2020 is here, and if you’re ready to start a new career path and earn a nice living, then becoming a truck driver may be a smart choice. The trucking industry is projected to grow 11% in the next decade, providing additional opportunities for new drivers to gain experience and build their careers. In order to hit the open road, a number of tasks need to be completed, including the achievement of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). All drivers are required to get their CDL license before getting to work, and Truck Nation School is here to help you every step of the way!

Our truck driving schools in Modesto and Fresno provide the perfect place for new drivers to benefit from complete instruction and hands-on training. Truck Nation School was founded to provide an affordable way to get started in this dynamic industry. We love to help drivers succeed, and can help you jumpstart your career with the right program.

Keep reading to learn what is needed to get a CDL license, and be sure to book an appointment with our trucking school to get started!

CDL License Requirements

Going into 2020, you can expect a standard process in order to achieve your CDL. Many new drivers are intimidated by the process of going through a government inspection to achieve their license, but it can help to understand that this process is fairly streamlined and not designed to cause stress.

Truck Nation School is proud to be your CDL school in Modesto and Fresno, relying on our vast industry experience and beneficial partnerships to stay on the edge of best practices. Our truck driving will help you and prepare you every step of the way. In order to achieve your CDL license you will need to plan for numerous steps:

  • Proof of age and residency — Interstate CDL truck drivers must be at least 21 years of age. Beyond this, you will need to submit your identification to establish your address and residency status.
  • Applicable fees — Applying for a CDL license is not free. In California, you will be expected to pay $68 at the DMV to apply for your CDL.
  • Medical Examination Report Form and Certificate Form — Our governing body requires all drivers to maintain a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) to prove that drivers are able to safely operate a semi truck.
  • Vision exam — Whether you use corrective lenses or not, a clear field of vision is essential in order to safely operate a commercial vehicle. You must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye per the standard Snellen test.
  • Knowledge exam — A written test is a vital step in establishing your comprehension of applicable laws and safety regulations. 
  • Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) — Upon passing your knowledge exam and vision test, you will be issued a learning permit. Much like your first driver’s license, this permit allows you to drive a vehicle as long as a valid license holder is present. In most cases, this process is covered by our truck driving school.
  • Two weeks of practice — While your CLP is valid for up to 180 days after its issuance, many drivers opt to take the road skills test after two weeks. You must wait 14 days before scheduling your exam.
  • Go through inspections — Before you take your exam, the proctor will perform a pre-trip inspection to ensure that everything is safe and ready for travel on your own vehicle.
  • Take the driving exam — The final step is to score well on your road skills assessment. The California CDL road test evaulates how well drivers do in normal traffic situations.

What CDL Classes Are Available?

Earning your CDL license does not qualify you to operate any commercial vehicle available. Different equipment will require different training, meaning that certain types of vehicles will require additional education and experience to create a safe result.

Based on the size and type of vehicle you plan on driving, you will need to ensure that you are seeking the right license and endorsements. Keep in mind that three CDL classes cover a majority of the equipment used, and the gross vehicle weight will play a large part.

Class A

Most commercial drivers will fall under Class A, which allows the operation of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds, provided that at least 10,000 of those pounds come from a towed vehicle. Provided they have the right endorsements, drivers with a Class A CDL license can operate certain Class B and C vehicles.

You’re likely to see a lot of Class A vehicles on the road, including:

  • Flatbed trucks
  • Tractor-trailers
  • Double and triple trailers
  • Livestock transporters
  • Liquid tank vehicles

Class B

This commercial driver’s license allows for operation of a single vehicle with a weight of more than 26,000 pounds with a tow vehicle not exceeding 10,000 of those pounds. Class B vehicles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and may require certain additional endorsements for operation.

A few of the most popular applications associated with Class B CDLs include:

  • City buses
  • Tour buses
  • School buses
  • Delivery trucks
  • Straight trucks
  • Dump trucks with small trailers

Class C

Vehicles that do not fall into the previous two classes tend to achieve the Class C designation. This category tends to contain specialty vehicles, including passenger vans holding at least 16 occupants, vehicles tasked with carrying hazardous materials, and more.

Upon leaving our trucking school, you will have the choice of seeking out additional endorsements to increase your capabilities and income. Endorsements are special privileges given to trained drivers to carry passengers, hazardous materials, liquid cargo, and more. 

Learn With Our Truck Driving School

Truck Nation School in Fresno and Modesto is here to deliver complete support and comprehension throughout the learning process. We offer commercial driving classes designed to fit your needs and schedule, and our instructors will be happy to help you find the right program. Contact us today to learn more!