To be a truck driver, individuals must have a commercial driver's license (CDL). Nearly all truck driving schools offer preparation to take the state CDL exam through classroom instruction and on-the-road training.
Truck drivers can test for three classes of licenses:
- Class A: Class A licenses are required for vehicle combinations with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of greater than 26,000 pounds that is towed by a vehicle with a GVWR in excess of 10,000 pounds. Class A drivers are able to operate class B and C vehicles as well.
- Class B: Class B licenses are required for a single vehicle unit with a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds, as well as for any vehicle towing another vehicle that is not in excess of 10,000 pounds. Class B drivers may operate class C vehicles as well.
- Class C: Class C licenses are required for a single or combination vehicle that is designed for the transportation of 16 or more people, or one that is used to transport hazardous materials.
Endorsements are complementary to licenses:
- Endorsement G: Government
- Endorsement H: Hazardous materials
- Endorsement N: Tanker vehicle
- Endorsement P: Bus passenger
- Endorsement S: School bus
- Endorsement T: Double and triple trailers
- Endorsement X: Combination hazardous materials and tanker
Aspiring truck drivers should be sure to seek out a CDL training program that includes work with the particular class and/or endorsement they will need to start a successful career.