What you need to know to be a truck driver
To be a truck driver you must have your commercial driver’s license, or your CDL. There are two classifications. Long-haul truckers must have their Class A CDL. Regional and local truck drivers in straight trucks must have their Class B CDL. Class B means that you will be hauling less than 26,000 pounds.
Most truck drivers go for their Class A because the more you haul, the more money you’ll bring in. Class A drivers can haul truckloads across multiple states and can drive trucks with a bend at the axle. The CDL exam is more extensive, requiring you to know how to pull a trailer in a combination vehicle, how to hook up doubles and triples, and how to back up with a trailer attached to your truck.
You are required to pass two CDL tests. One is a written exam and the other is a road skills test. We recommend that you attend a truck driver training program to pick up the advanced skills. You can get your CDL study guide to assist with your studies. We also offer truck driver mentoring for behind-the-wheel training. Don’t forget the Internet is a wealth of videos on how to handle and operate a tractor-trailer. A combination of all these techniques will ensure that you obtain all the necessary skills for truck driver success and safety.
Before you can get your Class A or Class B CDL you will have to obtain the right paperwork. You must have the Department of Transportation physical examination certificate to prove that you are physically sound to operate your truck. You will also need to take and pass a drug test and alcohol screening and provide the results paperwork. See your doctor, nurse practitioner, health department, or certified DOT examiner for this paperwork. Click here to use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website. You will also have to provide proof of residency, your current driver’s license, your social security number or card, and a certified copy of your birth certificate.
Your CDL will typically cost less than $50.
There are certain CDL endorsements that will provide greater opportunities in your career of truck driving. These include your T endorsement, or double and triple trailers endorsement, your H endorsement for hazmat trucking jobs, and your X endorsement for hazmat and tank driving. Each endorsement requires a test and for hazmat you will need to be fingerprinted and pass a standard background screening.
We hope this information helps you on your journey to becoming a successful truck driver. If you have questions about any of this you can reach us at 866-474-7276 or contact us via our website here.