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Do you remember when you got your very first license?

You were probably about 16 years old and super nervous. You studied the book; you may have even taken a driver’s education class with behind-the-wheel training. But what did that matter once you got in the car with the tester? It was their choice whether you were driving to the high school dance later that week… or if your parents were taking you!

As much as we’d like to think those days are behind us, for aspiring commercial truck drivers, they are not. They need to attend CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) classes in order to get their CDL license. While it’s a little different than getting your beginning’s license, the stakes are way higher. After all, this is your livelihood we’re talking about!

So, what do you need to know to be prepared for CDL classes? What do you need to take with you? And what can you expect after you’re finished?

What Are The Different Types Of CDLs Available?

There are three types of CDL available:

CDL Class A

This type of license, with the proper endorsements, allows you to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross weight rating of 26,001 lbs or more with a towing weight of 10,000 lbs or more. This includes tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, tanks, livestock carriers, and flatbed trucks.

If you are interested in the CDL A jobs we have, click here: CDL A jobs

CDL Class B

This type of license, with the proper endorsements, allows you to drive single vehicles with a weight rating of 26,001 lbs or more, with a towing weight of less than 10,000 lbs. This can include buses, tow trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, and delivery trucks.

If you are interested in the CDL B jobs we have, click here: CDL B jobs

CDL Class C

This type of license, with the proper endorsements, allows you to drive a vehicle containing up to 16 passengers, including yourself, or hazardous materials, so long as it has a weight rating of less than 16,001 lbs. This includes passenger vans, HazMat vehicles, and combination vehicles not included CDL classes A & B.

If you are interested in the CDL C jobs we have, click here: CDL C jobs

Do I Need To Take A Course?

In order to drive certain kinds of large-scale vehicles, you need to have your CDL license. And to get one, you need to attend a CDL training course. Depending on the state where you live, it will take 160 hours or more of combined classroom and road training to learn how to drive a large truck.

CDL training courses are designed to teach you the skills and knowledge you need to be a professional truck driver. Without a CDL license, you are not legally allowed to drive a commercial vehicle.

How Do I Pick The Right Kind Of Training Program?

The quality of training you receive from your CDL classes will determine just how prepared you are to take the CDL exams, as well as impact your career as a professional truck driver.

When selecting a training program, you need to make sure that it is licensed or certified by the Department of Transportation, at a minimum. There is no use in taking a course if you aren’t going to be learning everything that you need from it. Make sure that the teachers and instructors there are also fully licensed.

You may also want to check to see if the CDL school is listed with the Better Business Bureau and if they offer any guarantees. What price is it? Generally, it’s best to avoid any free training, as that often comes at the expense of quality training and usually has a lot of strings attached.

What Can I Expect From Training?

If you expect to hit the road immediately, well, you’re going to be disappointed.

The majority of the first 40 hours of so of CDL training are usually held in the classroom. There is a lot you need to learn before you get behind the wheel. Thankfully, once you start to drive, you will find yourself on the road much more often.

Our advice would be to treat your CDL training much like you would school in a post-secondary institution. Be sure to take a notebook or digital tablet to take notes. If you take a tablet, make sure you are praticed at taking notes on it and check with the training program to be sure you’re allowed to use it (sometimes there are rules that stop devices used for recording classes). Take a water bottle and a snack (like a protein bar) with you to class, just in case you need a boost midway through. The last thing you want is your attention to lapse because your blood sugar is running a bit low that day.

Of course, taking a CDL training course is only one part of getting your CDL license. From beginning to end, it can take a few weeks to make sure you’re prepared to take the exams. Once you do, you will be fully licensed and ready to work professionally as a truck driver. And if you’re looking for the inside track to find jobs, we can help you here at Spectra360. We help some of the biggest logistics and transportation companies in America find the talent they seek. Whether it be temp-to-hire, contract, or direct hire, we can help you find a position where you will be able to use your newly-minted CDL license! If you would like more information about Spectra360, we invite you to contact us today to discover exactly what we can do!