The law does not allow residents of Texas to drive commercial vehicles with their regular driver’s license. Texas residents, who want to become commercial drivers, must have a CDL or commercial driver’s license. If you are a 21 year old and own a regular driver’s license (the CDL applicant must have regular driver’s license that is at least a year old), you are eligible to apply for a CDL. You will, however, need to pass a test for acquiring a CDL. According to truck driving experts, it is extremely important to attend truck driver training in Texas if you want to perform impressively in the CDL test.
How Does the CDL Application Procedure Work in Texas?
1. Call or visit the driver’s license office in your area. The best way of locating the driver’s license office in your neighborhood is by visiting the official website of the TxDPS or Texas Department of Safety. However, all these offices do not conduct CDL tests. Search for the office in your locality that offers CDL tests.
2. On the day of your appointment at the driver’s license office, you should have your Social Security card and regular driver’s license with you. These documents will be required for proving your identity to the clerk. Ask the clerk to inform you about the requirements for obtaining a CDL. The prerequisites of acquiring a CDL vary according to the CDL class you want to obtain. Some of the common requirements are: good vision, physical fitness and English language fluency.
3. Collect your application form. Remember, the application form for different classes of CDL will be different. If you want to operate a combination of vehicles that have gross vehicle weight over 26,001 lbs, you should get the class A CDL application form. To drive single vehicles that weigh over 26,001 lbs, you should get the class B form. You should obtain the class C CDL application form, if you want to drive commercial vehicles that are not categorized as class A or class B and are designed for carrying hazardous wastes or passengers. Fill out the form and submit it to the driver’s license office.
4. Currently, you will have to pay $60 for getting a CDL that will be valid for 6 years. However, you will have to pay this fee only after passing all the CDL tests. You will also be fingerprinted and photographed subsequently.
The CDL Tests
General knowledge test: This is the first of the three tests you will need to pass to get your CDL. Truck driver training offered by CDL schools in Texas is the best way of preparing for this CDL exam. Several private and public institutes offer truck driver training in Texas. CDL training provided by any reputable trucking school in Texas will teach you the art of driving in hot weather, operating vehicles in foggy conditions, vehicle inspection, mountain driving and spotting potential dangers. You will be educated about accident procedures and road rage. Training sessions at a quality truck driving school will also teach you how to stay alert while driving commercial vehicles. A general knowledge exam will check your understanding about all the above mentioned components of professional truck driving. You will also be benefited hugely if you study the Drivers Handbook that is available for download on the official website of the Texas Department of Safety.
Additional knowledge test: People who are looking to drive buses or commercial vehicles that have air brakes or combination vehicles need to take this CDL test. You will also need to pass the additional knowledge test if you want to haul a triple or double trailer, liquids or hazardous materials. Truck driver training in Texas should be enough for preparing yourself for this CDL exam.
Skills test: Once you pass the above two tests, you will have to take the skills test. Training sessions at trucking schools also prepare the CDL applicants for passing this test successfully. A CDL skills test is meant for determining your ability of identifying flaws in the safety features of your vehicle. You will have to perform a pre-inspection of the vehicle you will be driving during this CDL test. A CDL skills test will also check how competent you are in controlling commercial vehicles and whether or not you can drive them safely. Once you pass this test, you will become a certified commercial driver.
What Will Happen After You Obtain a CDL?
As soon as you receive your CDL, you should start looking for truck driver jobs. Currently trucking companies in almost every US state including Texas have plenty of vacancies. So, as a valid CDL holder, you will need only a few days to get hired by any of those companies. What are the benefits offered by truck driver jobs in Texas?
1. The annual salary of Texas truck drivers ranges from $36,525 to $45,602. As a truck driver, you can also expect attractive increments and bonuses. Most employers reward reliable truck drivers with bonuses. Special bonuses are also offered for safe driving. In addition to all these, trucking companies offer substantial increments at the end of a predetermined probationary period.
2. Employee benefits enjoyed by Texas truck drivers include retirement plans, life insurance coverage, dental and vision coverage, health insurance coverage etc. Some employers also offer paid trips as incentives.
3. Most trucking companies allow their employees to choose their work hours. This means you will be able to work according to a schedule that suits you the most.
4. The feature that makes truck driving one of the most popular professions among residents of Texas is job stability. After attending training sessions at a CDL school and receiving a commercial driver’s license, you can expect to get hired by a trucking company within only a few days. A recent survey has shown that more than 70% of the towing jobs in the United States are completed by trucks. Consequently, almost every trucking company stays in search of new drivers throughout the year.
Are you also looking to be a part of the trucking industry in Texas? Then, you should consider truck driver training in Texas without delay to get your CDL.