How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL?

If you’re thinking about starting a career in truck driving, getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is the first step. But how long does it actually take to get a CDL? The answer depends on several factors, including the type of CDL you’re pursuing and the training program you choose. Let’s break down the process to give you a clear idea of what to expect.

Steps to Getting a CDL

1. Meet the Basic Requirements

Before you can start training for a CDL, you need to meet certain basic requirements:

– Age: You must be at least 18 years old to drive within your state and 21 years old to drive interstate or transport hazardous materials.

– Driving Record: A clean driving record is essential. Most schools and employers will check your driving history.

– Medical Exam: You must pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam to ensure you’re fit to operate a commercial vehicle.

2. Choose the Right CDL Class

There are two main classes of CDLs:

Class A CDL: This allows you to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more, including tractor-trailers.

Class B CDL: This allows you to operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, or tow a vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds. This is typically for drivers of buses, dump trucks, and delivery trucks.

More Details: What’s the Difference Between a Class A CDL and a Class B CDL?

3. Get a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)

Before you can start driving a commercial vehicle, you need a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). To get a CLP, you must pass a written knowledge test that covers topics like road safety, vehicle operation, and state-specific regulations. Most states, like Georgia, require you to hold the CLP for at least 14 days before taking the skills test for your CDL.

Tattooed female big truck driver standing beside cabin

4. Enroll in a CDL Training Program

These programs include both classroom instruction and hands-on driving practice. During training, you’ll learn:

– Basic Vehicle Control: Maneuvering the truck in different scenarios.

– Road Skills: Operating the truck safely on public roads.

– Pre-Trip Inspections: Checking the vehicle to ensure it’s safe to drive.

5. Pass the CDL Skills Test

After completing your training, you’ll need to pass a skills test. This test typically has three parts:

– Pre-Trip Inspection: Demonstrating that you can check the vehicle and ensure it’s safe.

– Basic Controls Test: Showing that you can control the vehicle in various situations.

– Road Test: Proving your ability to drive the truck safely on public roads.

How Long Does It Really Take?

The time it takes to get your CDL can vary:

– Training Programs: Most programs last between 3-7 weeks. However, part-time programs or community college courses might take longer, up to a few months.

– Scheduling Tests: Depending on your state’s scheduling availability, there might be a waiting period before you can take your skills test after completing training.

– Preparation Time: Some students might need extra time to study for the written tests or gain additional practice driving.

Fast-Tracking Your CDL

If you’re eager to start your truck driving career quickly, we offer accelerated programs.

Daly’s Class A CDL – 3 Weeks
Daly’s Class B CDL – 8 Days

These intensive courses will have you ready for your CDL in as little as three weeks. Keep in mind, these fast-track programs are rigorous and require a significant time commitment.

Getting a CDL is a process that requires commitment and effort. On average, you can expect to spend about one to two months from start to finish, including meeting the prerequisites, obtaining your CLP, completing training, and passing the skills test. With the demand for truck drivers growing, investing this time into earning your CDL can lead to a rewarding and well-paying career.

For more information on CDL training programs and how to start your journey, contact us.

Why Wait?
Start A New Career Today!
Daly’s Truck Driving School currently offers a 15-Day course for Georgia Class A Commercial Driver’s License and a 6-day course for a Georgia Class B CDL.
Full and Part-time classes are available

* Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $48,710. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $69,480 per year according to the 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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