To get a CDL license, you must complete a series of trainings, exams, and driving tests. Every state has a different training process and CDL requirements which varies the amount of time needed to get a CDL license. However, on average, you can expect training to last anywhere between four to seven weeks.
Be aware that there are several factors that can affect your training time. These include:
Type of CDL license: There are three different types of CDL licenses—Class A, Class B, and Class C. The Class A license typically takes longer to complete as this license allows you drive a larger variety of vehicles and tow larger loads.
Endorsements: In addition to your CDL license, there are extra endorsements you can earn. These endorsements open up more doors for you, but take longer to earn.
Full-time vs. part-time: Most trucking schools run full-time, five days a week for eight hours a day. Going full-time allows you to get through training quicker. However, there are trucking schools and trainings that are offered at night or on weekends for those who cannot go full-time. Attending school part-time means a longer training period.
Classroom time: Trucking schools and training programs each offer a different amount of classroom time. You can typically expect to spend anywhere between 30-80 hours in the classroom. However, the more time you spend in the classroom, the better prepared you are for the written exam.
Driving time: Before you can get a CDL license, you need to spend a certain amount of time practicing with a licensed CDL driver. You may have to use some of your personal time to get enough practice before your driving skills test.
Student ability: Your ability to master truck driving skills may affect how long it takes you to get your CDL. The better your driving ability, the faster you’ll get a CDL license.
Testing schedule and availability: Scheduling your CDL can be tricky. Your state may only offer the exam on a specific day or time. Contact your local DMV or driving school to see when CDL tests are available. That way you can better schedule your training.
Auto vs. manual truck: Depending on the type of vehicle you’re looking to drive, it may take more time to learn how to maneuver the vehicle. However, this will not affect the amount of time you spend in the classroom.
Getting a CDL requires takes time and proper training before you get behind the wheel. Each of the trainings, exams, and screenings you complete ensure that you know how to operate a large vehicle correctly and safely.