Do You Need a GED to get Your CDL License?

If you’re looking to get your GED you may be wondering “Do you need a GED to get your CDL License?” Many aspiring truck drivers want to start a new career, but the requirements for getting your CDL are not always clear. One of the primary concerns for future truck drivers is the education requirements. Though a GED is not required to get your CDL license, you may want to consider getting your GED if you do not already have it. Having some kind of high school education has the potential to both boost your salary expectations and allow you to drive for a more desirable position.

CDL Requirements

The requirements for your CDL are fairly basic, but you may want to consider meeting criteria in addition to the requirements to make yourself competitive for more desirable jobs. You may want to pursue further education, additional endorsements, or acquire new applicable skills.

GED/High School Diploma

Do you need a GED to get your CDL license? Not exactly, but it is more complicated than that. You do not need any education requirements to obtain your CDL, but some companies will require you to have a diploma or GED before hiring you.

Considering these jobs might be more desirable, it could be a worthy pursuit to get your GED. Still, you should not let that possibility get in the way of you pursuing your CDL license. Many of these more desirable truck driving jobs will also require years of experience truck driving, so you could get your CDL first, then slowly meet the requirements for your GED while gaining real truck driving experience.

Not only will that be a more efficient use of your time, but it will also allow you to potentially move into other truck driving jobs that require a CDL but are not traditional truck driving. You could be a dispatcher or even teach truck driving to students seeking their CDL license, but having your GED will be very helpful when applying for these kinds of jobs. You could even talk about your journey changing careers, then pursuing more education and skills while on the job gaining real experience.


Endorsements in the truck driving industry are not reviews or accolades, they are authorizations to operate specific types of vehicles. Endorsements can give you access to jobs that you would not normally be able to apply for on experience alone.

The three most lucrative endorsements are Hazardous Materials, Tank vehicles, and combination tank vehicles/hazardous materials. You need a specific endorsement for each of these in order to transport specific materials as a truck driver. These jobs, because of the needed endorsement, usually net a higher salary or better benefits.

Hazardous materials include all materials designated as posing an “unreasonable threat to the public,” such as gases, flammable liquids, explosives, or poisons among other materials. Along with meeting a few other requirements, drivers will have to pass a Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge Test to receive this endorsement.

A tanker endorsement is required to drive trucks designated as tankers. That may include containers larger than 119 gallons, liquids or gasses, or other containers permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle. Tanker endorsements require specific training in areas like weight distribution because of how easy they are to overturn. Tanker drivers need to be more aware of dangerous conditions like speed limits and emergency stops.

A combo endorsement for hazardous materials and tankers is required for exactly what it sounds like. You’ll be transporting hazardous materials in a tank. For drivers transporting materials such as gasoline, a combo endorsement is required.

New Skills

There are a lot of skills that are especially important when it comes to truck driver success. Many of these skills are obvious, but some of them can be intentionally worked on. Demonstrating your desire to learn more truck driving skills is great for moving up in the industry and seeking out many of the more lucrative jobs. Skills like maintenance, organization, or safety are areas that you can intentionally work on in your truck driving career.

Though truck maintenance can be specific, having general maintenance knowledge is crucial in truck driving. You have to be a problem solver and able to perform basic maintenance on your own. Brushing up on your mechanical knowledge is a great way to show your ability and potential as a truck driver. Do you work on your vehicle and have a knack for identifying and fixing problems on your own? Practicing those skills by working on your vehicle, reading manuals, or taking courses can really propel your ability as a truck driver.

Organization is incredibly important for truck drivers, and you can practice habits that will make you more organized. Being able to reference the exact miles you drove on each delivery and having those statistics ready for a resume can demonstrate to future employers your organization skills. Practice keeping track of things and keep a calendar to practice organization.

Safety is crucial in truck driving, and there are many courses you can take to demonstrate your commitment to safety procedures. Even regular defensive driving courses will show your driving ability. A safer truck driver is always a better truck driver.

Get Your CDL with TDI Today

Interested in acquiring your CDL to make your career dreams a reality? You can start your new career with no experience today and pass your CDL exam. In as little as three weeks of training with the Truck Driver Institute, you will be ready to take and pass your CDL exam. You will also be able to take your exam at any of our truck driving schools.

After acquiring your CDL, 70% of our graduates will be immediately placed in a truck driving job. You could be working a new job in less than a month! After starting your new career, you’ll be well on your way to moving up and meeting further requirements necessary to move into more lucrative positions in truck driving. You don’t need a GED to get your CDL license, but truck driving will allow you to pursue your GED while working.

Contact the Truck Driver Institute to start your new career.

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Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!