A professional driver from Dillon transportation teaches a student acquiring their CDL

How To Get A CDL

Stop Thinking About It and Start Trucking

If you’re thinking about becoming a truck driver, you have to take a series of steps before you are road-ready and legal. Once you are cleared to drive, though, you can be sure that life on the road has plenty of perks to keep you in your rig for years to come. Seasoned trucking businesses like Dillon Transportation offer top pay, driver benefits, and more than one way to drive; more than 20 years in the trucking business informs how they treat their drivers and run their business. Dillon Transportation is a prime example of a company to reach out to for a long-lasting career once you have been driving with your Class A CDL for a year or more. Everyone has to start somewhere. Find out what you have to do to get a CDL and how to start the process to get trucking right away.

How To Get a Commercial Driving License

Obtaining a commercial driver’s license is the first part of your journey to becoming a truck driver. Not so fast, though. You will likely have to satisfy a few prerequisites on your way to applying for your CDL. Use this as a checklist for what you have to do to get a CDL before heading to the DMV. Save yourself time and money by being prepared.

DOT Physical

A Department of Transportation physical is required in almost every state in the country. You will have to pass this physical to complete your paperwork to apply for your CDL. Expect to undergo a routine physical exam to ensure you are fit for long hours on the road. You will also be drug tested to ensure that you are of sound mind to drive and make snap decisions.

Over 18 But Likely Over 21

Technically, you only have to be 18 years old in some states to apply for your CDL. However, in many other states, you have to be over 21. Because of this technicality, many trucking companies only hire drivers who are 21 and over to cross state lines without being in the red.

Checking Boxes

Once you have passed your physical and are close to or over 21, you can begin finding a trucker training program that works for you. You will need to be enrolled in a training program online, in-person in the classroom, or through an apprentice program to have the experience necessary to obtain your CDL. As you move through the following steps, you will be in the process of completing your training program.

  • Pass CDL permit written exam
  • Commercial Learner's Permit for 14+ days
  • Pass CDL skills road exam
  • No FMCSA regulation violations
  • Fees paid for Class A CDL
  • Driver’s license in the state of residence
  • No CDL in any other states

Which CDL Program Options Are Best

If you’re careful during your planning process, you will find that many different trucking companies and trucking training companies offer paid CDL training. These options have both a classroom and road skill component to help prepare you for your CDL test in the state you will test in. Trucking companies are sure about what you have to do to get a CDL because their businesses rely on being legal. You can often learn from experts who have spent their fair share of time on the road and can transfer some of that wisdom to you, a beginner.

If the trucker training program is not for you, there are many online programs that you can enroll in and complete. Your scores on the permit and road skills exam will determine whether or not either of the programs is a good fit for you. For many truckers, trucking is a family profession. Some prefer to go the online route as family members teach them through hours of observation and training rather than being indebted to a company from the start of their career. These are wise words for truckers who want to have the best pay and comprehensive benefits packages.

Where To Truck With People You Trust

Once you have your CDL in hand, the training game is not quite over. Unless you have friends and family already in the trucking business, you may have to wait a year or two until you get the benefits you wanted when you first got into trucking in the first place.

After a year, you can apply to drive for Dillon Transportation. A trucking business with more than 20 years of experience, Dillon treats its truckers with respect and works hard so the drives are more manageable and the benefits are better. Dillon guarantees 34 hours of home time weekly for both solo and team drivers. Full insurance benefits are provided for both driving options, and a sign-on bonus is ready after the first three weeks of work. Some other incredible Dillon benefits include:

  • New trucks regularly
  • Pet policy for furry friends
  • No-touch freight
  • Non-hazmat freight
  • Yearly vacation pay
  • Paid gym membership
  • Spouse ride-along policy
  • No cameras for complete cabin privacy

Getting your CDL and driving for a company that respects you is a priceless life change even though the pay and benefits still speak for themselves. Grab the checklist, get all your papers ready, and start the application process for your CDL today. Once you have your road experience in the bag, contact Dillon Transportation for the next step in your trucking career.


Image Source: Aleksandar Malivuk / Shutterstock