Truck driver standing by a semi truck

How to Qualify for Entry-Level CDL Jobs

A CDL or Commercial Driver’s License qualifies you to drive a truck or other commercial vehicle. Obtaining a CDL can open many doors for you, especially nowadays as more and more transportation jobs are opening up. 

If you’re interested in life on the road, keep reading this article. We’ll cover everything you need to know about qualifying for entry-level CDL jobs. 

Entry-Level CDL Driver Job Responsibilities

CDL Truck driver brings delivery to construction site with worker

First, entry-level CDL driver responsibilities vary from job to job, and it largely depends on the type of CDL license that you have. There are three types of CDLs: Class A, Class B, and Class C. 

A Class A CDL means you’ll most likely be operating a commercial vehicle with a trailer or semi-trailer; a Class B CDL limits your operating abilities to vehicles with trailers that weight less than 10,000 pounds of GVWR; lastly a Class C CDL allows you to operate smaller vehicles, including passenger vans or HAZMAT vehicles.. 

Overall, with a no-experience CDL job, you should expect to be responsible for collecting payments, confirming deliveries, and performing safety inspections on your truck before and after each drive. 

Additionally, as a new truck driver, you will start with over-the-road routes, regardless of whether you work for a small business or a large trucking enterprise. You may also travel the entire country on these routes, spending days or even weeks at a time inside your truck.

How Do You Become an Entry-Level CDL Driver?

Attending a truck driving school or an independent program are the two ways that can help you qualify for entry-level CDL jobs. To be eligible to drive at the beginning level, you must have a flawless driving record. Other qualifications include the ability to concentrate and drive safely for lengthy periods of time.

Basic Requirements

Regardless of which avenue you choose, these basic requirements apply to all entry-level CDL drivers:

✔ Be at least 18 years of age.

✔ Have a valid driver’s license.

✔ Be able to provide paperwork that proves your identity and residence.

✔ Pass the FMCSA exam.

✔ Pass DOT physical.

✔ Apply for and pass a test to obtain a CDL Learners’ Permit (needed for initial training).

✔ Take the CDL test and obtain your license.

✔ Obtain driving experience after receiving your CDL.

Factors That Could Prevent You From Becoming a CDL Driver

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) set the requirements for the trucking sector. What disqualifies you from obtaining a CDL is determined by those requirements. Below, we’ll cover some of the areas that may cause challenges for you.

Physical & Medical Standards in the Trucking Industry

Physical and medical standards for CDL drivers

The first physical requirement is that you must be able to see and hear clearly in order to obtain your CDL. You may also be disqualified for a CDL if you have medical issues like epilepsy, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and diabetes. 

There are some circumstances where you may be able to obtain a doctor’s note, as long as your physician believes that your conditions will not inhibit you from safely driving a commercial vehicle. 

Clean Criminal Record

Next, you might not be qualified for an entry-level CDL job if you’ve been convicted of a felony. You also won’t be able to obtain your CDL if your license has been suspended due to traffic infractions or other illegal activities.

Age Requirements

Lastly, while you can get your CDL at 18, you can’t drive over state boundaries until you’re 21.

Interested In Working for a Trucking Company? Ask These Questions

Before you work for any trucking company, it’s important that you take the time to fully understand what life will be like for you as a driver. Some of the questions you should ask your potential employer include:

  1. Do you employ student drivers?
  2. How much time does additional training require?
  3. Will I be paid while I’m training?
  4. What is your rider policy?
  5. How much did the typical entry-level driver make last year?

Find Entry-Level CDL Jobs at TSI Trucking!

Are you thinking about starting a career in transportation? Get in touch with TSI! We have a wide array of no-experience CDL jobs available. We also offer a six-week training program for new drivers. To learn more about life at TSI, please visit our FAQ. If you’re interested in applying for an entry-level position, click here. We can’t wait for you to join our family!