To obtain a CDL A license you must have a valid driver’s license, pass a vision test and be over the age of 18 (within-state driving) or 21 (interstate). You must understand how to speak and read English and physically be able to operate a truck weighing 26,001 pounds or more. A number of exams must be completed, as well as a driving skills test. However, once you receive your CDL A license, the job opportunities are many.
Contact a local trade school or college in your area to inquire about their CDL A training courses. In addition, if you are unemployed or underemployed, you can contact your local One Stop Unemployment center to inquire about receiving a WIA grant. The WIA grant will fund your training, at no cost to you, if you qualify.
Study the training material. The material consists of a Rules of the Road training manual, specifically for Class A vehicles. The manual can be obtained at your local Department of Motor Vehicles for free or from your school. To obtain your CDL A permit you must pass the written test, which consists of general knowledge, and specific questions relating to combination vehicles and air brakes. In most states, the applicant must pass the test with 80 percent or better to obtain his permit.
Practice driving a Class A vehicle with your training instructor once you receive your permit. You cannot operate a CDL A vehicle without the presence of someone with a Class A license. The instructor will teach you how to perform a pre-trip inspection, straight-line, angle, and 45-degree reverse parking, alley docking and basic driving skills.
Schedule a road test with your local Department of Motor Vehicles. However, some schools will schedule the test for you when they determine that you are ready. During the test, you will have to perform a pre-trip inspection before you enter the vehicle. If you fail the pre-trip inspection, you will not be allowed to take the driving test. During the driving test, you must pass every obstacle that the instructor asks of you. In most states, you will have to provide your own truck. However, most schools provide the vehicle for their students.
Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain your license after you have successfully passed your road test. The cost of a CDL A License varies by state. However, the average cost is $60. If you did not pass the road test, you can take the test 3 additional times. After 3 tries, a 30-day waiting period is imposed before you can retake the test.