Trucking is one of the jobs that does not require a bachelor’s degree but still has good pay. Thus, many people consider choosing this career after graduating high school. However, do you know what are the CDL qualifications, how to obtain and how long does it take to get a CDL? If your answer is not yet, this article may help you!


how long does it take to get a cdl
How long does it take to get a CDL?


1. What is a CDL?

In general, CDL is the basic license that all larger commercial vehicle drivers need to hold.

The primary goal of a CDL is to increase highway safety. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 makes this license a federal requirement. Despite the fact that each state has its own CDL program, it must fulfill the minimal federal criteria.


2. How to get a CDL?

To obtain a CDL, you must go through four main steps, which are:


2.1 Complete reading the CDL manual

Your state’s manual is a good resource to know what is your state’s CDL regulations and requirements. Thus, take the advantage of your state’s manual to prepare for your actual test. However, only reading the manual is difficult for you to memorize, we suggest you do some CDL Practice Test, a good method to study with more than 5000 practice questions organized in different topics such as CDL General Knowledge Test, CDL Air Brakes Test, etc.


2.2. Get the Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)

Similar to the regular driver’s license permit, obtaining a CLP allows you to practice a CDL vehicle on road with your instructor. 


2.3.Complete a CDL training program

 It’s a must for you to finish your training program to be officially approved to drive your vehicle.


2.4. Taking the CDL test

In this step, you are required to take one written test and one skill test. Depending on the CDL vehicle you want to operate that your test will be different. However, the passing rate for the written test will be at least 80%. We suggest you read the CDL Study Guide to make sure you understand the test format and how to score high.


3. What are the factors that affect the time to get a CDL?

After completing your CDL test (with a passing score), you must wait to receive your CDL license. Normally, it will take from 3 to 6 weeks, however, the duration will be affected by some factors. We’ve already listed the common possible elements: 


3.1. License type

The CDL License is classified into 3 main types:

  • Class A: authorizes you to operate any vehicle combination with a gross combined weight of at least 26,001 pounds.
  • Class B: allows you to operate any vehicle GVWR of 26,001 lbs or higher
  • Class C: lets you drive any single vehicle or combination vehicle that can carry more than 16 passengers and can carriage hazardous materials. 

In general, the Class A license necessitates maximum training time. Some Class A training programs, for example, may contain 160 teaching hours as opposed to only 120 hours for Class B. Thus, a class B driver can get his CDL earlier than someone in class A.


how long to get a cdl
Different types of CDL Endorsement


3.2. Endorsement

You may want to add one more endorsement to your license to increase your job outlook opportunity. These endorsements include:

  • T: Double/Triple Trailers
  • P: Passenger
  • N: Tank vehicle
  • H: Hazardous materials
  • X: Tank and hazmat combination
  • S: School Bus

In addition, endorsements have their own separate testing requirements. To achieve one, you must take one more skill test and a knowledge test. Hence, an endorsement is a factor that can make your time to get a CDL longer. 


3.3. Training program

Generally, most of the trucking schools are full-time open. If you are capable of taking classes 8 hours a day, you will complete your training faster than those who only can take the class at night or on weekends. 

In addition, some colleges provide instruction but not testing. Because you must test someplace else after finishing the program, these institutions might add time.


3.4. Learners’ ability

Your performance and aptitude might also have an impact on the length of your CDL training. However, most institutions recognize that not everyone is accustomed to operating heavy trucks. If you’re not sure how well you’ll perform, search for a program that allows for variable pace and extra practice time. Thus, be focused on your tasks to obtain your CDL earlier. 


3.5. Testing time

How long does it take to get a CDL is also can be impacted by your testing schedule. Some schools provide third-party testing on-site. Others force pupils to take tests at state government facilities. This timing can be determined by the type of testing and availability. DRC’s purpose is to schedule pupils for CDL tests as soon as they are ready.


4. Can you get your CDL more quickly than normal?

Overall, Yes. If you really must wait several weeks or even months to receive your license, there may be a way to speed the process without completing additional truck driving classes. This is known as endorsement training, and it allows you to practice driving abilities unique to your profession. If you wish to be a truck driver, for example, you may finish endorsement training and obtain your CDL more rapidly. This is because it will speed up the process of obtaining your license by allowing you to gain hands-on experience with specific types of cars or trailers.


time to get a cdl
Endorsement training is the fastest way to get a CDL


5. What are the FAQs for the duration of getting a CDL? 


5.1. Can I get a CDL without going to school?

The brief answer is yes, you can. However, it is not easy to practice a commercial vehicle without any guidelines and help from a licensed instructor.


5.2. How long is CDL school in Ohio?

Driver safety is taught through 120 hours of classroom and hands-on training and assessment. Pre-trip vehicle inspection, vehicle control, and on-road driving are all part of the training (required for skills testing). The Ohio Department of Public Safety has approved this program as a CDL Driver Training School.


5.3. How long does it take to get a CDL in New York?

The local DMV office will issue a temporary CDL that is valid for 60 days. Your photo CDL will arrive by mail in 3 to 4 weeks.


5.4. How much is a CDL license?

Tuition for a CDL can range from $1,500 to $8,000. Obtaining your CDL might cost up to $9,000 when combined with the additional fees. 


>> Read more: CDL License Cost: How Much to Obtain A CDL


5.5. How long is CDL training in Maryland?

The CDL Class A training is 10 to 15 weeks.


In conclusion, taking a CDL requires you to get through several steps and there will be factors that can affect the duration to obtain it. We hope that the information in our article How Long Does It Take To Get a CDL? can give you a clear mind and be well-prepared for the upcoming CDL test.