How to Get a Class B Commercial Driver's License

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Obtaining a class B commercial driver's license isn't much different than getting an ordinary license in that there is a written test and a road test. There are three different types of commercial driver licenses that you can obtain, and you should make sure that a class B is indeed the type of license you need. A class B license is for any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds. If this doesn't sound like what you are looking for, you may be looking for a class A license.

Things You'll Need

  • Skills Manual from DMV
  • Tractor Trailer
  • Instructor
  • Obtain a Commercial Driver License (CDL) study manual from your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and study thoroughly. You must be 18 to get your CDL, but you are restricted to intrastate (in state) driving. When you turn 21 there are no restrictions to driving across state borders. However, many companies have an age limit for insurance purposes. If you between 18 and 24-years-old, you may find it difficult to obtain a job in the field.

  • Go to the DMV and take the written test. There will be at least 30 questions, of which you must answer 80 percent of them correctly. When you successfully pass the written test you will be given an instruction permit.

  • Practice driving a tractor-trailer. If you get hired by a company, they will typically cover the cost of training. If you don't plan on doing training through an employer, you must go to a tractor-trailer school which, as of 2009, can cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

  • Schedule a road skills test with your local DMV or a third-party tester certified by the state.

  • Take the road skills test which will involve a pretrip inspection test, basic controls test, and a road test. The specific tasks that are required are at the discretion of the state as long as the testing meets federal guidelines. Additionally, most states charge a license fee.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spend ample time studying for the written test. If you fail multiple times, many states may require you to wait a certain period of time before being allowed to retake the test.
  • Do not drive a tractor-trailer unless you have your permit and have expert guidance. Doing otherwise could put yourself and others in danger.

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