Do you have a huge interest in becoming a truck driver? If you do, that’s fantastic! As someone just starting, you won’t always have all the answers and that’s okay.
While you don’t need a post-secondary education to become a truck driver, there are requirements nonetheless. Trucking can be a very challenging job, so you will have to meet several different criteria. To qualify to become a truck driver, you’ll need to be 21 years old, in good shape, and of course, pass CDL training.
I have played ETS2 & ATS for several years. They inspired me to change careers and become a truck driver. My work paid for my CDL training and now I drive truck for them! pic.twitter.com/CO5QFq3QkI— Danielle Royall (@RoyallyDanielle) October 12, 2019
Everything You Need to Know About the CDL
Of all the criteria, the most important qualification to become a truck driver is to pass the CDL exam.
Here are some important things to keep in mind about the CDL:
- There are three main kinds of CDLs. They are called Class A, B, and C. There are some technical specifications behind what makes these classes different. In basic terms, though, Class A is for standard truck drivers. If you’ll be driving livestock carriers or tractor-trailers, this is the one you’ll need. Class B is for heavier vehicles like dump trucks and passenger buses. Class C is for vehicles that transport hazardous materials.
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- Endorsements are sometimes required. These are like sub-certifications depending on the specific vehicle you will be driving. You can think of them as specializations on vehicles that might require special techniques to drive. There are endorsements for school buses, tank vehicles, double trailers, and more.
You can check out getting a hazmat, school bus, or passenger endorsement to your CDL driver's license here.
- You’ll need a CLP, or commercial learner’s permit, before the exam. The CLP is a temporary permit that allows you to practice the skills that you will need as a truck driver. You’ll usually need to have had this permit for at least two weeks before the exam.
- Know the format for the CDL exam. The exam has a theory test and a practical test. The theory test has 50 multiple-choice questions covering the basics. The skills test has three major segments. These all must be passed before the driver can get their CDL. The three segments are: vehicle inspection, which simply makes sure you can determine road-worthiness; The road test, which tests your actual driving skill; and the basic control test which simply tests your backing skill in multiple scenarios. Some other tests can be done depending on the specific vehicle. These include Air Brakes and Combination Vehicles.
While incarcerated, Bryan chose to become a Truck Driver through the Michigan Department of Corrections Vocational Village Program. With help from us, he was able to obtain his CDL, without the financial burden of paying for training. Bryan truly enjoys working for his employer. pic.twitter.com/zEyZN3OMNz— Michigan Works! SE (@MichWorksSE) November 21, 2019
What Are the Qualifications for Becoming a Truck Driver?
Basic qualifications for becoming a truck driver relate to your training, physical fitness, and others. Let’s take a look at the qualifications you’ll need below.
- High School Diploma. This is one of the major things which makes trucking an attractive career. Not everyone has the chance to go to college. Luckily, college is unnecessary in order to become a truck driver!
Even better, a high school diploma isn’t a requirement either. Of course, it is a bonus if you have one, but it isn’t mandatory. This opens up trucking to a lot of people who have not had the opportunities others did.
There are also truck driving schools from where you can get a certificate of completion that can be an advantage on your resume. You want to be as competitive as possible. After all, there will be many other applicants.
- Certification. To drive any heavy vehicle, you’ll need a proper license. To become a truck driver, the required license is the CDL. To get this, you will need to pass the two parts of the exam.
These parts make sure that you have the technique required to operate a commercial-sized truck.
- Age. Not many people know they are ready to jump into trucking the moment they turn 18. For those that are, though, they’ll usually have to wait until they’re at least 21 to become a professional truck driver. However, depending on the state, truck driver eligibility does begin at age 18. However, the major restriction is that these states can only license you within that state. If this applies to you, this means you won’t be able to engage in any cross-country journeys until you are 21. And truth be told, most trucking companies may not hire an 18-year old, even in those states.
- Fitness. This isn’t in reference to how long you can run on a treadmill or how many push-ups you can do. To become a truck driver, you need to be healthy enough to drive a truck for long distances and hours at a time. After all, mishandling a heavy vehicle can cause serious accidents.
Fitness requirements include having a healthy blood pressure, or well-controlled hypertension. If you have diabetes, it should also be under treatment, and preferably by oral medication and not insulin injections. You should not have major cardiac issues. If you have any major visual or hearing impairments, they should be corrected. The use of illegal drugs is absolutely a disqualifying factor.
- Criminal Record. Ideally, you should have no criminal record. While having a criminal record won’t instantly disqualify you from employment, each trucking company will have different guidelines about this. Carefully read the fine print when applying to any company. This way, you’ll know whether you may or may not be disqualified.
If you want to become a truck driver, there are just a few criteria to meet. There’s no maximum age limit and at least a high school diploma will be helpful, though it is not necessary.
The most important qualification is passing the CDL exam. If you study well and get driving experience, you’re on your way to becoming a truck driver. You’ll have a good time working the roads!