How to Get Your CDL License: What to Know Before Trying
A commercial driver’s license (or CDL) is necessary if you want to start a career in truck driving, but preparing to get a CDL license doesn’t have to take you a long time.Truck driving courses and programs can provide you with the knowledge you need to prepare to obtain your CDL license and launch a career in truck driving. Delta Technical College (Delta Tech) offers a 20-day CDL Training Course that prepares you to get your CDL Class A license.The Delta Tech CDL training course includes 168 hours of training:
- 40 classroom
- 16 range
- 16 over-the-road
- 96 remedial training
Delta Tech also offers a longer and more intensive 20-week Professional Truck Driving Program that includes training on rural highways, interstates and urban areas. This program also prepares students for the CDL Class A license exams.
What is a CDL License?
A commercial driver’s license is also referred to as a CDL or CDL license and is required documentation for people who choose to drive these trucks:
- Heavy trucks: Single frame vehicles with a gross cargo and personal weight of more than 26,000 lbs.
- Tractor-trailers: Vehicles pulling one or more trailers, such as semi-trucks, with a gross weight of more than 26,000 lbs.
- HAZMAT vehicles: Vehicles designed to transport hazardous materials.
- Human transport vehicles, including buses: Vehicles that transport multiple passengers along transportation routes. Operating a school or passenger bus may require additional or special endorsements.
Different CDL licenses allow for the operation of different trucks. Additional endorsements are also required for certain vehicles. Delta Tech offers a 20-day CDL Training Course that can get you prepared to pass your CDL Class A test.
What Are the DMV Requirements to Get Your CDL License?
The requirements to get your CDL license vary from state to state. According to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, a valid Mississippi driver’s license and a valid Mississippi CDL learner’s permit (sometimes called a commercial learner’s permit or CLP) is required to take the CDL road test. The class of CDL learner’s permit must match the class of CDL road test.To get a CLP or CDL, states may also require drivers to:
- Provide supporting identification, including a social security card, Medicare ID care, military ID card or passport
- Submit proof of residency, such as a utility bill or bank statement
- Pass a background check
- Pass a vision test and/or medical exam
Some states mandate a waiting period of up to 14 days between getting a CLP and taking a CDL road skills test. During this time, CDL applicants can complete the following tasks:
- The written test of truck driving safety, skills and regulations
- A pre-trip vehicle inspection
- Submit driving history, including licenses from other jurisdictions
On the day of the road test, it is recommended that you:
- Be on time
- Bring your CLP and CDL application
- Bring a valid medical card
- Drive a vehicle that meets the criteria for the class of the license you’re applying for
- Bring a person with the same class of license (or greater) for which you’re applying
- Bring the fees needed to pay for your CDL after a successful completion of the road test
Ready to start your CDL training? Click one of the links below to learn more about the Delta Tech truck driving education options:
What Impacts Length of Time to Get a CDL License?
A number of factors can impact the length of time it takes to get a CDL license, including:
- Type of license needed: Class A, Class B, and Class C CDL licenses allow drivers to operate different sets of vehicles. The Delta Tech CDL Training Course prepares students to take the test for a CDL Class A license in just 20 days.
- Required driving hours: Some states require behind-the-wheel hours before allowing applicants to complete a CDL license road trip. Requirements vary by state.
- Endorsements: Some special vehicles, like buses and trailers, require endorsements in addition to CDL license. Obtaining endorsements can require additional training and testing. Click here to find out more about applying for a CDL and endorsements in the state of Mississippi.
What Are the Benefits of Getting Your CDL License?
Once you have a CDL license, you’ll be on your way to launching an entry-level career in the transportation industry. Truck driving offers many benefits, especially if you don’t want to be tied to a desk.
- Short training: Compared to many careers, especially those that require four-year degrees, it doesn’t take long to train to be a truck driver. The Delta Tech CDL Training Course, which prepares students to take CDL license exams, is just 20 days long. If you prefer to learn more in-depth transportation industry information, Delta Tech also offers the 20-week Professional Truck Driving Program.
- High demand: Truck drivers help keep the U.S. economy going by delivering commercial goods to purchase locations. In fact, according to the American Trucking Associations CDL drivers move 72.5% of all U.S. freight.
- Competitive pay: The median annual wage for heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers was $47,130 in May 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This was higher than the average across all occupations.
- On the road: Truck drivers have the opportunity to see communities and travel the United States. International routes, into Canada and Mexico, are also an option for some truck drivers.
How Can Delta Technical College Help You Get a CDL License?
Delta Technical College can quickly provide the training you need to pass tests associated with obtaining your CDL license. We offer a 20-day CDL Training Course and a more robust Professional Truck Driving Program. Training for the CDL test is the best first step to launch a career in truck driving. Contact the Delta Technical College Admissions Team to learn more about our truck driver training options.