CDL Class A vs Class B: Which One Is Better for Drivers?
Honestly, it might be useful to understand the differences in training, expertise, and vehicle specifications necessary for each class of CDL before deciding which one to pursue. This frequently begins with determining what type of vehicle you want to drive, which is a crucial decision that may influence the commercial driver’s license (CDL) you want to pursue. People often wonder about CDL class A vs class B: which one is better to obtain. Let’s take a look at our article and decide!
1. What is a CDL Class A?
Overall, CDL class A is the most common type of CDL. In most states, obtaining a CDL Class A allows truck drivers to operate any vehicle with a semi-trailer or trailer with two or more axles. They have the most latitude of any business driver’s license. There are no limitations on the number of vehicles you can tow as long as the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the towing vehicle is at least 10,000 pounds greater than the GCWR of the towed vehicle.
To successfully obtain the class A CDL, you should pass the following tests below:
- General Knowledge Test
- Air Brakes
- Combination Vehicle
- Pre-Trip Inspection
In order to pass those tests, we strongly suggest you take a look at the CDL General Knowledge Test Study Guide, CDL Air Brakes Test Study Guide as well as the Combination Test Study Guide thoroughly to understand the test format and knowledge area you should know.
2. What is a Class B CDL?
A Class B CDL authorizes the operation of a single vehicle with a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds but no more than 10,000 pounds of towing capability. With a Class B license, you can operate buses, trash trucks, delivery trucks, dump trucks, and other vehicles.
For a Class B CDL license, you will have to pass the General Knowledge test, Basic skills test, Air-brakes test, Pre-trip inspection, and any other applicable exams.
Read the CDL Pre-trip Inspection Study Guide to understand and get the instruction in order to score high on the real test.
3. What is the difference between CDL class A vs CDL class B?
3.1. Driver age
In general, you are allowed to obtain a class B license if you are 18 years old. Additionally, a class B holder only can operate the vehicle on the borderline of your state. On the other hand, you must be at least 21 years old to apply for CDL class A. Furthermore, if you have the right endorsements, you are also allowed to operate class B vehicles as well. To compare, a class A CDL is known as the “universal” CDL since it allows you to drive a variety of commercial vehicles and tractor trailers. A class B CDL also enables the operation of other types of vehicles, such as straight trucks and dump trucks, although it is more restricted than a class A CDL.
|CDL Class A||CDL Class B|
|at least 21 years old||at least 18 years old|
3.2. Allowed vehicles
The distinctions between CDL class A vs class B are related to the types of vehicles and their weight, notably the load that the trucks will be hauling.
Obtaining a CDL Class A allows you to operate a combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more. It also allows you to tow a trailer weighing 10,000 pounds or more. Each endorsement can allow you to haul different types of cargo, such as hazardous materials or tankers. Vehicles that may be driven with a Class A include:
- A tractor-trailer often referred to as a semi, big rig, or 18-wheeler
- Trucks and trailers combinations, including double and triple trailers
- Buses on tractor trailers
- Tanker vehicles
- Vehicles with flatbeds
- Depending on endorsement criteria, most Class B and Class C vehicles
A CDL Class B allows you to operate a single vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more without the need of a trailer. It also enables you to pull a trailer weighing less than 10,000 pounds with any vehicle. Vehicles that may be driven with a Class B include:
- Straight trucks
- Large buses, such as city buses, tourist buses, and school buses
- Buses with segments
- Box trucks, including delivery trucks and furniture trucks
- Small trailer dump trucks
- Some Class C vehicles that have the appropriate endorsements
To compare CDL Class A vs class B, you can look at the table we listed below:
|Categories||Class A||Class B|
|Weight of truck||≥ 26,001 pounds||≥ 26,001 pounds|
|Weight of trailer||≥ 10,000 pounds||≤ 10,000 pounds|
3.3. Career options
By the same token, a CDL Class A has several advantages in addition to being necessary for driving a large truck. Typically, there are more positions available that need Class A drivers than Class B.
However, because there are fewer Class B jobs available, the market is extremely competitive. Drivers may choose a CDL Class B in the following situations:
- The driver has a specific job that only requires a Class B vehicle.
- Trucking is viewed as temporary work before transitioning to a more permanent one.
- The driver prefers to work in a relatively confined geographic region, such as a single metro area or state.
4. What are the suggested CDL jobs for both class A and class B?
Surprisingly, you may pursue a variety of occupations with your CDL Class A vs class B. What’s more, holding this license doesn’t limit you to solely driving professions; there are numerous CDL-related career paths you can accomplish without ever driving. What jobs can I get with my Class A or Class B CDL? Let’s find out!
4.1. CDL Commercial Truck Driving Jobs
This is one of the most frequent truck driver jobs available right after you complete your CDL training at a truck driving school. With this license, you may work as a professional truck driver and take a long-distance driving job. For many drivers, driving is more than simply a job, it has become a way of life.
4.2. CDL Bus Driver
This is another typical career that you may obtain with this license. Bus drivers transport passengers and buses to schools, university campuses, city centers, theme parks, and other locations. You may cooperate with travel companies to transport visitors to specific places in the city, or other provinces. In addition, you can engage with charter companies to transport long distances staff and workers.
Aside from truck driving employment, there are numerous career alternatives to explore if you are seeking CDL driver jobs. Dispatchers use radio communication to connect with truck drivers. Most of the time, they transmit crucial trip information to the driver. They are sometimes in charge of overseeing many drivers.
They are also responsible for tracking equipment and vehicles while they are on the road. Dispatchers often serve as liaisons between the carrier and the truck driver. The yearly income for this position is projected to be between $40k and $45k, depending on your degree of expertise and the organization you work for.
Supervisors are required in the transportation sector, just as they are in every other industry. Supervisors are leaders in this profession, and their responsibility is to ensure that the job process or the entire system is functioning well. In this industry, supervisors are also in charge of making plans and managing deliveries and runs.
There are several prospects for truck drivers in the truck driving profession. However, those opportunities are not available to everyone. They are only available to individuals with the necessary training and qualifications. This implies that if you hold a Class A or Class B CDL, you have a wide choice of career opportunities. Thus, you should do the CDL practice test to archive your CDL license. We’ve already provided you with a comparison between CDL class A vs B, we hope that you can choose which one suits you the most.