Trucks are responsible for transporting most freight in the US, and it isn’t slowing down. In fact, the job outlook for heavy truck drivers is expected to grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the trucking industry, you’ll have plenty of jobs to choose from. Although starting a new career can feel overwhelming, you just need to take the first step. Learning more about CDL A driving jobs and getting a Class A CDL will move you in the right direction.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Class A CDLs, including benefits, requirements, and career outlook.
What Is a Class A CDL?
A commercial driver’s license is a requirement for people who want to drive commercial trucks like semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, or passenger buses.
You’ll need a CDL license if you want a career on the road. There are three classes of CDL licenses you can get depending on the type of vehicle you’ll be driving. These are:
- Class A CDL
- Class B CDL
- Class C CDL
The gross weight rating of your vehicle determines CDL classifications.
You’ll need a Class A CDL if you drive any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) over 26,001 pounds. This includes a towed trailer or vehicle weighing over 10,000 lbs.
Class A drivers are also allowed to operate Class B vehicles. For Class B, the GVWR is over 26,001 lbs, but the vehicle (trailer) it tows cannot exceed 10,000 lbs.
How Do You Get a Class A CDL?
There are different steps you need to take to complete your CDL training. You’ll first need to complete an entry-level course.
Complete Entry-Level Driver Training
Anybody applying for a Class A or B CDL after February 7th, 2022, must complete Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). It’s also required to update an existing CDL, such as a Class B to a Class A CDL.
You need to complete this training with a registered training provider. The program consists of theory and behind-the-wheel (BTW) training, both of which must be completed before you take the CDL skills test.
Theory classes involve learning basic operations like orientation and basic control of the truck. Other topics include:
- Backing and docking
- Dashboard and control systems
- Pre-and post-trip inspections
- Distracted driving
- Speed management
- Night driving
Finding a reputable school that offers a Class A CDL ELDT course is essential.
Various schools offer Class A ELDT theory courses in a classroom setting, but an online course will allow you to go at your own pace and work at it when you have time. This is especially helpful if you work another job and have family obligations.
The Class A CDL training at OnlineCDLCourse.com is mobile-friendly and approved in all 50 states. It will also prepare you for behind-the-wheel training and passing your CDL exam.
When you take a Class A CDL course, you can also take different endorsement classes, depending on your career goals.
A school bus endorsement covers the requirements for you to drive a school bus safely. The course covers all school bus operations and loading and unloading passengers.
You can also get a passenger endorsement that meets the requirements to transport people on a passenger bus.
Finally, a Hazmat endorsement trains you to transport hazardous materials safely.
You can take your Class A CDL course and an endorsement class at the same time. For this reason, you should consider your job options and decide if you want to take an extra endorsement course before signing up.
Overview of CDL A Jobs
The best part of getting a CDL is that it allows you to qualify for a variety of trucking jobs. Remember, Class A CDL drivers can also legally operate Class B vehicles.
Ultimately, having a Class A CDL allows you to drive more vehicles and get more experience.
Many courses also help you with job placement, so you’ll usually have options right out of school.
It’s essential to remember that many factors determine the amount of pay you can expect to earn. Long-haul driving jobs often pay more since you’ll be driving more miles.
Other factors typically depend on the experience you have overall. Some Class A CDL jobs pay base pay to experienced drivers, which is the bulk of a driver’s paycheck.
You can also get accessorial pay for hands-on work like unloading or loading freight.
Some companies pay performance pay. This pay varies for each company but is usually based on the driver’s performance and safety records. You may also get sign-on bonuses to start with a new company. These bonuses often depend on how long you sign on for and what your job will be.
Long-Haul Cargo Truck Driver
You’ll find there is a constant demand for long-haul truck drivers. Many new drivers start with this type of job. Long-haul trucking jobs allow you to drive cargo across the country and get a job anywhere.
Having your Class A CDL easily gets you in the door for long-haul truck driving jobs.
Local Truck Driver
You can look at local trucking jobs if you’re not interested in long-haul trucking.
These jobs are usually with local companies that provide goods for grocery store chains or another type of transportation service.
Heavy Equipment Hauling
Not everyone with a CDL has to haul retail cargo. You’ll also find options for heavy equipment and large-load hauling using trailers or flatbed trucks.
It’s a specialized field, but with enough experience, you can usually get in the door. It’s not an easy job, but it can be lucrative.
You can make professional bus driving your career with your CDL and bus endorsement.
You can find jobs driving local school buses, city transit buses, or buses with long-distance routes.
Believe it or not, some people get their CDL to work in non-trucking jobs. Many people find dispatching an excellent career choice.
You’ll use your knowledge to communicate with drivers to ensure deliveries make it on time.
Truck Driving School Instructors
Finally, once you get enough experience, you can pursue a truck driving school instructor career.
You can use your experience and CDL knowledge to help other people pass their CDL courses and get a commercial license. You can provide theory instruction and BTW training.
Get Access to CDL A Driving Jobs Today
Now that you know more about CDLs and CDL A driving jobs, you can start planning your next steps.
For quality online CDL courses that meet your educational and scheduling needs, turn to OnlineCDLCourse.com to start training. We provide Class A CDL courses with ELDT.
You can also turn to us for Class B CDL training and Hazmat, passenger, and school bus endorsements. Our online courses give you the flexibility you need, and we’ll be there with you every step of the way.
Make sure to contact us today for more information about course enrollment!