How to get a CDL

If you’re in the towing world, you might be considering getting a Commercial Driver’s License. A CDL can be a very helpful thing to have if you work with big trucks. The process of getting the commercial driver’s license may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that it’s your state that will be handling your CDL – not the FMCSA. (The FMCSA actually isn’t the agency that issues CDLs. The state is over all of that.) With that in mind, here’s how getting a CDL works.

How to get a CDL.

1. Know the requirements.

First of all, it’s important to know the requirements for getting a CDL. There are medical requirements and residency requirements that go along with getting a CDL, and then, of course, there are the knowledge and skills requirements. It’s best to know these things going in so you know what to expect.

2. Look at your state’s CDL manual.

The next thing to do is get a copy of your state’s CDL manual. You can likely pay a visit to your local office to get a copy, or you may be able to download it from your state’s licensing agency site. Once you’ve gotten your copy, study it and find out what you need to know, the requirements you need to meet, and so on. Since getting a CDL is pretty state-specific, it’s necessary to go through your state’s specific requirements and information about the process.

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3. Think about the kind of vehicle you’re going to drive and what kind of driving you’ll do.

You also have to consider what kind of trucks you want to drive and what kind of driving you want to do. Again, having the right license for what work you’re doing is essential.

4. Get your Commercial Learner’s Permit.

It’s then necessary to get your Commercial Learner’s Permit. This is your next stepping stone. The CLP means that you’re only allowed to practice on public roads when you’re with a qualified CDL-holder. You also have to be qualified to get a CLP in the first place. (Keep in mind that a lot of types of commercial driving require you to have a DOT medical card, which means you have to have a DOT physical.) Your state will likely have specific documents you have to produce to prove your name and residency.

The bottom line is this: familiarize yourself with the process that is laid out in your CDL manual. Know what you’re getting yourself into.

5. Take your CDL test.

The next thing is to take the Skills Test. You have to have had your CLP for 14 days before taking the test. Depending on your state, you may also have to complete CDL training. It’s a good idea to practice the inspection test and the skills you’ll have to display with a qualified person. Preparation is so important. To get your CDL, you have to pass the Skills Test, which includes the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test. (You might be able to use your state’s training aid to remember things on the inspection.)

Once you’ve passed the skills test, you take the documentation to the counter for processing. Find out when you’ll receive the CDL. Before you leave, check over everything thoroughly to make sure there are no mistakes. (Better to catch these things in the moment than have to deal with them later on.)

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And that’s what the process of getting a CDL looks like. It requires some study and practice, but it’s a handy thing to have. Another thing that’s handy to have is the right tow truck insurance. Our team of agents can help with that. All you have to do to get started with your quotes is fill out our online form, or you can call us or message us if you prefer. Our goal is to make it easy to get the towing insurance you need and save tow truck businesses money on their insurance.


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