What are the Requirements for CDL School?

Requirements for CDL school are relatively easy to obtain, making earning your CDL license more possible than ever before. The last few years have been rough all over, and many people are yearning for a change. Many people all over the world have used the COVID-19 Pandemic as an opportunity to change careers, and the United States is no exception. As supply chain issues situate themselves, there will be a boom in demand for drivers with CDL licenses, which could lead to lucrative careers for those who get the training now. Read on to learn more about the requirements for CDL school. 

Requirements for CDL school 

1. Be 21 or Over

Technically, anyone over the age of 18 is allowed to test for the CDL, but drivers must be 21 or over to cross state lines, which accounts for most of the well-paid shipping jobs. This rule makes sense when you consider how experienced a driver must be to handle the dangers of driving a rig responsibly. A few more years on the road can mean a big difference. 

2. Have a Valid US Driver’s License

To drive a truck, you must know how to drive a car. You must already have a valid license for regular non-commercial vehicles to prove your baseline knowledge of the rules of the road.  

3. No DUIs in Past 5 Years

To get your CDL, you must prove you are a responsible driver. While felonies do not automatically disqualify you, you must not have been convicted of a DUI in the past 5 years to operate these large vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA), sets regulations for disqualifications for all CDL holders. It should be noted that if your past criminal history includes a crime involving a motor vehicle, you may be unable to obtain a CDL.

4. Pass the DOT Drug Screen and DOT Physical

Drivers must be in relatively good mental and physical health, so drivers must pass medical screens conducted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and obtain a medical card before CDL eligibility. The two tests all drivers need to pass are the DOT Physical and the DOT Drug Screen.

DOT Physical Exams test the following:

  • Vision- Must meet 20/40 requirement on the Snellen eye test in both eyes with or without corrective lenses.
  • Color distinction– Must identify hues of red, green, and yellow for road safety reasons.
  • Blood pressure- Must be less than 140/90 to qualify. 
  • Hearing- Must hear a forced whisper from five feet away. Hearing aids are allowed.
  • Cardiovascular health- Must have permission from doctor or cardiologist if you’ve had any cardiovascular health issues in the past
  • Urinalysis- Comply with a urine test to test dehydration, proteins, glucose levels, and the presence of drugs 
  • Physical endurance- Must be able to sit for long periods, climb in and out of a cab, lift heavy objects. 
  • Medical history- mention past surgeries list all medications or any other factors that could make driving unsafe.

To prepare for this exam, medical professionals recommend focusing on healthy eating and cutting down on sugar, caffeine, and salt in the weeks leading up to your test. Take all prescription medications regularly to operate as your best self. Get an eye exam to ensure your vision is working as best as it can, and if you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure your prescriptions are in date. Make sure to bring a record of your complete medical history to give the examiner as much information about your health as possible. You can check the FMCSA registry to find a certified examiner in your area. 

DOT Drug Screens search for five classes of drugs: Marijuana, Cocaine, Opiates (mainly opium and codeine derivatives), amphetamines, methamphetamines, and PCP. Any failure of this test will have the driver disqualified from CDL classes. 

Potential students should also know many CDL drivers are also randomly tested throughout the year, and carriers will test any driver who appears under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

5. Present Proof of Citizenship and Pass a Background Check

Potential students will need to prove citizenship or lawful permanent residency through a social security card, birth certificate, green card, or other documents. The list of documents accepted as proof of your identity varies even more by state so it’s best to consult your state CDL manual or DMV website for the latest information on valid documents. Other commonly accepted documents include A valid US passport, USCIS American Indian Card, valid military ID card, and Temporary Resident ID Card. 

Proof of residency requirements will vary by state as well. Some states require drivers to provide a copy of a single utility bill while others require two or three different documents. Either way, the address on the documents must match the address on the CDL application.

Some CDL endorsements may require additional state and background checks. For example, the Hazmat endorsement must conduct background checks to ensure drivers can be trusted to transport hazardous material across state lines. School bus drivers may also require background checks to ensure students’ safety. 

6. Have a Clean Driving Record

Ensuring a clean driving record is crucial for CDL school applicants. This requirement underscores the importance of responsibility and safety on the road, as past driving behaviors are considered predictors of future driving performance. As stated above, you can’t have repeated DUIs. However, it’s also important to ensure the rest of your driving record is clear. A history free from serious traffic violations or accidents demonstrates to CDL training schools as well as potential employers that you have a solid foundation of driving practices and can be trusted to keep yourself and others safe while on the road.

7. Demonstrating the Ability to Operate a Commercial Vehicle Safely

Before fully embarking on the journey to obtain a CDL, applicants may be assessed for their potential to safely operate commercial vehicles. This could involve preliminary training sessions or assessments highlighting the critical importance of safety in commercial driving. It ensures that candidates are ready to learn and apply the complex skills needed for this demanding profession.

The Benefits of Enrolling in CDL School

Now that we’ve answered the question, ‘What are the requirements for CDL school,” we can discuss why meeting them and attending a CDL program like the one at TDI is beneficial. CDL school is, first and foremost, a pivotal step for those looking to begin a successful career in the fast-paced, recession-proof trucking industry. CDL schools, however, don’t just teach how to operate large vehicles but provide a structured curriculum that also covers the theoretical knowledge truckers need, including traffic laws, safety regulations, and vehicle maintenance. Understanding these concepts will ensure students can confidently take their CDL exam, pass, and get behind the wheel as the industry’s newest driver! 

The practical training at CDL schools is invaluable, offering hands-on experience under instructors. At TDI, our instructors are all former truck drivers, so they are available to answer any questions students have and pair their answers with real world experience. The practical training helps drivers become more comfortable with driving a commercial vehicle and more confident in their abilities to manage the unexpected while on the road. 

Furthermore, CDL programs often offer job assistance programs to help students secure a position upon graduation. At TDI, our students begin working with our team during their first week, and our job assistance services remain available to them throughout their careers. The benefits of this program go beyond helping them kick start their careers; it provides unique opportunities they might not have located on their own, helps them advocate for themselves, and engrains them within our own truck driving community. 

Investing in a CDl education is the first step in beginning a lucrative, fulfilling, and exciting career that men and women can depend on for years to come.

Meet the Requirements for CDL school? Join TDI!

If you meet the requirements for CDL school and are ready to embark on a new career, look no further! Truck Driver Institute is the best in the country, and we can get you on the road in as little as 15 days! You don’t need any previous experience to enroll with our program, as we provide comprehensive and practical preparation for the CDL A test, as well as other endorsements. We make sure you have all the knowledge you need to pass your permit test by week 1, so you can get right on the road with our practice vehicles on weeks 2 and 3. Our streamlined classes can have drivers out on the road with a carrier in less than a month, thanks to our expertly designed classes and job placement services.

TDI is one of the largest Class A Schools that is not owned by a trucking company, with 10 schools in 7 states, so you know our students come first. Carriers know that TDI brings out the best in drivers, which is as many as 80% of graduates have a job lined up right after graduation. Taking the steps to get into CDL school can be a challenge, but meeting this challenge can open up doors that you cannot even imagine. Truck driving is the lifeblood of this country, so if you’re interested in joining the profession and a community of professionals that make up the backbone of the American economy, contact us today.

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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!