Is CDL Class A The Best License For Truck Drivers?
Are you planning to be a truck driver but are still not sure about which CDL class should you get? You are not sure if CDL A, B, or C suits you the most? Don’t worry. In this article, we are going to introduce the most popular CDL class, which can be considered the best CDL class to obtain, the CDL Class A guideline. Moreover, all the information on CDL Class A requirements, steps to achieve as well as career outlook will be contained, let’s roll to the main part!
1. What is CDL class A?
CDL Class A is the most common type of commercial driver’s license. There are 3 types of CDL classes, which are:
- CDL Class A
- CDL Class B
- CDL Class C
When you obtain a CDL Class A license, you are allowed to drive:
- A vehicle that has a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds and towing of over 10,000 pounds
- An 18-wheelers vehicle, flatbeds and livestock carriers, etc
- Most class B and C vehicles (depending on which endorsement requirements)
2. What are CDL class A requirements?
2.1. Age requirements
Similar to other classes of CDL, you are required to:
- Be at least 18 years old to hold a CDL
- Be younger than 21 years old to drive within the state
- Be at least 21 years old to drive beyond the state
However, the new law on CDL drivers’ age limit is debated widely among citizens. There are controversial opinions against the government and the DMV office.
In general, only obtaining a CDL class A is not enough. To advance your career and earn more, most CDL drivers get at least one endorsement. This endorsement allows drivers to operate specific types of trucks, which are:
- H endorsement: Drivers can operate a truck that carries the Hazardous Materials
- N endorsement: Drivers are allowed to operate a tanker vehicle
- P endorsement: Drivers are able to carry a passenger vehicle with more than 16 passengers
- S endorsement: Drivers can operate a school bus
- T endorsement: Drivers are cable of the Doubles and Triples vehicle
- X endorsement: Drivers can drive both Tanker and Hazardous materials
3. How to obtain a CDL Class A?
3.1. Obtain a commercial learner’s permit
The first step in earning a CDL Class A is to apply for and secure a commercial license permit (CLP), which must be obtained at least 14 days before moving on to the next level. Some states require additional time, therefore double-checking before beginning the procedure is advised.
To apply for a CLP, you must first:
- You must be at least 21 years old, or 18 if you just wish to drive within one state.
- Fill out and pay for a business learner’s permit application.
- You must provide verification of your Social Security number, identity, and residence.
You must also take and pass a written exam to demonstrate your knowledge, as well as supply the applicable licensing agency with your driving history for the last ten years to guarantee there have been no severe incidents.
Applicants must also provide a medical history to prove that they are fit and healthy enough to operate large vehicles. A Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card may frequently make the operation go more smoothly.
3.2. Finish the CDL training program
You can participate in a CDL class A training program after getting your CLP. It’s a legal need in some areas to attend a CDL school before getting your license, so start looking early.
CDL training programs are designed to prepare you for your future driving profession by providing you with the opportunity to study for your exam and practice your skills in a safe and controlled environment. CDL Class A training is available through licensed, authorized, or recognized universities, as well as company-sponsored training with specialist trucking businesses.
3.3. Pass the CDL class A exam
Passing the written and driving tests is the next stage in obtaining a CDL class A license. The written test for CDL Class A consists of 50 questions, with at least 40 right answers required to pass. Questions are drawn from the following chapters: Introduction, Driving Safely, Cargo Transporting Safely, Air Brakes (if applicable), Combination Vehicles, Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test, Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test, and On-Road Driving. You may take the CDL Practice Test to help you prepare for the actual test.
On the CDL road test, you must demonstrate your driving ability in front of an examiner. Perform your talent to the best of your ability!
3.4. Obtain your license and endorsements
After completing your CDL course and passing the tests, you will be issued your CDL class A license. Depending on where you live, you may receive it in person on the day you pass your driving test or via mail.
4. Is CDL Class A the best license?
4.1. CDL Class A Job outlook
In general, CDL class A has a wider job outlook than other classes. Obtaining a CDL class A license means that you are capable of driving some of the CDL class B and C vehicles. Thus, our suggestion for you, if you want to be a CDL driver, is to achieve the CDL class A. A comparison between CDL Class A vs Class B might have you determine which one is the best for you.
Besides, we are currently experiencing a severe truck driver shortage. The present driver deficit is estimated to be approximately 50,000, but this figure is predicted to rise to 174,000 by 2026. With the volume of freight handled by trucks, having adequate truck drivers is critical to the economy. Significantly, it takes 3.5 million truck drivers to convey the quantity of freight required to keep the economy moving. Simply, without truck drivers, the country cannot run. If you want to pursue this career, you can be confident that there will be opportunities for you if you are enthusiastic and value your hard effort.
4.2. CDL Class A Salary
CDL Class A drivers in the United States earn an average of $57,901 per year or $27.84 per hour. In addition, CDL class A drivers on the lower end of the spectrum, the poorest 10%, earn around $38,000 per year, while the top 10% earn $86,000. You can read the CDL driver salary to know which types of vehicles bring more benefits.
The location influences how much a CDL class driver may expect to earn. Drivers with a CDL earn the highest in Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.
- North Dakota: $66,459
- Kansas: $65,263
- Wyoming: $66,886
- Oklahoma: $62,001
That’s brief information on CDL Class A, how to obtain one as well as the job outlook and salary. If you are considering obtaining a CDL but still are not confident about your knowledge, you can take some practice in our CDL Practice Test. We assure you that it works with your actual CDL test. Be well-prepared and score high.