So you want to become a truck driver? Great choice! In this career, you get the chance to drive on the open roads, see 48 out of the 50 states, maybe even go into Canada or Mexico. The possibilities are endless! The only concerns you have are getting your load to its destination and what playlist you want to have on the way there.
But wait! There are a few things you have to get done before you climb into that diesel-powered steed.
In this post, we are going to walk you through all the necessary steps for getting your California Class A License.
- Decide What to Drive– With the Class A CDL(commercial driver’s license), there is an opportunity for any number of commercial vehicles. The Class A covers, “any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.”(DMV) Which also includes anything under both Class B and Class C licenses. In other words, you can drive anything from a bus to a refrigerated load.
- Age– The age limit for a CLass A is 18 years old, but the license is limited to the only drive in the state it was received. Once 21, you are free to go out of your state and drive cross country. Although, most company’s insurance won’t accept anyone under 23 years old.
- Driver’s School– This step is optional. First, attend driver’s to prepare for the written test to receive a permit. After that, return to the school to practice driving for the “behind the wheel” test. This step is mainly for those who don’t have a truck to practice with and need a better understanding of the rules of the road.
- Written Test– Everyone is required to take a written test to prove they know the rules of the road at the DMV. Make sure to bring:
- application fee, $45
- Other additional paperwork may be necessary depending on what state you receive your license from
- Behind the Wheel Test– After completing the written test, there is a 14-day waiting Some people need a few weeks and others a few days. It all depends on how prepared you feel and how busy the DMV is. Either use your truck for the test, or your driving school will allow you to use one of their trucks for the test.
- Be Free– Go out and find the perfect job for yourself, wind the cool breeze in your new office on wheels!
Now that we have all the necessary steps laid out let us talk specifics and different options you have for your journey to a Class A.
Where to go
- Your local DMV, for both the written and behind the wheel test. Be sure to make an appointment for both as soon as possible because they fill up fast.
How long it takes
- From start to finish it can take anywhere between two weeks to two months. It all depends on how you want to handle things and how ready you feel. If you have been around 18-wheelers your whole life and know all the ins and outs. Then maybe school isn’t necessary for you, which saves time and money.
- On the other hand, if you are taking a complete career change and have no idea how even to start a truck, it could require more time to be comfortable.
- Again, this more depends on you. If you feel comfortable going through the test without schooling and have your truck, the only thing to pay for is the application fee, $45, at the DMV.
- If you would prefer to go to school most cost anywhere between $3,000 to $7,000 for the entire course.
Now get out there and start your new career!