How hard is it to get a Class A CDL?

Discussion in 'XDTalk Chatter Box' started by Bow Commander, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    Hello there,

    An opportunity for a position of interest has opened up at my work. The position requires I obtain a Class A CDL witihin 6 months of starting.

    I am more than willing do it because I really want the position.

    How hard is it to get? If I memorize the book, and show adequacy in driving a commercial vehicle, am I good?
     
  2. carhartt

    carhartt XDTalk 1K Member

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    I am actually in process for getting mine in Co. I dont know your state laws, but here you take the written test (memorize the book) for each endorsement you want/need. Tanker, doubles/triples (trailers), etc. and this gets you the instruction license.

    Once you have the instruction license (learning permit) you can drive w/ a licensed driver over 21. After you feel comfortable, you take a driving test where you have to parallel park and do a bunch of other stuff (including road driving) with your rig (thats right, parallel park a dump truck and trailer).

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. pbass

    pbass XDTalk 500 Member Founding Member

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    You can easily do it within 6 mos.
    You do have to study though.
    Regards, Pete
     
  4. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    Whoa, parallel park a big rig. I suck at doing that with my Ranger. :shock:

    Luckily they will allow me to practice a lot before hand.
     
  5. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    Thanks Pete. I will definitely hit the book hardcore.
     
  6. gsh341

    gsh341 XDTalk 5K Member

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    The Class A CDL written test is not that hard, but you do need to study.

    The thing most people have a hard time with is backing up a truck and trailer. If you have a 2 wheel trailer of any sort at all I suggest you spend time practicing backing that trailer up until it becomes second nature before you take the driving test. Learn to back a trailer in a straight line for 100', do a 45 degree "alley dock" (both left and right) and back around a street corner (both left and right).

    The other thing to learn is everything possible about your truck/trailer combination. That includes coupling/uncoupling, brake system (including brake caging), jacks stands, etc.

    There are truck driving schools out there if you feel you need one, but it is possible to learn on your own.

    Every endorsement on your license is another test and some are more difficult than others, but each one can bring more work and better pay.
     
  7. carhartt

    carhartt XDTalk 1K Member

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    +1, and I hear the pre-trip inspection is the toughest part.
     
  8. gsh341

    gsh341 XDTalk 5K Member

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    Not really too bad, unless your tester is a real jerk.
     
  9. Groo

    Groo XDTalk 10K Member

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    I got mine close to 8 years ago. I'd definatly take a course, even if you can drive the trucks around at work. While you may learn to drive, it wont teach you to pass the tests.

    my school was a month long, you could go afternoons, or just on the weekends (2 months maybe)

    most places want you to go throught the school too because it counts as 6 months of experience for insurance

    school prices vary widely, $2500 - $12000 when I was looking.

    If you can do a weekend school, and screw around with the truck during the week, you'll be so far above you classmates, it'll blow your mind. Your new job may have a program with a school too.

    ps. I aced the pre-trip (got all 115 points). nobody in my class failed it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  10. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    Thanks GSH, that's great advice. My ol' man has a two wheel trailer I will practice with. I have used it a few times but wasn't in the state of mind of "perfecting" maneuvers with it.
     
  11. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    My employer pays for schooling when it pertains to the position you currently hold. So they will either pay for the class or give me a lot of training themselves on it.

    It doesn't sound too bad, about what I expected. Study the book really well, and get as much practice as possible.
     
  12. Groo

    Groo XDTalk 10K Member

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    just practice backing it up perfectly straight. manuvers will be too different, and straight line backing is about 75% of the way to actualy knowing how to realy back up a trailer.
     
  13. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    Will do Groo, thank you.
     
  14. barndoorski

    barndoorski XDTalk 100 Member

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    The pretrip is the hard part. Study the book word for word. Know what is what on your truck. Brake chambers, air lines relay valves, tires and rims are a must to know everything on. I am a mechanic and have halped many get there "b". It is all in the book and the driving is easy (if you can drive). 50% of our guys fail in the pretrip part of the test.

    Also a longer trailer is easier to back. The short ones with a long tractor can be very hard. The long trailers are harder on right hand turns. Do Not do a curb job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  15. Bow Commander

    Bow Commander XDTalk 1K Member

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    The vehicles I will be driving are going to be bucket trucks mostly. I don't think our company owns any semi truck/trailer. I'm pretty sure our bucket trucks are the largest vehicles in the fleet.
     

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