster and with less stress.
- How much will the CDL training cost you? This training won’t be cheap, but it won’t cost as much as a college degree. Most programs will provide supplies, classroom instruction, and on-the-road training.
- “Free” training is too good to be true—you get what you pay for.
- You’ll be going over the following: road signs, rules and regulations, operating and maneuvering trucks, how to read a map and planning out your travel, electronic logs, inspection pre- and post-trip, safety, coupling and uncoupling, and often even some computer training.
While there may be a lot to go through in this exciting career, it will also prepare you for what could happen out on the open road. Like any career, there is training and some hoops to go through. Now you know what to expect and look out for, you are on your way to having a successful and rewarding career in the trucking industry.