The Basics of Earning a CDL License

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Obtaining a Class A CDL License is similar in most states. It involves getting a permit, learning to drive at one of the nation's many Truck Driving Schools, and completing your skills evaluation.

The first step is to take a written test based on your particular state’s commercial drivers license manual. The test covers basic information, and most new drivers pass as long as they understand the basics covered in the CDL manual. You should also test at the same time for optional endorsements, such as the Doubles-Triples and Air Brakes endorsements.

Interested in a practice test? Take our CDL Practice Test!

Once a student passes the exam and has a valid CDL permit, they can drive a Class A Semi Truck when there is another CDL Licensed driver riding in the passenger seat. During this CDL training period with the permit, drivers will learn to drive a truck in traffic and maneuver the truck into tight spaces. These skills are essential for the CDL exam.

Once a new driver is comfortable with the truck, they will take the driving exam for their license. This involves showing the ability to drive the truck properly and conduct a proper pre-trip inspection. The test will include driving on a range, and driving in traffic. If you attend truck driving schools, they will often administer the test on-site with equipment you are familiar with.

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