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What Is A CDL And How Do You Obtain One

A CDL is simply an acronym for a commercial drivers license yet we come across many job advertisements for heavy equipment operators that use terms like “possessing a CDL would be beneficial”. What the employer is looking for is a heavy equipment operator who has commercial drivers license so they can transport the equipment to the job. It’s a pity sometime that they didn’t just ask for a truck drivers license since the term CDL can be confusing.

Your commercial drivers license may well be labeled as a Class A CDL, or Class A commercial drivers license. They mean the same thing. State transport departments issue truck driving licenses so you will need to check on requirements in your state. Generally speaking, a Class A CDL entitles you to drive any vehicle apart from those that require special endorsements. Dangerous goods is one example of special endorsement. To gain a CDL, most states require the following:

  • Possess or qualify for a non-commercial Class C driver license;
  • Complete a Commercial Driver License Application;
  • Provide proof of your full legal name, each time you apply;
  • Provide proof of your legal presence in the U.S., identity and date of birth, each time you apply;
  • Provide proof of your Social Security Number, each time you apply;
  • Provide proof of your residence address in that state, each time you apply;
  • Pass a CDL General Knowledge Test;
  • Pass a CDL Combination Knowledge Test;
  • Pass a behind-the-wheel Drive Test in a Class A commercial vehicle;
  • Pass a Pre-Trip Inspection Test
  • Present a valid DOT Medical Certificate with waivers or exemptions as required; and
  • Pay the appropriate fees

Some states will differ slightly from this list so, again, check with the requirements in your state. How do you put yourself in a position to be able to successfully complete that list? Easy. Call us at ATS Truck Driving Schools. We are the leader in the nation in truck driver training, with 40 years experience in the business. We prepare you well for your tests with a thorough behind-the-wheel training schedule that includes tricky components like reversing maneuvers and negotiating highway traffic. You can complete the training and obtain your commercial drivers license (Class A CDL) in as little as three weeks.

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