It’s astounding to learn that the average student takes six years to earn a four-year degree. Life is too short to spend that much time getting one piece of paper.
It’s much faster to become a commercial truck driver. Getting a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is a significant step toward this rewarding career. The process involves specific training, testing, and licensing requirements.
Are you wondering, “How long does it take to get a CDL license?” Keep reading to learn about the time it typically takes and more.
Familiarizing Yourself With the Basics of a CDL License
It’s crucial to clarify what a CDL license is and why it is essential for those looking to become professional drivers. A Commercial Driver’s License is a necessity for anyone looking to get behind the wheel of large vehicles for commercial purposes.
These vehicles can include tractor-trailers, buses, delivery trucks, and more. CDL licenses are classified into different categories based on the type of vehicle and cargo you plan to transport.
The primary CDL license classifications are Class A, B, and C. Class A is the most comprehensive.
Types of CDL Licenses and Their Requirements
The time it takes to get a CDL license can vary significantly based on the type of CDL license you’re pursuing.
Do you want an overview of the different CDL license classes and their requirements?
Class A CDL
This license allows you to operate combination vehicles, typically including a trailer.
You’ll need to successfully complete a written knowledge test and a skills test. These include a pre-trip inspection, a basic control skills test, and more.
The duration of training for a Class A CDL can vary but often takes around one to eight weeks.
Class B CDL
A Class B CDL is required for operating single vehicles that have a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more.
The training and testing for a Class B CDL are generally shorter. It’s possible to complete it in one to four weeks. It’ll depend on your past experience and the specific CDL course you choose.
Class C CDL
This class is for vehicles that can transport 16 or more people. It also includes vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.
The time required to get a Class C CDL may range from one to four weeks.
The duration of CDL training can also be influenced by whether you go for a full-time or part-time course.
Many training programs are structured to accommodate people with different levels of experience. The time spent in training can be tailored to your needs.
CDL Training Programs
The key to obtaining a CDL license is enrolling in a trustworthy CDL training program.
CDL training programs cover a wide range of topics, including:
- CDL regulations.
- Vehicle operation.
- Cargo handling.
- Safety procedures.
- Hours of service.
This may sound like a lot, but it’s not as overwhelming as it seems.
Per federal regualations which went into effect in 2022, all drivers must complete Entry Level Driver’s Training (ELDT) in order to obtain a CDL. ELDT is comprised of two parts: theory training and behind-the-wheel training. ELDT theory training can be completed online. Behind-the-wheel training takes place at an approved training provider’s location.
How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL License?
The duration of these training programs can vary from as little as a one week to a few months. Keep in mind that shorter programs may be more intensive, requiring full-time commitment.
Longer programs might allow for part-time study, allowing you to maintain other responsibilities as you train for your CDL.
Once you’ve completed the necessary training, the next step is to pass the CDL exams.
These exams consist of two main parts.
Written Knowledge Test
This test evaluates your understanding of CDL regulations, vehicle operation, and safety procedures.
CDL training programs often include classroom instruction, practice exams, and study materials.
The skills test assesses your ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely. It includes a pre-trip inspection, a basic control skills test, and an on-road driving test. This phase can take a few hours to complete.
The time it takes to pass these tests can vary depending on your preparation. Most applicants aim to complete this phase within a few days to a week. Once you successfully pass both the written and skills tests, you’ll be on your way to receiving your CDL license.
Reliable Tips for Studying
Setting clear study goals is essential to maintain focus during your study sessions. Create a regular study schedule that fits your productivity peaks and stick to it. Ensure your study environment is clean, well-lit, and relaxing.
Always engage with the material by summarizing, questioning, and discussing it. Use multiple resources like textbooks, online materials, and videos for a better understanding.
Take short, regular breaks to maintain concentration, and consider techniques like the Pomodoro Technique.
Use memory-enhancing techniques such as flashcards. Don’t be shy to get help when needed. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance when coming up against challenging concepts.
Regularly review previously learned material and maintain a positive attitude with a growth mindset. Practice self-testing to pinpoint areas that may need more detailed study.
Be sure to stay hydrated to avoid fatigue. Before starting your test, minimize distractions by turning off your phone.
Becoming a Professional Driver
After obtaining your CDL license, you have officially crossed the threshold into the world of professional driving. However, it’s important to note that learning doesn’t stop with the acquisition of your license. As a professional driver, you’ll continually refine your skills, stay up-to-date with changing regulations, and focus on safety throughout your career.
Plus, your specific job and employer may require extra training and certifications. For example, if you plan to drive something labeled Hazmat, you’ll need to get a Hazardous Materials Endorsement.
You Can Start Your Professional Driving Career Soon
How long does it take to get a CDL license? Now you know.
By taking the right tests, you’ll get a CDL license and set yourself apart. Before you know it, you’ll be driving commercial vehicles and getting a reliable salary.
OnlineCDLCourse.com can offer you trusty courses from the convenience of your home. We’re proud to serve individual students, schools, trucking companies, and others. Our comprehensive course is approved nationwide.
Do you have questions about the test? Don’t hesitate to reach out to OnlineCDLCourse.com and ask about enrollment.